On The Path Once More


It’s Monday, and the gorgeous child is back at school. Half term is over – this year is flying by already – and I’m now back to my regular schedule.

A Thousand Rooms is now starting to go out to agents and publishers. I have a carefully crafted cover letter, a sweated-over synopsis, and have had the first three chapters professionally critiqued (thanks, Esther!). I’m also getting very strong feedback on the finished manuscript from my lovely, lovely beta readers – thank you to each and every one of you for your time and honest words.

I managed to get it out the door to three agents last week. One has already got back to me, with a rejection. Ouch. But that is the game I am in, the ring I have now entered, and so I must duck and weave and armour myself against the slings and arrows of rejection, for I doubt it will be the last. I read somewhere that if you get rejected more than ten times, it’s your manuscript that’s the problem. Honestly, I think ten is far too low a number – The Help was rejected something like sixty times, to cite just one example. I think Harry Potter was knocked back at least a dozen times, to cite another. So I have a list of agents and publishers to approach before I decide to go it alone. I believe in the story and, with the feedback I’m getting, hope that it will get somewhere.

Hills and Valleys remains in the editing stage, but I’m still hoping to publish next month. There is a cover design to finalise, then the whole formatting thing to go through again.

And finally, I’ve decided to take advantage of my free KDP Days and am offering Oak and Mist free to download until February 25th. I’ve offered it for free once before with positive results and, while I’m not a fan of giving work away, I do believe these short promotions have their benefits. In fact, I blogged about it here and here.

Wishing you all a Happy Monday x

16 thoughts on “On The Path Once More

  1. Oh good luck with it, Helen! How exciting! I’m amazed that you got a response back so quickly! That’s unusual these days… you’re lucky if you hear anything at all. Btw wasn’t HP rejected a LOT more times than that? I think going forward, the most successful authors will be hybrid ones; part trad pubbed, part Indie pubbed. Keeping everything crossed for you!

    • I agree, I think hybrid authors are the way of the future – there are benefits to both types of publishing.
      And yes, I was surprised to hear back so quickly as well – perhaps I’m doing something right at least πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your good wishes xx

  2. If you have used the same query letter ten times and gotten ten rejections then I would agree your query strategy probably needs some tweaks, but I, like you, am not entirely sold that the manuscript is the issue at such a low number.

    • Thanks, Allie πŸ™‚ The query letter is so tough to write, isn’t it? I have a couple of examples I got from agents at a workshop last year, of their ‘ideal’ query letter, so I tend to work off a variation of those. Honestly I do think it’s luck, half the time. The right person on the right time at the right day, that sort of thing. So we’ll see. I’ve sent out six submissions today and it’s making me feel down, so I think it’s time to stop until tomorrow πŸ™‚

    • And one agency said ‘Do tell us about any other published books… By this we mean real books, published by a real publisher – not self-published or obscure presses.’ Wow. So none of my other books are ‘real.’ It’s a disheartening process, isn’t it?

      • Did you send a query to them? I would have written them off as not being my kind of people. Additionally, they are obviously not attuned to the changing publishing climate and therefore would likely not get you a lasting long term deal.

  3. Best of luck. I’m not entirely sure I’ll try agents again. They have mostly been rude indifferent or unable even to say no when I did try. I haven’t tried free yet so I’ll may even look into that

    • Thanks Geoff. Yes, making my submissions today reminded me of how disheartening it was last time I tried. However, I’ll press on with this one and see what happens. Free was quite good for me the first time around, and it’s not looking too bad this time either. I think when you have more than one book it can work in your favour. I’m mostly marketing through Facebook this time, rather than paid ads, so I’m interested to see how that affects numbers.

    • Thanks Barbara πŸ™‚ I had originally thought I’d self-publish, as it seemed to work quite well with the Ambeth books, but several of my beta readers felt strongly that it could be a contender for traditional publishing, so I thought I’d give it another go. We shall see… I’m still committed to publishing the story one way or another.

  4. Oh my word, what a journey it is! As you know, I’m rewriting before I even get rejected! But I agree with some of the other commentsβ€”if I couldn’t get a foot in the door, I’d rejig my query letter before starting on the MS. If that doesn’t work, then have a look at the MS again. Is there a competition into which you could enter it? I know that a shortlisting in one of those definitely opens doors.
    PS. More than happy to beta read if you need …

    • Oh, it’s such a journey, isn’t it? And we all take our own paths to get there. So far I’ve had two responses, one of which was a personal email stating she really liked the story but it wasn’t really her genre, so I took that as a positive. The quick responses have been good as well, so perhaps my letter is getting me to the top of the slush pile at least! And I’d love you to read it if you have the time, it’s quite different from Oak and Mist – will message you xx

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