If the quality of my rejections is anything to go by, I’m getting closer.
Yes, it’s another round of ‘near but not near enough’. Last time the rejection was because only special novels need apply. This time it was ‘something about the tone just doesn’t sing with me.’
But the rejection was personalised – which is relatively rare – and some lovely things were said. ‘[Characters] are brilliantly realised’; ‘the writing has real zip and purpose’. I’ll take that, for sure.
I’m getting closer. I’m getting the cover letter right, and I know my work is good. And yes, this may be self-delusion but I believe in what I’ve written. Today, at least; I may feel different tomorrow.
The problem is that I’ve run out of agents to target. Or at least I’m finding it hard to track any more down. I’ve been on the manuscript wishlist website and I’ve been through the Writers’ And Artist’s Yearbook but I don’t want to do things like that anymore; no more blank sending out of queries. I want to find an agent that I feel a connection with, and that basically means liking what they say on Twitter.
Maybe I should go back to lists and try and hit out randomly. I don’t know. There just seems to be a limited pool of agents who work in the field and I’ve already struck out with most of them. Certainly in my world the same names seem to come up again and again.
So what do I do? Well, I won’t get into a panic or allow myself to get too down. I’ve probably forgotten about a dozen people who are worth submissions. I’ll get to them, I’m sure. I’ll check who my favourite authors are repped by and see if I can’t jump on that particular bandwagon (assuming I’ve not already fallen flat on my face).
And I will of course keep on writing. The best book to sell is always your next one; it’s always the best you’ve ever written.
I am on the right track but it is a tortuous, pitfall-filled road with many slips ‘twixt cup and lip.
But I am making progress. I’ll get to my destination one day.
Unless, of course, this is all massive self-delusion. Don’t be surprised to read a remarkably similar post from me in a year, two years, five years’ time. The industry works slowly, and so do I.