I was thrilled to get an invitation from Sainsbury’s to feature on their fab site along with authors like Ann Cleeves (Vera). Here is the blog post about getting published.
And here is the piece in full:
I had all but forgotten that my book was still floating about publishing houses in London when my agent sent me a very neutral email – there were two editors considering my novel, could I possibly send on a sample of what I’m currently working on? You would think, this would make a girl very excited, but to be honest, we had been here before. Agents, when I was actively seeking one, ask you this all the time and I’d sent off more drafts of work in progress than I could count over the last few years. I’d been courted by quite a few agents, but in the end, I met with one and really liked her. The fact that she’d ‘discovered’ some of the best writers around only cemented my enthusiasm.
That day, as I walked out of the local swimming pool, I rang a few people, but I was calm, unconvinced that this would lead anywhere, really. Still, I went home after work, re-wrote, edited, and tidied until two in the morning and sent what would become book 2 to the agent at around six the next morning. Most writers, starting out, get little sleep, but then if you really want to succeed at things, sometimes you have to prioritize and for me my priorities were set a few years earlier and the books came second only to family and friends. Although I have a full time job, writing is my career; writing is what fires my imagination and propels me from my bed two to three hours before most of my colleagues in the day job!
Again, there was silence. Almost a week of it. There is nothing more unbearable than silence to a writer once a manuscript has been sent out. You forget that agents have other clients, and maybe they deserve a summer holiday too! You forget that publishers, particularly one starting up a new imprint might be a little busy. Instead, you try hard to be positive, talking over the relentless doubts that drum heavily at the back of your mind.
Then, almost a week later, my agent contacted me. The first email that outlined the publisher was interested read more like a sales pitch! I read it many times before I dared show it to anyone else. My agent was selling the deal to me? She outlined the publisher’s illustrious career, the fact that she’d made best sellers out of quite a number of her writers and the exciting offer that she was confident would be forthcoming. Once I had read the email a few times I jumped about the kitchen, my nerves shot, my whole body giddy with the kind of excitement that I didn’t know I still had the capacity to feel. I jumped about, victory danced, thumped the air and then I read it again and again and again.
It was the very same with the offer. I had to go back over it several times. Not only had they made an offer, but they compared the book to some of the best writers out there, talked about covers and packaging and branding. The icing on the cake, for me at least was that they wanted to sign me up for a three-book deal.
Weeks later, I still found myself, once more re-reading the email – could it really be?
The contract arrived, as I knew it would, one dark morning. I read it through in silence, while insistent rain pelted a background chorus on the slates overhead. I read it while everyone slept and I knew, that sewn deep in this silence were the seeds of an exhilarating beginning. I held my breath and signed it with a flourish, my hope then being that it would offer others the same enjoyment the books have so far given me.
Even now, I have to pinch myself, occasionally. That same excitement pulses through my whole body and I know that every missed hour of sleep, the fact that I do not have a clue about what happens in any soap opera on t.v. or indeed that I’m extremely selective in the time I spend on activities outside my writing time, have all been worthwhile. In a heartbeat, I’d do it all again, because the joy of the first book deal goes way beyond what I had expected – and the best thing is that it can happen to anyone, after all, everyone has a story to tell, don’t they…