A dilemma – wait, send more or chase?

I have felt guilty over the last few months because I promised to write a blog about my progress getting a literary agent/publisher for my second novel “Song of the Nightingale” but I haven’t written one since end of January, basically because so little has happened.

Since October I have sent to 23 literary agents and have had 9 rejections, the last one being early March. Most of the outstanding ones are well past when they promised they would respond by. I have also sent to 5 publishers and have had 2 rejections, both again in early March.

I am almost wishing to get a rejection just so I know someone is a least reading it. I am trying to remain optimistic but really, what are the chances that they are all considering it? More likely it has just been discarded into a big black hole.

I attended the “Get Published Day” a few weeks ago, run by Jericho Writers. I chose to pay £50 for a one-to-one with a Book Doctor, who spent the 15 minutes saying he didn’t have anything to say other than that the book is ready to send out. I have had a good review from a professional reviewer, who also said it is ready, so I don’t know what else I can do.

I must admit I have been feeling a bit despondent, which is affecting the writing of my third novel. I still get a tingle of excitement when I think about it, but I am really struggling to sit down and write it. I haven’t actually thought out loud “what’s the point” because I don’t write to earn money so I suppose it doesn’t matter if I don’t sell any, but I must admit that I do want my writing to be acknowledged and appreciated.

I occasionally take a look at the Amazon reviews for my 1st novel, “The Jewel Garden” with little hope in my heart that the number will have gone up but today it had another one which was so good it has really given me a boost:

I absolutely adored this story. The level of description was consistently beautiful throughout, and the characters were very skilfully built in such a way that they were believable, interesting, relatable and sometimes very irritating! (A sign of a great writer!)
Marilyn has clearly done a lot of research prior to writing this novel, and as well as enjoying the story, I also enjoyed learning about the contextual aspects surrounding the novel too. (The poverty in Victorian London, life in Cairo etc.)
As an English teacher, I plan to use this novel in my teaching so that I can show my students how a piece of beautifully detailed and well crafted descriptive writing should look!
I am excited to read Marilyn’s next novel.

So, here is one reader at least who is looking forward to my next novel – literary agents take note! This review has restored my confidence in my writing, for which I thank her (I assume it is a her) most profusely.

I am also going to see about a blog tour for “The Jewel Garden” – do literary agents follow them?

So, my conundrum is – do I just wait longer for a response (nearly said a rejection – I must be more positive!), send out to more agents or chase the ones I have already sent to?

Other news, for anyone who is interested:

  1. I picked up 2nd prize for a competition run by the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, for a poem with the theme of an anniversary.
  2. I have sent a children’s story called “The Lion who Lost his Roar”  to three publishers – no response as yet.
  3. I am very pleased that I have been asked to give a talk at the Southam Book Festival in October 2019. Again, the talk will be based on Mary De Morgan, fairy tales and my first novel – but hopefully if people like “The Jewel Garden” they will want to read “Song of the Nightingale” – if it ever gets published.
  4. I am working with Cambridge Scholars Publishing to get my biography of Mary De Morgan “Out of the Shadows” out as a paper back and to do some proper marketing. I am excited about this – I think this will always be my favourite baby and it would make an excellent companion to “The Jewel Garden”.



2 thoughts on “A dilemma – wait, send more or chase?

  1. Marilyn it’s all par for the course. I know it’s frustrating but you just have to keep on trying with publishers and agents. Why not follow up your submissions to agents if you feel a fair amount of time has passed? And keep on sending your m/s to publishers. Perseverance is the key. You don’t need to spend additional money out to be told your writing is good. Your writing is excellent and beautiful! Your m/s just needs to land under the nose of the right agent or the right editor, and the only way for that to happen is to keep on sending it out – for as long as it takes! And stay positive, your next book is begging to be written and it won’t write itself. xx


  2. Pingback: A dilemma – wait, send more or chase? – McAennyl

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