Friday, 12 February 2010

Baby Steps

My oh-so-fabulous mentor has given her pronouncements on my latest draft. She used terms like 'paradigm shift', 'honed skills', 'I'm blown away by the improvements', 'tweaks only', 'publishable book', and 'give yourself a huge glass of champers'. And this, from an evil hatchet woman who minces other people's words but not her own, is high praise indeed.

So, next week ish, my book will probably be heading off to an agent. Again. And I think it's that last little five-letter word which is the reason for my lack of excitement, woo-hoo-ing, and champers. You see, I've been here before - albeit not with such classy mentoring (or, in fact, any mentoring) and yes, let's be fair, that does make a sizeable difference. Perhaps there is more chance this time. But perhaps not. I don't know, and I bet you don't either.

What I do know is that agents want to find new authors whose work they believe in. There is a fair chance that I might turn out to be one of those authors. But there are no guarantees, not even after all the years of hard work. The distance between a publishable book and a published book is immense. If I find an agent, I'll be pleased, probably very pleased. I know, though, that even then, there's no guarantee of a publishing deal. And if the book is published, it could disappear without trace.

I've been working on writing a publishable book for a long time, and I'm happy to have reached this point. But it's a very quiet sort of happy, that doesn't come with fizz and whoops and jumping up and down.


Cathy said...

That sounds fabulously encouraging. I hope my latest draft will get the same sort of reaction from my mentor when it's finished. Good luck with the agent search :)

HelenMHunt said...

Can I do some whooping and fizzing and jumping up and down for you then?

Debi said...

Gonna have to take you to task here, Squirt. For starters, of course your chances are better this time.

Before you had a good concept, let down by its execution. That had to lower your chances of being picked up very significantly indeed.

This time, you have the concept AND the fab writing. I'm convinced your book is good enough to be published and that if it was, it would have a wide audience.

But it's true there are no guarantees, which is why we have to celebrate every time we have cause. The polished draft you now have is a wonderful achievement, well beyond anything you're done before in terms of your writing.

So stop worrying and start celebrating. And then when the hangover has cleared, start on the next project. Ha! Evil hatchet woman never goes away!

Caroline said...

Oh, sounds great. Very good luck with it all!

SpiralSkies said...

I'm bubbling with joy for you. You've worked tremendously hard to produce something apparently dazzling. I'm proper proud of you!


Anonymous said...

how wonderful! and if its too soon for champers may I interest you in some red wine and a chocolate brownie of celebration?

Gemma Noon said...

Now I understand why you aren't running around super happy but you need to put things into a bit of perspective with this.

How many people do you know who say things like "oh, I'll write a book one day!" but never do? Writing a full length novel is an achievement in itself, so go you.

How many of us who do write books, actually write drivel? Let's face it, lots.

Of those of us who are told that we've written something unpublishable, how many just give up at that stage? Lots. The fact that you've bothered to figure out what was wrong, go back to the drawing board and fix those errors is another huge achievement. Go you! Hell, the fact that it was good enough to NOT be scrapped shows you had a great concept - go you once again!

Not only that, you've obviously done the revisions well. Again, massive massive kudos to you, love. Anyone who has had to rework a manuscript knows how hard that can be.

Sure, you don't have an agent or a publisher yet, and we all know how heartbreaking that whole process can be, but don't forget just how far you've already come, Celebrate the fact that you've got a manuscript ready for submission - you're already well ahead of the rest of us, and I wish you the best of luck with it xxxx

Queenie said...

Cathy, thank you.
Helen, help yourself!
Debi, am now shaking in my shoes and will of COURSE do what you tell me because you're ALWAYS right.
Caroline, thank you.
Spiral, you are such a sweetie.
Hilary, ooh yes you probably could!
Gemma, that's me told! And you're every bit as right as Debi. I will do my best to celebrate. In fact I may head to the fridge for a square or six of 70% organic, right now.

JJ Beattie said...

YAAAAY! Go you. I am so proud of you.

Debs said...

You should definately be celebrating. It's a wonderful achievement.

Good luck with submitting to agents.

Bernadette said...

Having read the synopsis I have every faith that you have a book that is not only publishable but unusual and intriguing.

I understand your caution. Of course there's a long way to go. But not as far as there was a few months ago and the roadsigns are all confirming that you're going in the right direction.

Put down the rucksack, take out your flask and sarnies, enjoy the view for a bit and give the world a big grin. If you squint hard enough down the road ahead I'm sure you'll see the bright lights you deserve.

Well done and good luck with the rest of the journey.

Anonymous said...

Fingers crossed for you, though I'm sure that's not necessary. This mentoring lark sounds very productive and it certainly seems to have done great things for you.

Remember though, if you do have some bubbly to drink: no burping!

SueG said...

It is a big achievement, what you've done. Though I know exactly how you feel...I'm in the same boat, in some ways. But it does us good to try to look at where we've been and where we are, instead of always where we're going. So congrats, best of luck, and courage!
PS I think this little speech was meant for me as much as for you. Thanks for letting me spout a bit...

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

This is probably just narcissism, but I feel partially responsible for your lack of fizz! Being someone who got published, got an agent, got all the things people in your position are supposed to want... and then had it all go wrong to the extent that I now feel quite negative about my writing career and have turned my back on it for the time being...

Just remember, everyone is different. Obviously there are ups and downs in all walks of life, but if you get an agent, it will be YOUR agent, YOUR story, and you are a person who is incredibly good at making and keeping situations positive. Also, even though I haven't read this book, I know you well enough and have read enough about it to know that it stands a very good chance of getting you (a) an agent and (b) a publishing deal, and both of those things would be very exciting indeed and I would be cross with you if you didn't enjoy them!

So there. ;o)

And WELL DONE, you clever talented gorgeous thing you. xxx

womagwriter said...

I'll just say a quiet little 'well done' then.


Pat said...

All my best wishes. All bodes well but as you know it is in the lap of the gods now.
After much whooping and jumping up and down last year my agent's last words were;
'your lovely book Pat. I am so sorry...I continue to be surprised at the dire straits of publishing. If they don't think it will sell 100,000copies they just won't buy. Shame, shame. It deserved to be published.'
Since then I have revised it and am on the last lap now. And then what? Start sending out again I suppose. Part of me enjoys keeping my baby close at hand and is reluctant to cast it out again into the cold hard world. I expect I shall though:)

LilyS said...

Great comments. Good luck with it!

Lane said...

Well done! I'll say it quietly and save my voice for big whooping later. And I'm sure there will be big whooping later.

The absolute best of luck with it.

Queenie said...

JJ and Debs, thank you.
Bernadette, you're right, and that's very helpful imagery.
CB: no chance!!!
Sue, that's excellent quality spouting, feel free, any time.
BS, thank you, and you're slightly right, but there are so many other people I know who got agents and then things went wrong, I think it's a cumulative effect.
Womag, thank you!
Pat, I know just how you feel, but you will, you must.
Lily, aren't they fab?
Lane, thank you.
In fact, thank you all - I have a feeling I'll come back to these comments from time to time, when I'm feeling down or uncertain. Much appreciated.