What do you do after you've written your first book?
The advice I was given was to try and get a literary agent so for the past four months that is what I've been attempting. I wrangled with my query letter. I researched the Writers & Artists Yearbook for the right kind of agent for my genre. I looked each one up on Google and where possible found the exact submission requirements and specific named person. I then sent 44 emails.
So far this year I have received 17 no thank yous. I have 26 timed out responses - I haven't heard anything in three months so now I won't hear anything at all. I got one request for the full manuscript. That was a magical moment. But I hadn't heard from them since sending the manuscript at the end of January. Eventually I worked up the courage to call - the agent knew who I was but hadn't read my book yet. I nervously asked for a timescale. End of the month. So at least I can relax and forget about it until then. Ha!
How do you handle negative positives?
I do not know whether the responses I received were run-of-the-mill copy and pastes. I felt strangely positive after receiving them so whoever originally wrote them - good job. I thought I'd share them with you - feel free to comment.
"I urge you to continue your search for representation."
"I thought there was much to be admired but sadly I didn't quite feel the connection to your work."
"The Gaia Effect isn't for us. Please see this as a sign of how few new clients we take on rather than a reflection on your writing."
"Not quite right for my list."
"While we enjoyed reading your submission, which stood out from the many we receive, we couldn't find a place for it on X's list and therefore we are afraid we are not able to offer you representation for this project. It's a great premise but I'm afraid that we didn't feel strongly enough about the writing to want to take the project further at this time."
"We have read this with great interest. We are sorry to say that after careful consideration we are not able to offer you representation for your work."
Where do I go now? I've got some options. I can go back to the drawing board with Gaia - I've been reading alot lately about character development and writing the best prose you can. Admittedly The Gaia Effect was written extremely quickly in order to meet competition deadlines so in reality it's probably only in second draft status. I'm finally ready to go through it again.
I can then send submissions to those publishers who will take them direct from the author, after all, I have nothing to lose. Finally, there was a self publishing deal available to the winners of the competition I entered. Either way I need to revisit City 42 and my cast of characters to make sure they are the very best version they can be.