You might have noticed me mention recently that I’m currently looking for an agent. It’s quite a tricky place to be but it’s also an important part of the path to publication, so I thought it worth a blogpost.
In some ways I feel like I’ve been here before. In my early twenties, I was a happy singleton; but, as friends, family and acquaintances started pairing off and creating families of their own, I realised I wanted marriage and kids too. Although I was pleased for them, as the years passed it was hard sometimes not to grit my teeth at the latest birth announcement or engagement. I was delighted for them, of course I was, but for a long time, I thought, no matter how much I wanted it, it was never going to happen for me.
This stage of my writing career feels rather similar. For years I aspired to be a writer without doing anything about it. When I finally got going, it took me a lot longer than I’d anticipated to write my first novel. During which time, I’ve watched friends, family and acquaintances write novels, acquire agents and book deals, some seemingly without any effort whatsoever. Once more I find myself trying not to grit my teeth as someone I know fills their social media with the good news that I’d love to announce myself. And once more, it’s not that I resent their good fortune (and indeed I know that no-one gets there easily, however much it looks that way) it’s just the fear that it won’t ever happen for me.
So I’m trying to hold on to the knowledge that the self-belief and determination that preceded meeting my husband can help me here. Love and motherhood didn’t happen overnight, but it happened eventually. It happened because I didn’t give up in the face of failed relationships. It happened because I learnt lessons about myself from every rejection. When I finally met my lovely Chris, I was more than ready, and so was he, and everything just slotted into place.
I’m holding onto that knowledge as I search for the agent of my dreams. Writing submissions is hard, waiting for a response harder;and no matter how much I try and prepare myself, that “no” entering my in-box hurts every time. But, when the “ouch” moment has passed, I’ve been able to look at the helpful feedback and see how it can help me improve my work.
So I’m beginning to realise rejection doesn’t mean that I’m a bad writer, or my novel hasn’t got potential, it’s just that I haven’t found the right agent yet. The person that will get what I’m about and what I’m trying to do. The person who will love my novel as much as I do. The person who will champion my writing and get me the book deal I desire.
We haven’t met yet, but I know that agent is out there. And I like to think that s/he is looking for a writer like me. So that when we finally meet, everything will slot into place. However long it takes – 6 weeks, 6 months, a year or even more – I know it’s a moment well worth waiting for.