Thursday, 18 August 2011

Back in the Driver Seat

You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been or maybe it's been so long you’ve forgotten all about me but, whichever camp you fall into, I am back ... for good.

For the past year my blogs have been sporadic to say the least and that is because I have had nothing much to say – and I am one of those people who aren’t given to idle gossip; small talk just isn’t my thing.

The followers of my blog may remember that about a year ago I acquired the services of an agent. BRILLIANT!! I thought, at last my career will take off big time but, for once, the oracle was wrong and it didn’t.

It is easy for an un-agented author to think that the services of an expert from the publishing world is the one thing that your career lacks. But this isn’t always so. It wasn’t long before I found I didn’t like it, nothing was happening, things were too slow. I wanted action. Patience isn't my thing either :)

There isn’t much point being a novelist if it doesn't make you happy. I am not in it for a big pay out (although of course that would be nice). I write because I have stories in my head that need to be heard. I’ve written since I was eight years old and I need to do something with it.

The first thing the agent suggested (suggested not demanded) was that I remove Peaceweaver from the shelves as a self-published tag might put off serious publishers. I did so because I thought she must know best; I placed all my eggs in her basket, so to speak.

Of course, without Peaceweaver I was left with nothing to market, nothing to blog about, nothing to peddle. So I sat at home, quickly completed the final edits of The Forest Dwellers and finished the first draft of The Song of Heledd.

Then I twiddled my thumbs, made a lot of phone calls, drank alot of coffee and watched enviously as my peers happily continued to produce and market their own excellent novels without recourse to expert help.

I began to write short stories and, as my poetry and shorts were not in the agent’s hands, had a few published. Things were a bit better but still things felt wrong somehow. It took me a while to realise I was no longer happy.

In the end it was my lovely old fella that pointed out what was wrong and suggested I terminate the agreement which, after much deliberation, I did!

I don’t know why the agent failed to sell my work, perhaps my novels are unmarketable, although my readers don’t seem to think so and I get emails every week asking when The Forest Dwellers will be published. I don’t think she fully understood the genre or where I was coming from. I felt she tried to twee my writing up, make it like other big name authors who shall remain nameless. ‘Write a Tudor novel,’ she suggested more than once but I don’t want to write Tudor novels.....

I’ve been agent free for a whole week now and already I feel so relieved, as if I’ve put down a bag of very heavy shopping. In that short time I have put the wheels in motion for a re-edition of Peaceweaver with a prettier cover and complete interior reformat. The Forest Dwellers should be issued at the same time with The Song of Heledd following shortly afterwards in (2012). Then I had better write some more.

It feels good to be in control of my own work again. My kids always accuse me of being a control freak and perhaps they are right. All I know for sure is that I’ve been reformatting, editing, looking at book cover designs and feel involved and a totally happy bunny again. And once the manuscripts are off to the publishers I will have a look and see how easy it is to get them onto Kindle.

So, it’s onwards and upwards! Watch this space!

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