Early December 2010 – The submission of my novel to Creme de la Crime resulted in an emailed response to say that they had been taken over by a larger publishing house and they were no longer accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Not good news.
However, the Editor went on to suggest two Agents that were actively seeking fiction submissions from new authors and two publishing houses that welcome new writers, namely Macmillan New Writing and HarperCollins Preface. Finally, a breakthrough!
I started with the Agents – checked their websites for submission policies and drafted a query letter to send with my sample chapters and synopsis. Harder than you think. We are told to ‘keep it brief’, some people say ‘no more than three paragraphs’… Mine ran to six paragraphs. But there were all very small paragraphs covering the basics of introduction, word count, genre, target audience, experience of writing including relevant courses and published work. At this stage my only published work was non fiction articles and poetry, but it all helps.
Within a week the first Agent came back. I remember looking at the email in my Inbox, idly clicking on it thinking, another rejection. But no, it was actually a request to read the rest of my manuscript! (I’ll admit I did a little dance around the lounge that day.) Within two weeks, the second Agent had expressed an interest. Wow! These things don’t happen to me, I thought.
So it just shows that sending your manuscript to the right people, those who will actually read it, makes all the difference.
Then, I faced my next dilemma….
Jane Isaac is very much a Newbie, she doesn’t even have a website yet (one day…) and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. Join her on the rocky road from pen to publication – hopefully!