Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Step Forward, or Back?

I have recently been lucky enough to secure myself an agent. Susan Yearwood from the SYLA is a warm hearted and enthusiastic lady and is very excited about my work.
The Representation Agreement has been exchanged and I have placed the final draft of Peaceweaver in her hands. It is now with multiple publishers and we are eagerly waiting for a reply. A long and agnonising six weeks or more of nail biting.

I am not blessed with great self confidence and have never considered myself to be particularly lucky. Life has been a struggle for me so far and I don't really expect any different. Maybe I should have but I have never been one to pray but, boy, am I praying now!
As a result of Peaceweaver being offered elsewhere for publication I have removed the POD version from circulation and so it will no longer be available for order, except for the few copies still available through me. This new step is a large leap forward but right now it feels a bit like a backward one.

Since completing my first novel I tried very hard to secure an agent. I submitted different manuscripts to countless publishers only to receive a, 'Sorry no, its great but not for us' or, 'Sorry, not suitable.' And, what made it harder is that I am sure that, in many cases, it had never even been read. In the end, totally demoralised and spurred on by friends, I decided to self publish.
As it turned out, it was great move and I strongly advise anyone considering it that it helps an author to be noticed and is a great confidence booster. Funded by the Arts Council, I published via You Write On, a literary website that offers critiques and support from other writers. The community is a lively one and I made many friends, one, Helen Spring, author of Memories of the Curlew and Chains of Gold, is especially precious. The publishing process was rapid and the support from Ted and the team invaluable. The day that the author copies of Peaceweaver arrived was one I will never forget, even though, quite typically, I was home alone and had no one to share the initial excitement with.
I really enjoyed having a proper published book available, seeing my author page on Amazon and attending book launches and signings. It somehow made all those lonely hours at the computer worth while, I hadn't been wasting my time.
I now have many friends (I could call them fans but that sounds conceited) that enjoy my writing and constantly ask when The Forest Dwellers will be available. The members at my writing group, The Cwrtnewydd Scribblers, are immensly supportive and spread the word among their own contacts. We attend book fairs and readings and generally have a great time.
I've made a few sales too to offset the costs of publishing and promotion although, sadly, my fortune is still not quite made.
While all the promotion of Peaceweaver was taking place I continuted work on The Forest Dwellers which is now written, edited and the final proofs made. I was all set to go ahead and publish in time for Christmas but, out of the blue, along came Susan, ready and willing to represent me. For a moment I was overwhelmed and scared to let go of the reins and let her take over.
OK, I did send out to many agents from the Writers and Artists Yearbook as advised by countless other writers but I hadn't really held any hope of a positive response!
Am I happy to have a professional person believe in my work enough to sign me up? Of course I am.
Am I sorry that Peaceweaver and The Forest Dwellers will not be filling Christmas stockings this year? Of course I am.
But I have to believe that, with Susan's help, my work will be recognised, Peaceweaver will have a lovely professional cover with my name emblazoned across it in gold embossed letters and that The Forest Dwellers and The Song of Heledd will follow shortly after.
The photograph on the left is Boreas (North Wind) by John Waterhouse. I love this picture and while I was writing Peaceweaver I kept it on the wall beside me. It is how I imagined Eadgyth to look, when I was stuck she helped me out. There are many similar works of art that remind me of the women I write about. So many paintings and so many stories yet to write.
I like to think, it is too early to call it hope, that in years to come the people who like my work will anticipate my next release as much as I look forward to Bernard Cornwells.


  1. Many, many congratulations to you on securing an agent, Judy! That is brilliant news and I think you should just see it as the next step in your publishing journey, and not a backwards step at all.

    You've done such a fantastic job of getting Peaceweaver published and into the hands of readers, but I think it's perfect timing for you to now get an agent on your side. She'll hopefully be able to help you get a higher profile and Peaceweaver into the hands of yet more readers. Having read the book, it's such a gripping historical novel that I would love for everyone I know to read it and pass the word on about it. I've no doubt the same will be true for The Forest Dwellers and The Song of Heledd.

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful picture which reminded you of Eadgyth. It's always interesting to see how authors picture their characters and how close that is to my own image of them.

    Congratulations again!

  2. Thank you, Kath, i really value your support. I am feeling more positive now and working well on The Song of Heledd. And well done for making the long list with your blog too!

  3. It's not a step backwards at all. Think positive. It will happen. Peaceweaver is brilliant.