Hello, World. It’s been a really long time.
Over and over, I’ve toyed with the idea of blogging again, but somehow felt I should have more to show for myself if and when I did. The briefest rundown of what’s happened in my life since my last post is this:
- I got a literary agent.
- The novel I wrote is currently on submission to publishers.
- I no longer work at Foyles.
- I am an ESL teacher.
My literary agent is actually a former Foyles co-worker. She told me when we both still worked there that she was planning to start her own literary agency. She also asked if she could take a look at my book when it was finished. I told her sure, and continued to write. When I did finish the book, I queried a bunch of established agents because I thought that would give my book the best possible chance. I liked my co-worker, and her taste in books, but wondered if we might get shut out by publishers because of her newness to the field. However, after receiving a few rejections, I decided to formally query her. I did want to know her opinion of the book even if we didn’t end up working together in the end. She ended up being the first agent who seemed to be as excited about my book as I was. When we had our first meeting as agent and potential client, I felt like we clicked. She understood my vision for the novel and already had plans in place for it. That was when it hit me that working with someone new could be really great. Not only was her enthusiasm encouraging, but she had a modest enough number of clients that I didn’t have to worry about getting lost in the shuffle. Also, she seemed nearly as hungry for the success of my book as I was, which is a great quality for an agent to have. As of now, we’re still plugging along together, and I’m very grateful to have met her as a fellow bookseller.
So my novel is on submission. My story is a tricky one, so I’d already anticipated this part of the process taking some time. And with the current state of the world, I imagine it will take even longer. But that doesn’t trouble me. Every story needs the right home, and however long it takes to find that home, it’ll be worth it.
I was in the UK on a student visa. Near the end of the time I’d been allotted, I applied for (and was granted) a year-long extension. However, that ended without me securing sponsored employment. And without permission to remain, I couldn’t continue working at Foyles. So I’m in the UK as a visitor now. As it is, visitors from the US are allowed to be in the UK for up to six months at a time, so here I am. I’m still job-hunting (another thing made difficult by the current state), but in the meantime, I’m doing a bit of ESL teaching online with a US-based company. I’m also looking into freelancing in whatever way I can. So yeah… keep those fingers, arms, eyes, toes….whatever you’ve got… crossed for me to find sponsorship, plz? Kthx.
Oh and also, I’m working on something new. I don’t know how it is for you other writers out there, but I had a serious crisis of confidence as my time on submission lengthened. It created a creative block in my mind. Writing is the thing (along with reading) that has defined me for most of my life. But not having the story I’d worked so long and hard to tell get snapped up immediately made me wonder if I should even continue (despite knowing that the nature of the story in question precludes this). I know this seems to directly contradict what I said a couple paragraphs back, but I was experiencing both points of view simultaneously. I never stopped wanting to write, and I whole-heartedly believe in finding the best home for a story, but at the same time, it’s always going to be at least a little discouraging not to have someone grab you by the shoulders and scream “THIS IS WONDERFUL! I WANT TO PUBLISH THIS!” It’s par for the course, this fluctuation between confidence and fear. It’s part of what makes this line of work challenging and exciting. And the hurdles make it all the more satisfying when you finally pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard and start to feel your fingers flying as fast as they can to get the words down.
I hope all of you are well, and that I can get back to making this a regular thing. I mean, what better time is there?
Stay safe, y’all.