Things have been a little quiet around this blog for a few weeks, mostly due to the fact I’ve been flat out working and marking A Level Media Studies scripts for the exam board. That’s not left a great deal of time for anything else except sleep and the odd bottle of prosecco! However, term is due to end soon, the end of the marking is in sight, and hopefully things will calm down a bit.
And of course, there were the three full manuscript requests I received.
The first one, at the start of May, felt incredible. Someone in the business actually wanted to read my book. I sent if off sharpish, spent the next few days obsessively checking my email and basically existed in a state of feverish anticipation, even though I knew I wouldn’t hear anything for at least a few weeks.
Then I got the second request a week later. One could have been a fluke; an agent having a good day, a funny five minutes, but a second one felt like a validation. Two agents had now responded to my query letter, synopsis and first three chapters, and I was absolutely over the moon. In fact, at the time I received the second request, I was sat in the Withdrawal Room at school, just checking my email, and the first thing I did was call the English Office where I knew my good friend Steph was working to tell her about the second request. On reflection, I’m really glad there weren’t any naughty students in the WR that day, as I did quite a lot of squealing!
What followed was a few weeks of immense anticipation, coupled with quite searing self doubt, pretty much for the first time since I’d started writing. Ironic, isn’t it, that at the very moment I should be feeling confident about the story, I suddenly also started thinking ‘what if I’ve oversold it?’ ‘What if the query letter isn’t representative of the actual story and the whole novel is just going to be a huge let down?’ ‘What if it’s just not clever enough?’ All this, while still feverishly checking my email, of course!
Over the next seven weeks I received a few more rejections, most of them kind. One of them a bit short, but I think I was more peeved that the agency who’d sent that one to me had not only requested a hard copy, CV and covering letter, as well as an SAE through the post, but had also rejected me by email and obviously kept my stamp (well, that’s how I saw it, anyway!). But I can honestly say that the rejections have never worried me – par for the course, it seems, and actually, I’ve always felt confident that this novel is in the best place it can be, barring outside interventions, so the rejections aren’t an issue.
And then the third request came. And things really got exciting.
All the way through the process, I’ve emailed the interested agents to let them know about each other, and so I dutifully did so again (incidentally, writing short emails to agents is A LOT HARDER than writing 120,000 words of a flipping novel – I was so paranoid about getting the wording right and not sounding like a) a pushy author who’s agitating for a response, and b) an obsequious smarmy cow with the ‘I’m sorry to bother you, but…’ that they took longer than they should have done to compose!). That was last Monday.
Since then, I’ve had the most incredible email from the second requesting agent, offering me representation. I read it at 6.30am on Thursday morning, after having been up most of the night with my younger daughter, and, standing as I was at the top of the stairs, I nearly fractured life and limb in shock. Not to mention the five year old who was screeching her head off because she’d passed me the kindle in the first place so she could watch Topsy and Tim on the BBC iPlayer and there was Evil!Mummy, maliciously nicking (my own) kindle back off her and then squealing. Oh, and then there was the madcap banging on the door of the bathroom to alert The Husband, who, in his keep-your-feet-on-the-ground way just said. ‘Oh, that’s great. Now can I finish my shower?’. Having decided it was far too early to ring my Mum and Dad, I read it again, squealed some more and then had breakfast.
And now I’m waiting for the other two agents to come back to me, but, to be honest, they’ll have a tough act to follow after this first offer. Because this agent gets it. And she was so enthusiastic, and so lovely sounding. And now I’ve got to take a deep breath, do my homework and think hard about what questions to ask, and how to approach this, now that my book has become a real option in terms of career and potential marketplace.
And, in the midst of all this, I have one other burning question.
Can I call myself an author yet?