Monday 18 October 2010

New Novels and the Problem of Literary Agents

Now 12,000 words into The Constant Lovers. The Broken Token was published in America last week, and I’m awaiting word from a pair of publishers about Drive the Cruel Winter Away.

I would happily have stayed with my publisher, but she’s sold out to someone larger (one of the publishers considering the new book). It’s a shame when that happens, having built up an excellent relationship, but she has her reasons, and I respect that. I was pleasantly surprised to receive interest from another publisher, so it’s a case of wait and see what happens, and whether one, or both, make offers on the book.

With this you’d have thought it should be no problem finding a literary agent. Instead it’s just as difficult as if I’d never been published. One, recommended by a fellow author (who also told her agent I’d be getting in touch) hasn’t even bothered to answer my e-mail. Another has my book but has yet to reply; I’ve been advised to give her a month.

All of this makes me greatly appreciate the non-fiction agent I had in America. She replied very promptly, and if she believed something was saleable it tended to sell in days. Fiction is a different beast, I understand that, and that agents can be overwhelmed with submissions. However, you might imagine a record of 30 non fiction books, countless articles, one novel, and 16 years of making a living as a writer (not to mention the interest from two publishers on the second novel) might carry a little clout. Apparently not. The attitudes I’ve had have been decidedly offhand.

Ah well, such is life, it seems. There might well be a good agent out there who’s truly interested in working with someone.

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