Tuesday, 12 November 2019

A Fresh Start

Things change, things move on. My publishing career seemed to be wandering off on a direction of its own, so I committed the possibly insane act of parting ways with my agent. A Shroud of Leaves came out in July and I'm well into my new book as well as sitting on several projects that have been waiting for their turn in the sun. I realised I need to get my focus back. One of the problems with having an agent is they don't have much time and they have lots of different authors and books to represent. A remark made in an email might get me rewriting the whole book - just to find for them it was just a passing idea. They are the experts but - here's the heresy - they don't know if anyone will buy the book either. But they know a lot more than I do, so I've been guided by them for years and they have been wonderfully supportive and helpful. But I need someone who has the time and energy to nudge me in the right direction.

It's my own fault in a way. They are trying to make books commercially successful and my priority has been to write a better book (rather than a saleable one) in the first place. Of course it would be lovely if it found loads of happy readers and maybe some money for me and my agents too. But my priority is to write the books. There is a pressure from publishers to create another book just like the last one, only more saleable and more dramatic.

I think I write too fast. A Baby's Bones and A Shroud of Leaves came out 15 months apart, during which time I wrote a whole different book and started another one. I also have two earlier books just sitting there, not able to do anything with them while we wait for the publishing process to run its course. It's driving me nuts, I'm a creative, I need to be working.

So I'm writing query letters and submissions for agents. But I need to chat to them face to face to see if they are up for the challenge. I'm very biddable, I will happily work on a book and edit it to fit a publisher's vision, I'm just rubbish at sitting on my hands. 

So, the Writers and Artists yearbook is out and the website for the Association of Authors' Agents is very helpful: http://www.agentsassoc.co.uk/members-directory/. Back to rejections and being ignored (why do we do this to ourselves?). And writing synopses and emails and counting 10, 30 and 50 pages and making them compelling and not end in a stupid place. Putting some in envelopes with stamped addressed envelopes and some in emails with or without attachments etc... Sigh. But the new book is over 40k words and flying down, wants to be written. New house is lovely and we have a new grandson, Wren.