Last month I was quite upbeat because an agent actually wanted to see a whole manuscript, that turned neatly around at the start of the month when the agent rejected the book on the basis “for crime series, they are looking for that original, one-line hook that’s never been done before and we’re hearing from them that they want these series to be set in big, exciting cities in order to appeal to a broad market.”
So maybe that’s it.
Or maybe not.
I guess the first question should be: do I need an agent? I go to my local writers group, talk to established authors, read articles, go to conferences and listen to talks and the consensus is – yes I need an agent. In fact the only people who routinely say different are the self-publishers and those who support the self-publishing market.
Which means I do want an agent.
But what if this one agent’s opinion is going to be repeated by all the others?
Maybe I should rewrite the story in London then. Only I don’t like London, or any real big city. I live in Swansea, which is technically a city, but it feels more like a big town. I moved out of the south east for many reasons, but not least of all to avoid the inevitable ‘job in the city’. I commuted in and out of London for a term when I did the first degree I started – hated it. Hated it so much that I only did a term.
So no point trying to re-write with a London biased, I just don’t like the place that well and I know it even less. Can’t write what I don’t want to know (and yes the ‘want’ there in is the operative word).
Right, so going on that advice, that means I’ll never sell my series based in Merthyr Tydfil. Time to retire the pen then…
But wait; what about Eastvale, or Wetherton, Causton or the Hinterland of Aberwystwyth? Are these crime series set in big, exciting cities? Err, no.
Am I going to be put off by the opinion of one agent, well five who have actually seen this series?
Honestly, yeah a bit. I’m human, rejection hurts, self doubt whispers in every ear. But am I going to stop? Like Hell am I.
One other thing I’ve learned about agents, in fact anyone in the publishing world, is that theirs is just one opinion. If you don’t like their opinion, find another one.
Here’s something another agent told me, keep at it, get your stuff out there, and the bit I didn’t know was this – don’t wait to hear from one agent before approaching another, they all know writers make simultaneous submissions, so go for it. Just research your target, personalise the letter and remember they won’t come knocking on your door before you’ve been out knocking on theirs.
And that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to send my Murder Tydfil series to some Welsh bases publishers, see what happens with that.
But I’ve got another book that I wrote as a standalone piece, that I’m going to look to put on a crowd funding site and see if I can get any backing for it, especially as, now I’ve had time to stop and think about it, there are two more books to write about the same characters.
So that’s where I’m at this month, down in the dumps, but digging my way back out.