These last four weeks have been busy in my writing world. In the beginning of the month I ran a session for Westgate Literary Festival on all aspects of publishing which though not snowed under with attendees, hopefully provided some insights for several interested folk in getting their work out there.
Following this it was nose down to hone an awesome query letter and synopsis, then final polish the first chapter of What If? my next planned novel, Well I say awesome, that includes crossing both fingers and my legs in the hope someone thinks so. The last time I completed a letter and synopsis was over ten years ago and my failure rate is 1st novel = 87 rejections, 2nd novel = 72 rejections. Honestly, I could have papered the downstairs loo twice with the amount of rejection letters I did not want to receive.
Thankfully times have moved on. No more letters just emails, or no reply at all. Since those early days my heart, dented, bruised and squeezed just a little too many times to cope with the ordeal, girded itself in steam punk armour, enforced with Unobtainium and Dilithium stepped onto another train and independantly published both my rejected novels. My 3rd novel went straight to independant publishing and my heart unsheathed its armour because I learnt I could do it on my own.
Now, a dear friend and internationally published author, Tara Moore, has thrown a spanner in my carefully constructed fantasy world.
"It's time. You need to approach traditional literary agents again. Get your work out there to a bigger audience."
"I know but..."
"No, you've written and published three novels. You run a successful writing group too. You can do this."
"Can I? Should I? There are far better writers out there than me."
"But not with your drive, determination and imagination. Do it now."
I'd been dithering on the fence since this conversation and then Pitch Wars rolled up. Pitch Wars, as I understand it is an opportunity to improve your manuscript till it doesn't just shine it glitters like a multi-watt bulb in a supernova, somewhere off the crab nebula, but I digress. This amazing concept offers the very slim change of obtaining a mentor to assist in getting your piece to the eyes that matter, a Literary Agent. I feel like there should be a fanfare, or trumpet this point. Dah, Dah, Dah!
I entered the first part, a twelve hour segment on twitter to post a pitch. The lucky ones received 'likes' from agents and then were able to sent their work onwards. Some had 3 or 5 likes. I had none. Reading some of their posts I'm guessing I should have found a large jar of wacky-baccy or some such. Yes I am teeny bit disappointed, shades of ten years ago call.
The second part is the most important, the chance to submit to up to 4 mentors in the hope that one will take on your manuscript. The lucky people get a whole 3 months support and advice to produce the best novel they've ever written. There are only 19 mentors in my section and the event is global. I'm thinking lots of thoughts, not least that I've more chance of painting myself in chocolate, running through my village and Johnny Depp finding me... I'll leave the rest to your imagination.
Will they read it?
Will they like it?
Will they contact me?
Will they ignore me?
Will they read the letter then ignore me?
Will they read the whole thing, and then ignore me?
Am I being vain to consider this?
Am I being too insecure to consider this?
Should I have sent them chocolate?
Johnny Depp's phone number?
Whoever said writing was good for the soul needs a lobotomy. Naturally, I'll let you know how it goes, I like to ensure all my trials and warts are exposed for the world to view, metamorphically speaking that is, physically it doesn't paint such a pretty picture. If one person learns anything from my blogs (even to become a brain surgeon) then my work here is almost done.
I've submitted my application. The 48hrs ends tomorrow at midnight. The release date is 3rd November.
Meanwhile my mind is moving on to Stranger Things. I'm off to Eastbourne tomorrow evening to do a weekend book signing at Wyntercon VI. (see home page for details and address) Please pass the word. I'm quite excited because I'm staying with an old friend who used to put me up when I worked in Hastings over twenty years ago. She now lives in Eastbourne where I used to live and work too.
Memories of the DGH, being proposed to by my husband in the grounds of the local psychiatric hospital Hellingly, I worked there honestly and no, he was not a patient. I'm guessing everyone I knew there has moved on, or died, or moved on then died. I'm hoping I'll sell well, but like Pitch Was I'll let you know how it goes.
One last note, I really would love a chance to move into traditional publishing. I've four more novels in this laptop and several others in concept stage. Cross your fingers for me too.