One small step for a publisher, one giant step for an author…..

I can’t believe it is 4 months since my last blog.

I want to keep you up-to-date with my endeavours to find a literary agent or publisher for my second historical novel, “Song of the Nightingale.”

Up to yesterday there has been minimal progress apart from more rejections.  One publisher did ask for the full manuscript a couple of months ago, which is always very heartening.  I waited and waited to hear whether they were interested and after about 6 weeks I wrote a very polite e-mail gently prodding for a response. A rejection came the next day.

I have joined Jericho Writers. It is expensive but I wanted to make use of their Agent Match, which provides a relatively easy way of finding literary agents. I had made a list many months ago but not sent out my manuscript to all of them, so I dusted the list off and started sending it out again. I am also a member of the Historical Novel Society and I trawled through their quarterly magazine and did an on-line search for the publishers of the hundreds of books that the magazine reviews. I ignored the US ones, leaving only a small  number of UK publishers, most of which don’t accept unsolicited submissions.

So I spent a few evenings sending out the 1st 3 chapters and the synopsis and then sat back and waited. Whilst the manuscript hasn’t actually been rejected, there is always hope.

Yesterday evening (Saturday 17th August), just 3 days after sending out, I was sitting reading, and the ‘phone rang. It was a publisher who said he loved the bit I had sent and could I send the full manuscript. How nice of him to ring rather than just e-mail (although an e-mail asking for the whole manuscript is also very welcome). Hence the title of this blog – for minimal effort on his side, the impact on my side was colossal!

He may yet not be interested – he has only read the 1st 20 pages, but he enjoyed it and obviously feels it has potential. Isn’t this what we writers want – just some acknowledgement that we have written something other people might like to read?

I am also a member of the Society of Authors and I have asked for their opinion of this publisher. He claims they are not a vanity press (and to be honest they don’t seem to be) but their business model is for the author to pay some money up-front. I have also messaged a couple of the authors listed on the publisher’s website to ask for their opinion – no response as yet.

He had obviously read it as he asked for some slight changes (I am mortified to say I was inconsistent with how I wrote someone’s name). I won’t jinx it by saying the name – but it is now a waiting game – but I do feel hopeful, although I am trying not to be, especially as I need to know they are not a vanity press.

I also asked if he might be interested in publishing my debut novel “The Jewel Garden.” The current publisher is not well and is not taking an active role and has said he will revert the rights. I will have to change the title and perhaps the cover – although I would like to keep the main design as it was done by a close friend. Also, this will give me the chance to put right the faux pas I made by knowingly changing the date when Mary De Morgan died. Only one reviewer has noticed this but there was such a fuss and bother about it that I would like to rectify it – even if it is just explaining in the postscript.

Other news:

  • I am giving a talk on Mary De Morgan at Earlsdon Library in Coventry (now run by the community and needing everyone’s support) Saturday 14th September 2pm – 4pm.
  • I am giving a talk based around fairy tales at the Southam Literary Festival on Tuesday 15th October – not sure when or where!
  • I am retiring at the end of October. This means that I will have more time to write my 3rd novel, write poetry, submit to competitions, write my three grandchildren’s Christmas stories that have become a tradition, go on more long-distance walks. Won’t I?






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