Thursday, 14 August 2014

You just have to keep plugging away!

I just thought I'd give you all an update on how things are going in my efforts to find a literary agent who will represent me on the basis of how fabulous (and more importantly, commercially viable) my latest novel, Fractured Time, is.

Now, for those who don't know how these things tend to work, most agents request a synopsis, some sample chapters and a few words about an author's previous scribings as part of the submission. To date, I've only sent Fractured Time out to 8 agents (I don't subscribe to the idea of sending submissions to dozens and dozens of agents all at once - that could get messy), and their responses have so far fallen into the following categories of my highly technical, recently patented 'Submissions Response Evaluation System':

Level 1 - 0
Level 2 - 1
Level 3 - 2
Level 4 - 5
Level 5 - 0

I know - I should have included a bar chart or something, but that would be very, very anal.

So, a quick explanation of the Levels:

  • Level 1 - the agent loves it so much they want to represent me (this is like finding the Holy Grail, reaching Shangri-la, going into Cadbury's World when not on a diet - its occurrence would result in me dancing wildly (maybe naked…) around whatever room I'm in, kissing and hugging whoever happened to be present - friends, you have been warned!).
  • Level 2 - the agent is sufficiently intrigue by both premise and style to request to see the whole manuscript (this is fingers crossed, prayers whispered every night, cats and pigeons sacrificed on the altar of the writing gods sort-of-territory).
  • Level 3 - there are positive words in what is, sadly, a negative response (these are the difficult ones, I guess - it's a bit like getting to the final round of Pointless, choosing UK Actors and getting the Films of Norman Wisdom - you feel you've achieved something in getting to that point, but in the end, it's a hollow victory and just another disappointment).
  • Level 4 - just a 'No' or a 'Not Suitable for our Lists' (not much to say about these sorts of responses, I guess - pretty self-explanatory and there's really no other option than to roll with the punches (though I'd be lying if there wasn't the odd whispered curse or two).
  • Level 5 - any response with words to the effect: 'Andy, your writing is shite - give up!' or 'Utter bollocks - snap your pencil, for fuck's sake!' (not sure how I'd react if I ever got one of these).
Putting things in perspective, the fact that I have already received a Level 2 response from an agent is a 100% improvement on the performance of 'The Book That THEY…', (where the interest of literary agents was conspicuous by its absence…sadly) so I guess I should interpret that statistic as a significant step forward.
And, let's remember, there's still over fifty literary agents yet to be contacted should my current Level 2 fail to progress to the Nirvana that is Level 1, so I'm still pretty optimistic…and as one of the agents from whom I received a response yesterday remarked:
You just have to keep plugging away

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