It’s like a labyrinth. You think you’ve found your way through and then you take a wrong turn and you’re lost again.
What am I talking about?
Honestly, writing the flipping novels is the easy bit. Deciding what to do with them is proving far more troublesome.
Yesterday I went to an event where a bunch of Literary Agents talked to a room of aspiring writers about how to get bag yourself an agent. They told us how important it is to have someone fighting your corner, about the deals that they have won for their clients. It all sounded great.
Then they told us what to put in our pitch letter, how to write a blurb, what to put in a synopsis. The sound of scratching pens filled the room as everyone made notes frantically.
‘So how many unsolicited submissions do you get a week?’
‘About 200 a week which I have to read in my spare time as I am too busy servicing my existing clients during the day.’
‘When was the last time you took on a new writer?’
‘Hmmm. Let me think…. Eighteen months ago? Two years maybe?’
It’s hardly encouraging is it? I’d say my chances of being picked up that way are ludicrously small. My books are not bestsellers. You’re never going to trip over a pile of them on the way to catch your plane. They are mildly compelling, would pass a train journey pleasantly enough but they are never going to win the Man Booker.
And even if you get a fabled agent to represent you, they still have to convince the publisher….
So you could go the other way, publish it yourself. It’s all out there waiting for you at the click of a mouse. Simple steps to creating your own ebooks and paper books. Loads of people do it, some of them very successfully.
But this brings me back to the question that has been whirling round my mind for the last five years.
How do you know if your stuff is good enough to publish? I can’t bear the idea of publishing myself and risking the whiff of desperation seeping into my pages. If my work isn’t ready yet, I’ll just keep writing until it is. There’s no rush. But at the same time what if it’s not bad…..?
I don’t know what to do. Do I spend months and months trying to hook an agent or do I have a go by myself but forever wonder if I’m on a self-indulgent frolic? It shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t seem to matter to millions of self-publishers across the globe. But it really matters to me….
If anyone out there knows anything about any of this please get in touch with a comment below. I can’t just keep writing novels and shutting them in a drawer!