I thought that after the summer it would be a good time to provide an update as to where I am in my writing and in doing so reflect on the process. I also thought that this information might be useful for fellow newbie writers in understanding the process that I have experienced to date.
During the last few days of my summer holiday – I do wish that they were longer – I completed the final revisions, and that ever so important final read of my novel Enemies Rising, the first in the Tacrem series. Finishing was a great feeling and just spurred me on to continue writing Tacrem 2 (T2) as we’ll call it for now. Strangely enough I’d already outlined the plot and sub plots for T2 during the start of summer and started writing in earnest on the odd day when I thinking about the final revisions of Enemies Rising. Of course, one informed the other and that peculiar mix melded better than I could possibly have expected.
The day after completing, I sent the sample off to a four literary agents. Now this is an interesting process for the uninitiated.
Over the course of the last year, I have dipped in and out of the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2012. I have taken on board the advice; prepared my query letter, cover letter, and synopsis. Now here is a quick tip: After writing over 100,000 words, writing a synopsis can be a challenge. When you read the submission guidelines of a few Literary Agents, this challenge becomes more, shall we say thought provoking. Why, well some want a 2-4 page synopsis, some want specifically 2 pages, and wait for it yes, the KILLER, some want just a 1 page synopsis. My advice is to prepare these in the quiet time between writing, and between revisions. That way when you have finished your novel you can immediately start sending it to your hit list of agents.
Most of the agents that I have researched state that they will, if interested make contact within about six to eight weeks. Which I think, considering the amount of MS they must receive is an impressive turnaround time. So once I had sent my MS out I was prepared to wait a while and continue writing. Yes, you must continue to write. There is no obvious guarantee of acceptance and if you love writing, you will do it anyway. A week later, I sent my submission package to one more agent on my list and less than 24 HOURS LATER they asked me for the full MS, and added a question, “how many do I plan to write in the series?” Now I know that there is no guarantee here but the feeling of someone in the industry asking for a full is one to behold, and to be asked that question was amazing. Obviously, I sent the full MS straight away. I received a very polite reply stating that it had been safely received and a request that should another agent show interest in representing me to contact them. The estimated time of response in this stage was given as four to six weeks.
To conclude I think that it is fair to say that writers should:
- Read books such as the Writers and Artists Yearbook and Cristina Katz’ Get Known before the Book Deal. They really do help.
- Make sure that the finished MS is the best it can be before submitting to agents.
- Do your homework regarding the Literary Agents that you are submitting to. I had a couple on my list from the Writers and Artists Yearbook and when I researched them online I found that either their list was closed or that they gave specific dates when they may be accepting new work.
- To develop the point above further (20) I would suggest that you specifically research the individual agent to whom you wish to submit within the agency. Read their bio’s and got to the author forums, or enter their name in Google to see what comes up. I have found some Literary Agent interviews from which I could glean their likes and dislikes of submissions. This was useful.
- Make your submission package professional. Direct the letter to the agent by name and check the spelling. READ THE LITERARY AGENCY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES and do NOT deviate from them.
- Some agents such as Curtis Brown have an online submission facility. Read the instructions carefully, take your time following them.
- Remember my 3 P’s: Be proactive, persistent, and patient.
I hope that this helps and wish you good luck with your pursuits.
We’ll I haven’t been on the blog for a while what with summers holidays and I’ve been really busy finishing the revisions and the final read of ENEMIES RISING. This contemporary fantasy features adventures in a number of European sites such as Spain, Italy, France, and the UK, oh and not to forget Cetardia, the Downside world under the sea.
It has been terrific fun to write and the MS is now looking for a good home with a suitable Literary Agent with the final word count being 105, 989. IF ANY AGENTS ARE READING THIS, I OUGHT TO SAY THAT THE COMPLETE MANUSCRIPT (aimed at 12 – 15 year olds) IS READY FOR YOU NOW.
I have had a number of people read the MS and some of the main feedback includes how good it would be as a film or play station game. Some have even said it would make a good Marvel like comic. Of course, my business ears prick up when I hear these sorts of comments and I drift off into the realms of physical books, e-books and merchandise, lots of merchandise. Don’t I wish! Of course, I wouldn’t dream of putting this information in my query letter, would I?
Anyway, wish me luck with the submissions and I’ll keep you update.
Hey, it is International Children’s Book Day today! What are you doing special today? Are you reading children’s books or writing them?
I am doing two things. Firstly, it has taken a while to find a suitable copy-editor, one with patience, and a good eye for young fiction. However, I am pleased to report that I have now received the synopsis and first three chapters back and well edited. Therefore, I have been working on the submission package for number 1 of the Tacrem Series – ‘ENEMIES RISING’. (Any Literary Agents or Publishers reading please take note.) I shall get the remaining chapters back before the end of the month.
I also awoke at 5.30 a.m. this morning with some additions to number 2 of the Tacrem Series that is already underway.
In addition, I have been doing some research for a delightful series of children’s books that I have started in relation to travel.
All in all a nice busy day. What did you say you have been doing?
P.S. You can follow Tacrem on Facebook Click Here.
I am writing this in an attempt to explain to the loved ones of writers that their need to write is a real need, often beyond the control of the writer.
Time is ticking, thoughts on paper and screen are flowing, nay I should say overflowing. It’s as if the inception of one line of thought pervades, grows and often times mutates into another germ. This germ, this ‘thought virus’ attacks the writers mind and it succeeds in infecting them. Its secret of success is that the writer actually wants to write. The writer is the perfect host ripe for infection. The writer – the one in for the long haul come what may – actually attracts the virus and readily hosts its surreptitious power. This power with the strength of armies programs the writers mind to such a degree that on occasions they no longer want to write. WHAT, you may say no longer wants to write? Moreover, this is where the virus takes hold. It mutates from the point of wanting to the unshakable point of needing to write status. Writers can find themselves in this status. It is a state where they wake in the morning and immediately proceed to think about the context of their next writing. If the virus is of a particularly strong, vain they may even wake in the night and take notes in that ever present notebook or Ipad beside the bed. Being infected means that in virtually every unoccupied waking minute writing pops in to the mind ready to be poured onto a page. For some writers, no matter how enjoyable, the day job can get in the way, especially if it is unrelated to the writing. The consequence of this is that once home your viral infection is competing to take your quality time away from you and your loved ones who may or may not have seen you all day. You may even find that whilst at home doing the household chores ideas pop into your head and the virus takes over once again. Does any of this sound familiar in any way?
Author Paul Stretton Stephens
Paul is an Englishman who lives in Spain, where he is currently a Head Teacher in a secondary school by day and writes by night. His writing projects currently include articles, fiction, Young Adult (YA), short stories, children’s stories, and poetry.
Paul can be contacted as follows: