When I started this author game two years ago, I bought myself a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and thought to myself that landing an agent or a publisher would be just a matter of submitting chapters of my first manuscript to all relevant names listed there who were interested in my particular genre. The law of averages would surely mean that I would find success with at least one of them (yes I know, but I was a virgin…..)?
I was encouraged when one agent from the US got back to me straight away. She wanted me to re-write the manuscript in the third person, as her advice was that books in the first person are too much like a memoir. I re-wrote the manuscript and was quite crushed after all my efforts when she responded in the negative.
Not put off, I carried on contacting agents. After a year had passed I was delighted when one agency was considering representing me, but after a week of biting my nails and waiting for the Friday afternoon conference, an email came back once again in the negative.
Sad to say I eventually decided to bypass agents altogether and concentrate on publishers. I started out with the big five, and was laughed out of town. Nothing if not persistent, I carried on writing novels and trying to improve on the first one. I learned not to replicate words, not to rush or deviate too much from the plot, and to write a story that had not been written about too many times before. I ended up with seven quite original self-published novels; one of which, A House Without Windows, suddenly started gaining interest, won some great reviews, and currently is the Goodreads eBookMiner Book of the Month.
Ever hopeful, I sent my eighth novel ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ off to a small publisher, who liked what he read but also looked at my previous work listed on Amazon. At last after two years I have been rewarded with a five year contract. The publisher is also willing to take all my back catalogue. I know it’s only a small step for Stevie and an even smaller step for mankind, but hey, it’s a start!
Are you under contract with a small publisher? If so, what advice can you give me? I look forward to hearing from you.