Does this mean I’m going to get published now? No, I’m afraid not. There are plenty of writers represented by very good agents who don’t make it to publication. What it does mean is that publishers may now be willing, at least, to take a look at my novel. It means someone in the industry is prepared to invest her time and energy in trying to secure me a deal. It means I have passed through one of the key portals. It remains to be seen if I stall here, or if I continue to the next level.
I have often wondered what it would feel like to sign with an agent. It feels great, of course. There is no denying the exhileration of reading that email containing an offer of representation (of which I was lucky to receive more than one). I managed to seriously aggravate a calf injury by skipping across the kitchen in my slippers.
It is also a huge relief. It’s taken time and persistence to get here. A lot of that time was spent simply waiting. Some agents, including those who requested the full manuscript, took a very long time to get back to me. It’s easy to lose faith and to fear that a firm offer may never quite materialise. So, relief, as well as joy, is the order of the day.
It feels strange, too. Strange to think that my book is now in the hands of another. Someone else is at the helm. It takes a leap of faith to surrender that control. I am no longer the person making the pitch, sending out the submission and I will no longer be the first to view the response. But, as well as feeling strange, it’s wonderfully liberating. Hell, why not let someone else handle all that stuff? Meanwhile, I can get on with my writing.
That’s the other great thing about it: the amount of time this frees up. Trying to find an agent is a time consuming process. It involves, not just sending out your opening chapters, but researching the best way to do this, attending agents’ talks and pitching events, writing and re-writing that bloody synopsis. No more.
I am realistic, I hope, about the prospects of publication. I know it’s a tall order. It’s heartening, at least, to know that an unbiased and experienced professional has faith in my novel. It has come out of the slush pile, let’s see where it can go next.