And before you think we’re going to descend into some sort of hippy dippy schmaltzy crap, don’t worry. Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, I get that. We all have sh*tty days, days when nothing seems to go right. We all have our battles, our crosses to bear. Some are bigger, more ferocious, heavier than others and I can’t speak for those of you struggling with some of life’s great challenges. But I can say for myself, that when I wake feeling despondent, wondering why the hell I’m putting myself through this, that I need to be grateful. Why? Because I can write. Because the stories are still flowing through me, the ideas, the worlds, the characters are milling around in my head, a rich and tangled tapestry that I have the privilege of untangling and reweaving onto the page. As a writer that is my reward. The creation of an idea, the light bulb moment when you realise ‘That’s why? That’s why this character did that? So that’s how it all ties together!’ It’s a feeling like no other.
So today I received some not so good news. The agent who asked for my full manuscript wrote back to me. They enjoyed my writing very much, thought my ideas fresh and original, but weren’t sure about some of the things my character goes through. They offered an analysis of my work and pointed out some issues I was not aware of. But in the end it came down to the fact that they weren’t sure who my target audience would be and so they could not offer me representation. Wow. It was a blow to the guts, that’s for sure. It hurt a lot. There may have been tears. But I got up, dusted myself off and realised that I still had a lot to be grateful for. I could turn away and say ‘Forget it, I’m not doing this any more.’ Or I could do what I did. Sit down and write. Write a response, first of all, thanking the agent for their time, letting them know that I appreciated their advice. Then write this blog, to remind myself why I am writing in the first place and to affirm the fact that I still believe in Ambeth, in the story I have to tell. There are a lot of other agents out there but even if they all say no, if I have written a book that’s too difficult to categorize or package, I still have the capacity to publish it myself. And I have a whole group of readers all around the world who enjoyed the story, who want to hear more. And that, as a storyteller, is something for which to be grateful indeed.
(Oh, and I’m not made of iron. It still hurts, believe me. But being able to share my experience helps, so thanks for reading. xx)
Oh, I’m really sorry to hear that. It stings, doesn’t it? Actually, that’s perhaps not a sufficiently expressive term…..but you know that 😉 Anyway, I think you’re spot on when you say you just have to pick yourself up and get on with things. After all, you write because you have to, right? Those characters in your head aren’t just going to skip away tra-la-la-ing merrily and take up residence somewhere else, are they…..
Anyway, as you say, there are other agents and other options out there – and you’re already over a hurdle that most writers never scale.
Thanks for the kind words, Louise, they are much appreciated. I take it you’ve been through this process as well 🙂 Yes it’s hard but I have so many ideas coming through I just have to keep writing – like you say, what else can I do with all those characters running round my head?
Oh, yes, been there….am there….and am not not not giving up! Currently writing book 2 while resubmitting book 1. I have one R & R from one agent and some extremely helpful feedback from a couple of others who also requested the full ms. Have only submitted to half a dozen so far – deliberately doing so in small batches so I can take on board feedback.
Wow, you are doing well to have so many requests for the full MS! Fingers crossed for you 🙂 if it’s all right I will message you through the W&A website, would love to know more about your work.