A New Year Message
For the past three days I have been editing the final chapter of ‘The Penguin Variations’. So I am finishing it as the year ends.
It’s been a good year.
In February I got an agent. I’ve mentioned before that this was almost by chance. I’d almost given up on getting an agent and publisher and had resigned myself to writing what I wanted rather than feel I had to curb my enthusiasm to fit in. Writing is my passion and because work and daily life are pretty tedious I wasn’t going to compromise what I wrote. Then the whole house of cards would be a sham.
One day I was browsing the internet and came across a website with lists of agents. I saw that a few had email address, very few, and so I emailed the ones that did. I wasn’t expecting much, didn’t spend ages on the email.
Within a few days Felicity got back to me. She was immediately enthusiastic. She asked for the whole manuscript, was enthusiastic about that, and we met and I had an agent.
Vintage, one of the publishers we sent the manuscript to, got back almost immediately. The publisher there wanted it but when she spoke to marketing they said they couldn’t back it, didn’t think my book would sell. Other publishers said the same thing. They liked it but thought it would be difficult to sell.
So that was that.
With the rejections back Felicity sent the manuscript to Cape. Cape are the hardback arm of Vintage. The publisher at Cape, luckily for me, liked Me and Mickie James and wanted to publish it. The deal was agreed on Sunday, Felicity called me on Monday. I was at work, dealing with criminal damage to a wall I think, when the call came through.
So 'Me and Mickie James' will be published by Cape in 2008 and then by Vintage after all in 2009.
It’s a small success for me but what I wanted properly since about 1999 which was when I began to write seriously. I feel content now for the first time ever. That an agent and publisher think I am good is the best thing.
And it has made the writing of ‘The Penguin Variations’ this year such a good experience. I don’t know if the agent or publisher will like it but I feel for the first time I know where I’m going and what I’m trying to achieve and I know that people are going to read it at the end.
Strangely enough this sense of myself came from one of the rejections for ‘Me and Mickie James’. The publisher said I mix surrealism with humanism and that is probably about right. ‘Me and Mickie James’ has been sent now to an American agent and foreign publishers and a film agent. This all seems pretty surreal.
All that would be a bonus. For now, this year my dreams have come true. It really is what I’ve always wanted. Happy New Year.