I'm still waiting to hear. And it is HORRIBLE!
I know that I am lucky to have an agent.
I know I should be grateful that my novel has been pitched at the publishing world and no news is good news (so they say!!).
I know I am a complete pain in the a**e to anyone who knows me. I can't concentrate on anything else - this enormous warm and fluffy feeling that is my first novel occupies every space in my brain, forcing out mundane things like shopping, cleaning and working.
I'm coiled up like a cobra, periodically sticking my head up to spit venomous poison at anyone who asks if I have heard anything from my agent.
Anyway - less of the incoherent burblings of a frustrated wannabe, the reason for this post is to share some information with my fellow aspiring novelists.
I sent out a total of six submissions to agents earlier this year. I have now had a reply from all of them; the last one responding just yesterday. I thought you might like to know the statistics and how and by when they responded. I won't put the names of the agencies on my blog, but most of you know who they are anyway from chatroom ramblings, and if you e-mail me I'll tell you privately.
Agent No. 1: Submitted end February. Replied five weeks later with a request for the full manuscript. Rejected one week later with an individually written letter, mentioning the huge amount of submissions they receive, the current economic climate and suggesting that I try elsewhere. The letter was polite and friendly and I got the feeling this was a top-class agency.
Agent No. 2: Submitted 3rd May. E-mailed on 20th May to say she would like to read the whole manuscript. M/S submitted 21st May. E-mailed on 29th May to say she liked it and would like to meet me to discuss it. Meeting held on 6th June. Revisions suggested. Rewrite submitted on 16th June. E-mailed back to say she was sending it out to two big publishers on 3rd July and 'a few more' during week commencing 7th July. She says she will let me know immediately she hears back from any of the publishers. (Hence the constant checking of e-mails and jumping each time the phone rings.) I have to say that the service I have received as a new author has been second to none, and although this agent has a scary reputation I feel she will do her utmost to get me published.
Agent No 3: Submitted 3rd May. I received a lovely individual response at the end of May saying that she had enjoyed the first three chapters, but that 'on balance, she felt she would have to pass this time as it didn't quite grip her in the way that it should for her to offer to represent it'. She urged me to try other agents, who may be looking for this type of family saga. Once again, she made me feel valued as a person, even though she had rejected my manuscript.
Agent No. 4: Submitted 3rd May. Package returned with no covering letter, standard letter or anything to indicate where it had come from. I had to guess which agency it was by the postmark. Big thumbs down for this agency. I wouldn't have thought a standard rejection letter would have been too much trouble to include in the package. Mind you it does now say on their website they are not considering any unsolicited material at the present time, although it didn't mention this at the time I sent it off. Perhaps a junior assistant forgot to include the standard letter?
Agent No. 5: Submitted 3rd May. Packaged returned with standard rejection letter mid June. I have to say that the manuscript looked as if it hadn't even been read.
Agent No. 6: (Submitted 3rd May, reply received yesterday). A letter requesting the full manuscript after I have re-written it using just one narrative voice. The agent said '.... we enjoyed the writing immensely, but feel that it is best for a new author to stick to just one narrative voice.' I have written back to the agent thanking her for her time and informing her that I now have an agent.
What do you all feel about the response of Agent No. 6?
The first part of my novel is written in the first person from five points of view as each of the principal characters describes what happened on Easter Sunday in 1922. The second part takes up the story from the Autumn of 1922 and tracks the life of the family up until 1978. It is written traditionally in the third person, with occasional narrative (typed in italics) in the first person as the main character (Tom) speaks directly to the reader and makes comments on his life story, giving shocking little secrets away.
It just goes to show how agents have differing opinions doesn't it?
JM (my agent) loved the way it was written. She said it was original and made the reader feel a part of the family. When we met I did say that I was worried about the structure of the novel, but she dismissed my comment with a wave of the hand and said that 'true writers just write, and it's how it grips the reader that matters, and how quickly they want to turn the pages, not how it is technically constructed.' Mind you, she suggested changing the viewpoint in places, and I could see why when I did the revisions - the whole thing flowed much better.
I'm just hoping that publishers won't take the view of Agent No. 6 just because I'm an unpublished author; I feel that No. 6 does have a valid point about using just one narrative voice, and it's something that I've read elsewhere too.
The only thing is, I don't see how the story would work if I changed it.
Anyhow. I'm keeping everything crossed that it's just a hypothetical conundrum, and hardly daring to hope that one of the publishers will want to publish my novel. If they don't - then I suppose it's back to the drawing board, but even though the waiting is killing me, I wouldn't miss the experience for anything!
But what is really comforting is knowing that my blogmates are right beside me, and if the ultimate outcome is rejection then I know I'm in good company!