Having spent the weekend with two dear friends enjoying good conversation and the delights of Manchester, including Joana Vasconcelos textile work at the Art Gallery (see photo), I return to the realities of being a writer.
I have started submitting The Art of the Imperfect, the first novel in my crime series, to literary agents. I have had my first rejection. I have tried to change this to ‘I have had my first decline’, I’m not sure it helps. Sitting in the Spring sunshine today I watched two kayakers tackling the surf in North Bay. At first it seemed unlikely they would get out into the water as they were battered by the waves. With persistence, however, they made it. Non-writers assume getting a literary agent/publisher is like this. With persistence I can battle against the tide and reach someone who will be interested in publishing my novel.
This is not true. I used to think finding a literary agent/publisher was 50% talent-inspiration-hard work and 50% luck. I now believe it is 85% luck. I could approach 1001 lit agents/publishers and still not get taken on, whatever the worth of my work might be. The fact that Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series has only got on TV because a book was picked up in an Oxfam store by a producer just about says it all.
However, the metaphor provided by those kayakers does have some resonance. The only thing I can effect by determination and skill is the quality of my writing. I, therefore, pledge myself (once again) to my growth as a writer and will continue to paddle out into the ocean of inspiration which is open to me.
First off, congrats in actually getting a novel finished – that’s a huge achievement in itself. I don’t think ANY writer gets published without at least a few rejections, in any case. See your first one as a badge of honour and then press on, I say 🙂
Thanks a lot for the encouragement. Unfortunately, not my first, and I went through all this thirty years ago without any final success. However, I have grown and developed since then, so maybe the outcome will be different. Plus I have learnt it’s the writing which is the important thing.
Ah, right, gotcha. Well, here’s hoping this one goes better, in that case.
I’m hoping to start this process within the next few years. I’m a bit daunted about the whole thing, to be honest: I’ve heard a lot of horror stories over the years. Still, I have a fair amount of faith in my novel and don’t plan to start submitting it until I feel it’s good and ready, so I suppose I’ll have as good a shot as anyone does…
Good luck. I’m sure you know this, but it’s always worth being selective as to who you send it to. Will follow your blog to find out how you get on!
Thank you for sharing the metaphor of the kayakers (and your experience with searching for an agent). I’m in the revision process of my first book and will be following in your footsteps soon. May we all continue to believe in ourselves, despite the battering of the waves that seems to be a part of this profession. All the best, – D
Thank you for your comment. Sometimes it’s not easy to continue to believe in ourselves, but, I find, sharing our journey with other writers always helps. So I hope you will let me know how things go with you.