Monday, 31 October 2011

The long cold wait



An agent has had the full manuscript of my second novel for six months now. They read the first three chapters in an anthology put together by the teacher of one of the courses I attended. I sent them the full manuscript and then sat back to wait. Many reading this will know what that's like - the obsessive checking of emails, the runs to the letterbox every time someone puts an advert for a restaurant onto the doormat, the constant checking that you have a good signal on the mobile phone. Actually, I've done none of the above. As far as I'm concerned it will be best if they never contact me. As things stand I can say, "My novel is with a leading London literary agency" and these are words I like to drop into any conversation I have with writerly types. Once they contact me the dream will be over and I will forget that novel for good. Meanwhile it's back to the poems. At least with poetry you can win some minor victories: a poem in a magazine here, a shortlisting for a competition there, an opportunity to read. With novels it's so all or nothing - unless your novel is permanently with an agent who is considering it. Did I mention that my novel is currently in the hands of a top London agency? And no, I won't be sending out any reminders.

12 comments:

Caroline Green said...

Crossing fingers for you Rod. Am full of admiration that you don't chase. I, however, would go completely batshit if I didn't...

Karen said...

I so know what you mean. It's one of the reasons I keep on writing short stories, as there's a good chance they'll be published while my novel is still doing the rounds.

Fingers crossed for yours :o)

Helen Black said...

I always like to have irons in the fire.
HB x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

You have found your writerly niche, Rod. :) Who cares about novels...
By the way, have you ever read David Whyte's Crossing The Unknown Sea? It's a BRILLIANT book about how he became a full-time 'corporate' poet and is an expoloration into work and identity. It's one of my treasured books.
Susiex

Roderic Vincent said...

Thanks for the good wishes; of course I secretly hope for a positive response. But Susie is right, and if you offered me a deal on the novel or a collection of verse I would go with the poems, without hesitation.

I do remember you mentioning that book, Susie, and I should have a look. But the word "Corporate" makes me shudder.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Understood - but David Whyte is far from corporate - he just happens to bring poetry into corporate environments because he believes in, I suppose, the poetry of work. You can check him out reading his own poetry and speaking on You Tube.
Susiex

Derek said...

Rod, every day you keep on writing is a step further along the journey of being a writer.

Sue Sedgwick said...

I know exactly what you mean, but I think you're very strong minded to wait so long. I'd be insane not knowing. One of my MSs just came back - virtually - from an agent, and I was surprised I wasn't more upset. The only explanation I could think of was that it was a relief to know one way or the other.

It's a good idea to have more than one project on the go, and I wish you luck.

Debs Riccio said...

Love the 'spin' Rod. Does this mean I cansafely say that my last teenage novel is with 'a couple of leading London literary agents' as I haven't heard a peep from them since I sent it off in March? Of course they're probably using it as kindling by now (virtually I mean). I do a mean Ostrich, me.

Sue Sedgwick said...

Come to think of it, one has had both mine for over a year; and another has had my first since it was the only one I'd written. Perhaps I could do the same?

Roderic Vincent said...

I wonder what the world record is.

Jane Steen said...

I'm laughing... I thought it was bad that my MS has been with the two (count 'em, two) agents who asked for it for six weeks. You mean I can still tell people it's with an agency if it's been out there for six months... a year...? I feel so validated.

Meanwhile, on with the next book.