Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Right here

I'm going through a wishing phase: I wish I was in Paris; I wish I had a shed to write in; I wish the weather would improve. But this morning I made myself remember: three months ago (and for five years before that) I was wishing I was exactly where I am now. Making changes to a novel that had secured me a leading literary agent. This has been my wish for so long, I'm still pinching myself that it's real. And, yes, I've swapped one hurdle for the next; I'm not resting on my laurels here. But for all I'd like Paris, and a shed, and sunshine, I have the thing I've wished for hardest and longest.

So, I'm going to put together a blog post about how I got here. Five Times I Didn't Get an Agent, and One Time I Did. Or something like that. I'm going to try and extract the best lessons I learnt on the path from wishing to having. To which end, please let me know what you'd like to hear about. Maybe my approach pattern to agents? Maybe my writing process? How I took the good advice along the way and used it to get better? The times I nearly gave up, and the reasons I didn't? How it felt when everyone around me seemed to be moving forward and I was getting nowhere?

Anything at all that you're curious about, please drop me a line. I want this blog post to be of use and value to others. And to be entertaining, of course. It wasn't all blood, sweat and tears. Often I smiled at my own obstinacy, or arrogance. I learnt to take myself and my endeavours with a huge pinch of salt. Maybe that's part of the winning formula? Other writers please chip in!

6 comments:

Jessica said...

Hi Sarah - I have a question - How long did it take for the agent to get in contact after you submitted the novel?

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks for kicking this off, Jessica. I'll put it on the list to answer in the blog post, but basically the response time varied depending on how well the agent(s) had come to know me. So when I was a complete newbie from the slushpile it was a few weeks for a full ms request and then an average of 3 or 4 months for a (detailed) response. Once my name was known by the readers, it got me fast-tracked (I was told this by the reader at one agency), so then it was a week for a full ms request. If the novel wasn't right but had merit, I'd get the detailed response within a couple of months. When I finally got it right, the agent was in touch after a week. Patience is definitely a necessity, though!

Sara Crowley said...

I'd love to know how you chose which agents to approach, Sarah? And how you approached? And any magic tips? And I'd like to know how that Jane/Cho fanfic is going ;)

And why is your word verification "licky"? That's ... odd.

Sarah Hilary said...

Nice questions, Sara! I can answer one rightaway. The word verification saw Jane/Cho and it made it go "licky". You and I can sympathise with that. *g*

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

How did you choose an agent?

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Nuala, I'll definitely cover that in my next blog post. Hope all is well with you. How's Juno? Thriving, I hope.