Saturday, 3 December 2016

Starting from the beginning

I have begun the epic quest of seeking an agent for my first Middle Grade fantasy novel, Tales of Silverbell Wood: A Bride for the Beast, which features dragons, fairies, unicorns and other magical creatures in humorous out-of-the-box settings. After a long, sweet break from querying during which I mostly worked on getting Wild Children ready for publication, together with the team of Mason Marshall Press, I'm in the game again.

On the first of this month, I sent my query to eight agents. I will wait one month and if I get no interest, and on January first I intend to send queries to 8-10 more. I will keep at it until I get an agent (or find a publisher who doesn't require an agent, or decide to self-publish). If needed, I will tweak the manuscript and/or query letter, but I won't obsess. Repeat: I won't obsess.

Even if this book never makes it out there, in this case I'm already a winner, because I have created a family reading tale which my children have enjoyed at least as much as Winnie the Pooh, Pippi Longstocking or The Chronicles of Narnia. Whenever I slacked off in writing, I got a kid or two pestering me. "Well? When are you going to write more? We want to know what happens when they find the dragon!"

And let me tell you, my kids aren't at all afraid to hurt my feelings. When I ask, "what do you think of this?" or "did you like this chapter?" I have to be prepared for honest opinions, which can be as brutal as "this is stupid" or "you should change all of it". So when I had them sitting enthralled and begging for more, it was a huge compliment. It was a reward in itself. Even if I just print one souvenir copy of this book for my children, it's all worth it.

Furthermore, one big advantage of writing for children is that children's fiction is, well, short. A Bride for the Beast is 40,000 words, which is a breeze compared to Quest of the Messenger, each book of which contained on average 140,000 words, or soon-to-be-released Wild Children, which will be no less than 100,000 words.

I have really, truly, thoroughly enjoyed writing this book. Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope other people will like it as well.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I only dipped the tips of my toes into querying (sent off maybe ten queries after finishing my book's first draft - and not without a little success as I did get two partial requests), but I found the whole process degrading and idiotic.

    Most agents (digression: what qualifies someone to be an agent? Is there an agent test) don't even bother responding, even if you research them and craft a personal letter. Just rude. I don't care how busy you are, a form e-mail takes seconds to fire off, even if you don't read the sample pages or query (which I suspect they don't). Bleh.

    Gatekeepers, meh. I found the whole concept of genuflecting in front of people I don't know - and have no idea if they even have any taste - ridiculous. Honestly, that's why I went with self-publication as opposed to a more concentrated effort to be published traditionally. I really find the whole system distasteful, from begging for a shred of human decency from agents, to signing with a huge corporation that will take your rights and the vast majority of money in perpetuity.

    Sorry, rant over.