Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And yet another

Is blogging magical? No sooner do I post than something happens. Or it could be Eleanor breaking my legs! If so it worked.

I mentioned in the previous post the agent who asked me to call before signing for anyone else as she hadn't finished the manuscript? Well she still hasn't, but emailed me to say she wants to meet next week.

I know enough to know that agents don't meet with writers unless they are pretty serious. I don't want to go into names at present but here was how this all came about.

A few weeks ago I had just gotten a couple of rejections. As a pro writer and therefore by definition a masochist nothing spurs me on like a rejection so I thought I would go to the top this time and query three of the biggest players. Two responded almost immediately and one responded with a deafening silence.

A couple of weeks later one came back saying she hadn't finished it but really enjoying it. This is the one asking to let her know before I signed with anyone else. I thought at the time that it was promising but didn't make too much of it as she could still finish the book and decide it was a steaming pile of crap.

I didn't hear anything for a week or so, then the other big player came back having read the first 10 chapters and asked for first refusal on the manuscript.

As I said in the previous post I didn't quite give that but told them I would wait to hear from them before signing with anyone else.

Now it seems to me that any right thinking person is going to use what little leverage they have in this situation, so to find out where the first agent was at I emailed her telling her of the second agent's interest, basically stating they had asked for first refusal. Never lie! It is a very small world!

She emailed back asking for a couple more days, then the next day asked for the meeting. Of course she may well have got back to me this week anyway, but I don't think a little pressure ever hurt anyone.

The thing that strikes me is that if I had taken the first two or three rejections as gospel and thrown in the towel then it would never have got to this stage. My mate Dublin Dave, he of the mega-deal, has a good chuckle over some of the rejections he got for his novel before striking gold shortly after. It is a very subjective business.

So that's how I went about it. a short query letter, a submission, and a long wait. The query letter consisted of just a short introduction saying who I was, a one paragraph description of the book and finishing off by saying I had solid ideas ready for five more novels. [No one is that keen on a one-book writer]

My success rate on requests was pretty high so it seemed to work.

I'm still waiting for the second agent to get back, and a third has had a re-write. But as Dublin said the other day, writing is one half of the job and selling is the other. For example, off his own back, and not from his publisher, he has got some A list writers to blurb his novel. That's chutzpah! Being a good mate he has also volunteered to quiz his editor on the merits of the two major agents interested in my book, thereby giving me some valuable information, but maybe as importantly creating a little ripple of buzz that there might be a hot book out there.

You've got to work it!

I guess it's going to be a long week to the meeting and that tiny voice in my head is still saying she might actually finish the book and change her mind. If I wasn't insecure I wouldn't be a writer!

18 comments:

Eleanor said...

That's cool.
Any time you need a leg breaking, just give me a shout! ;)

I would say stop being so insecure, but that's part of the whole writer-monster set up we all suffer from. *sigh*

Have fun!

wcmartell said...

Most excellent!

- Bill

Derek said...

Great stuff! Fingers and legs crossed.

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