It happened to me on Friday morning.
Really. It did.
A well respected London literary agent e-mailed me to say he’d read my Full MS, “loved it” and would I be available for a chat at 3pm?
I almost wrote back “Is the Pope Catholic?” but thought better of it.
I spent the best part of the day pushing my lunch around my plate; tidying the house repeatedly and pacing about until 3pm arrived and he rang. Thank goodness we weren’t on Skype. I looked like a rabbit caught in headlights and my palms were distinctly sweaty.
We chatted for 45 minutes or so about what my writing goals were; what he hoped to achieve with my novel and my writing in general.
A lot of it is still a blur but I remember gasping for breath when he said again that he “loved” my romcom; I had a “wonderful writing style” and that he’d found it “very, very funny.”
Then I caught the words, “would like to offer you representation” and I’m sure a series of zoo-like noises came tumbling out of my mouth. I hope I didn’t damage his ear.
Like many, many writers, my journey has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster at Disney. My first two romcoms failed to secure representation. I got some very positive comments but nobody would bite.
Then I read about the London based digital publishers, Not So Noble Books. I submitted my first romcom to them, which they accepted and then they published my second. That was a thrill for me and boosted my writing confidence.
By this time, I’d written my third novel (which is the one I have been offered representation for) and submitted this to various agents. After a number of months and a pile of encouraging rejections, I was delighted to receive two offers of representation – one from an agent in the US and one from an agent in the UK.
I opted for the UK agent. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, things didn’t go according to plan and after a very frustrating ten months, I politely terminated the contract.
So there I was. Agentless – again. Back to square one.
The thought of starting over filled me with dread, but I girded my loins and began the whole submission process over again. Any other writers who have had to do this will understand the upset and frustration.
Out go your synopsis and first three chapters, accompanied by the obligatory query letter. It really was a case of “Groundhog Day.”
Over the space of 2-3 months, I received a total of seven full requests from agents and one from a publisher. I was encouraged but the ghost of my previous experiences kept hissing over my shoulder, “Don’t get too carried away. Look what happened the last time!”
Trying to distract myself while my Fulls were out, I threw myself into entering writing competitions; busied myself with greetings card verses that I write for a few companies and managed to finish off the first draft of Book 4.
I still lurked around my PC on regular intervals though, refreshing my In Box. Ok regular intervals translates as every ten minutes. Each day, my Husband would stagger in from work to be met with me pulling my “sucking a lemon” face and the words, “Still nothing!”
Then I received that e-mail on Friday morning.
There are no assurances in this life. Publishing and writing are extremely competitive, as we all know. There is a huge amount of talent out there.
But what I have had since 3pm on Friday 16 September, is more of a belief in myself again. The thought that someone has faith in me and my writing and is prepared to fight my corner means the world.
Only a matter of weeks ago, I was almost in tears speaking to my Husband, with the words, “Right! That’s it! I’m giving up!” echoing around the house.
His reply was, “You can’t. You don’t know what’s round the corner. There could be an agent or publisher sitting engrossed in your novel right now.”
Fingers crossed, I will secure a publishing deal. But for now, the very fact someone is willing to put themselves out there on my behalf, makes it all worthwhile.
Keep reading; keep writing and never EVER give up!