The Quest for an Agent…..

I’ve swithered about posting about this. It’s a toughie. I just thought I would share with you my attempts to find myself an agent. I suppose for those of you who are also on this quest it might resonate, comfort, reassure, or even, perhaps in some way inspire(!!!??).

I’ve been writing now, in the sense of writing with an aim to be published, for around ten years. I was relatively late to the process, now in my mid forties, but after studying Drama as a mature student, I specialised in Theatre Criticism and learned the mechanics of writing. I was hooked.

From time to time over the last ten years, I’ve tried to find an agent. I have bought the Artists’ and Writers’ Yearbook. I’ve trawled through submission guidelines for agents all over the country.  I’ve been to a course in London run by the wonderful Juliet Mushens, so I’ve had pretty much every helping hand out there. No excuses! But I still can’t seem to find the magic formula.  Each submission process begins with such hope and excitement: I’ve been careful to tailor each one to the particular requirements of each agent.  And then I’ve inevitably read on various social media pages of those lucky enough to be  asked for a full MS, or signed by an agent, or even better to be in a situtation whereby the author has to choose between a number of offers from various agents. This, surely is the stuff of dreams.

In the interim, I’ve been incredibly lucky. Without an agent, I’ve had six books published by two really wonderful independent Scottish publishers. I’ve already got two books lined up for next year. I do feel very grateful for that.

However, I have always been led to believe, all the way along, that being represented by an agent was really the golden ticket, the gateway to the big international publishers and therefore a bigger income.  So once again, in June this year, I set out with my latest MS. Now, I know it’s not a complete disaster as a piece of writing. I know this because a relatively well known independent publisher took it right to the wire before deciding that ultimately it just wasn’t for them. And an agent who I know quite well has been very encouraging and has given me constructive criticism and feedback.  However, I decided that seeing as I wrote it three years ago and have been redrafting and tweaking it since then,  I really would give it a shot.  I spent two weeks carefully submitting. In the end, I counted 17 submissions to agents primarily in London.

So here we go. So far, six outright rejections. 11 to go. And let’s be honest, I may not hear back from them at all. It’s pretty tough: at best slightly demoralising, at worst completely confidence crushing!!  At times, I really feel it’s a process I can’t see myself repeating.

All you can do is try to be a better writer, a more exciting writer, a finger-on-the-pulse, original writer. But sometimes, it feels like grasping in the dark.

But, keeping my chin up, I shall press on. There’s nothing else for it! But for those of you starting out on this journey or like me, somewhere in the middle,  I know how tough it is.


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