Well, once again Christmas has arrived and we ask ourselves, ‘Where did the year go?” I’ll tell you where my year went – pretty much nowhere! Hence the serious lack of blog posts – I’ve got nothing new to report and I don’t want to keep harping on about the same old things.
It has been a year now since I signed with my lovely agent, Megan Carroll of Watson-Little Literary Agency. I always presumed having an agent would mean quicker responses, but this hasn’t been the case. I’ve heard from several industry insiders that apparently it’s been slow across the board throughout the publishing industry this year. No one knows what Brexit will mean for international rights and people are being extra cautious. And of course there is always something that rightly takes precedence over new submissions – the books that publishers have already acquired, various book fairs and events, the summer holidays etc. I know this, but it’s still difficult not knowing what has been going on behind the scenes now that my books are actually out there and hopefully being seen by the right people.
Between April and September this year my agent has made a number of submissions to various editors at different publishing houses, and less than half have responded even after being chased. The comments that have come back were very positive – they liked my voice and style, I write well and have some fun ideas. It also sounds as though a few things may have made it to meetings, but yet no offer due to, ‘not being quite the right fit’, or, ‘too similar’, to something else on the list. And that’s fine, that’s just how it goes.
For me it’s the ‘no responses’ that are hard. I don’t know why they are no responses. Is it because people don’t want to say no just yet? Are my stories going through different meetings? Are they being discussed amongst the team? Or are people so unimpressed that they simply haven’t bothered to reply? We writers are a neurotic and insecure bunch, so you can imagine the ups and downs that have been going on – one day I’m feeling positive, the next I feel like a failure. I guess the only thing I can do is to continue being patient and keep on writing.
There are a lot of variables that go into whether a story is picked up or not. Publishers look for different things – first of all they need to LIKE a story! They may have a particular theme they need to fill, or a trend they want to jump on. There is always a chance they might already have something too similar to what you’ve written, or maybe your style just isn’t quite the right fit for that particular publishing house. They’ll need to consider whether your story has international appeal and whether it will translate well. Is it marketable enough? Is it child-centric and appealing? And don’t get me started on political correctness – I’ve heard some of the comments other people have had coming back about various things, and although they often seem very OTT, the reality is that these days everyone is offended by something and no one is afraid to shout about it on social media or in their Amazon reviews, so publishers actually do have to be extra cautious!
So what do I want for Christmas? I want a “YES!” I want to hear, “We love your stories, and we’re going to publish them!”
Will I get this? Only time will tell…