I've spent the afternoon submitting three novels to five agents. The rule about multiple submissions doesn't seem to apply any longer; I think they've realised if authors have to wait eight weeks between each submission they could grow old waiting for success. So I've sent novel 3 to three different agents.
Now it's all done by email it's quicker and less hassle although each agent seems to want something slightly different. One may ask for three chapters and a synopsis; another wants a detailed letter about the author; another wants a short synopsis; another a long; another your blood and tears. The only thing they seem to agree on is that the manuscript should be in Times Roman, size 12, and preferably double-spaced.
And before you even get to submitting you have to decide whether the agency is right for you. Some are altogether too highbrow. Others make it so complicated you give up before you start. But the other thing they have in common is that they all - without exception - stress how unlikely it is that you will be successful. Because out of the thousands of manuscripts they receive each week they only take on 2 new clients a year. Not necessarily because your novel isn't publishable but it's got to 'really grab the agent'.
And that could depend on all sorts of things that have nothing to with your novel or writing ability. The agent may just have burned her tongue on a scalding hot coffee or had a row with her boss or found out that her rival has a prize-winning author on her hands.
So submitting and sitting back to wait for rejections isn't really being pessimistic. Just realistic.
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A good number of years ago, in a different life, I was asked to write something for a Christmas concert. I duly wrote and practised my piece and turned up all ready and prepared. Halfway through the concert one of the organisers crept up to me and whispered, 'We're running late. Is it all right if we drop your piece?'
This last Christmas Sean left the planning of the carol service in Zac's to me. 'I trust you,' he said.
People can say you're valued but sometimes their actions speak louder than their words.
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Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I reminded myself of that trite little phrase this morning. It may be trite and a cliché but it's true, as I reminded the men in prison when I spoke there the Sunday before last. I was encouraging them to search for hope and a new beginning.
A new year doesn't just start on January 1st. Which is just as well as I've been feeling pretty rotten for most of this month. Still suffering with the remains of the cough/cold that has been my bugbear for months I tell you, months - oh, okay, a few weeks - but more so with an inexplicably heavy black cloud that I've been unable to escape from.
It hasn't been consistent and I've had good times but underlying my pleasure has been the feeling that I'm just not good enough. For whatever I'm doing. Even when I'm doing something worthwhile I feel I should be doing something else. Or doing it faster or better.
I think I'm beginning to escape it now, hence the enthusiasm for submitting my novel, and even writing this blog post.
Which is becoming a bit depressing so let's do something about that.
For Christmas I bought Husband these racing OAPs:
As you can see Grandad has an inbuilt advantage being motorised. Granny was further disabled by the loss of her foot on Boxing Day ...
Oh yes, and over the last week we've lost Husband's cardigan (or rather I've lost it he claims), his glasses (again my fault but it was me who found them behind the tomatoes), four tins of baked beans and a jar of tomato salsa. If you come across them, please return to owner.
And now I'm off to circuit training. I spend each Monday waiting for the phone to ring and for Jules, our trainer, to say he's broken his foot - drastic I know but a small price to pay for a night off.
But I've also ordered a Fitbit. More out of curiosity than anything else. I walk twice as far as I need to because I have a bad memory.