My novel was finished in May and since then I have been trying to interest a literary agent. A submission went out to ten and there have been some delays / false starts but the last rejection came in yesterday. This time there was a difference. Their website stated that even if they do not want to work with an author they will provide a one page critique. This is what I was looking forward to with interest. At first I just got an email with “we feel that your writing would be stronger if you stripped back some of the adjectives and made more use of ‘negative space’. When I asked if this was the critique they explained that due to the number of submissions they had to change their website to say short critique but they did come back with a longer explanation.
Being the rejection magnet I am – literary agents and women – I was not surprised by the “no thanks” but this is the first time I have had some critique and I am struggling to know how to view this.
On the one hand – “Like we said, overall, we feel that the writing is strong but there is currently too much overt description in your prose and a stripping back of some of the adjectives and a simplification of some of the sentences would add greater strength and readability.”
And on the other – “I think your dialogue is very strong, it flows very well. I think overall (based on the submitted material and the synopsis) the book has a lot of potential. The story is intriguing and you are obviously good at putting a plot together.”
I think I need time to let this sink in and decide what to do.
We have had the new and now for the existing. My attack on Twitter has hit an impasse. When my books were first put on Amazon in 2012, I was advised to use Twitter as a marketing tool. There are a lot of writers doing this and they a lot better at this than me. They have marketing and digital skills – I cannot even create a book cover and had to use KDP’s library for the paperback versions, other than ‘Once Upon A Week’. In discussion with a couple of self published authors on Twitter, it is not just about having followers because that is not selling books, you still have to market. So 8 weeks in, 193 followers, 1357 tweets and 80.7K impressions, still no book sales. (Just in – one of the writers on Twitter has kindly purchased ‘Once Upon A Week’ to read with her daughter and is going to report back.)
I am, however, getting a bit of a reputation for my humour based on hashtag games and my punny responses to tweets. If I spot a possible pun I feel the need to put it out there. Darragh ‘The Menace’ Ennis has liked a couple – he collects bad jokes – although he may have tired of me tagging him in on them all by now. He also tweets regular fun facts. I already mentioned this on Twitter but I may as well end on a fun fact of my own as my usual humour is missing from this blog.
I was watching the final ‘Dalgleish’ on C5 on Friday. I watched all three two-parters although I could not understand why they were reworkings of those that the Roy Marsden series covered in the 80’s – Cover Her Face and The Black Tower. After it finished Hits of 1974 was on so I stayed up. I remember my brother’s first record was a K-Tel compilation and it must have been about that time, as many of the songs I remembered were on it, from Seasons in the Sun to Kung Fu Fighting. Little bits of factual information were flashed up for each one and this is where I got my fun fact from. I have not tried to corroborate it – not sure if I could.
Fun Fact: Who were the most successful UK act of 1974?
Drumroll please …
once upon a week