Wednesday, 23 June 2010
It just takes one
I’ve been thinking about the extraordinarily random luck involved in getting published. I subbed my children’s novel to a good many agents and had a strong strike rate, with seven agents calling in the full thing. But each heart-breaking, heart-stopping time, the ultimate answer was no.
The reasons varied, but very often I would hear the words ‘just such a difficult market’ and ‘just so hard to convince editors these days.’ I decided my book was simply too ‘quiet’ to make its way in these difficult times and set about writing something in-yer-face and full-on High Concept with sci-fi bells and whistles. But before I did that, I sent my book to one of the few publishers who take direct submissions, the independent children’s publisher Piccadilly Press. And then forgot about it. Well, sort of. I never really believed anything would come of it anyway and had mentally moved on.
But, incredibly, something has come of it.
First, there was an email asking for the full. Then an email asking if I was willing to make some revisions, and then a few nerve wracking back and forths later, an offer. I’m still not quite able to believe it and think if I talk about it too much [much less blab on the internet....oops] then the whole thing will turn out to have been a dream or a cruel joke.
But I’ve got several very talented friends [you know who you are] whose work is equally deserving but haven’t managed to hop up that last step yet.
I want to say to everyone out there who is feeling down about the bruising, painful business of submitting their work...
IT JUST TAKES ONE.
One person to read your work and really connect with it. Okay so if we’re being picky, agents still have to convince a publisher and commissioning editors still have to convince their sales team. But if you have someone batting for you, you’re a whole lot closer to your dream coming true.
If you really believe in that novel, have revised it, got a professional opinion, revised it again and believe it is the best it can be, then don’t give up.
Send out another handful of submissions and then get on with the next story while you wait.
Remember, it just takes one.