A Sussex based blogger sharing a candid tale of 20-something humanness

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

The story of a story, so far

I first met my literary agent, Bryony, at a panel event I almost didn't go to back in 2016, and so here is the biggest lesson I've taken from this entire experience, and a note to self: take opportunities to be in the room with the right people. Show up, even if doing so scares you a bit. Even if doing so scares you a lot. Those are the moments that have the capacity to change things: to move your life forward. There is every chance I wouldn't be in this position now if I hadn't walked - solo and terrified - into a dazzling crowd of incredible, intelligent and through no fault of their own horrendously intimidating strangers that evening. I believed, whole-heartedly, that I wasn't good enough for them, and yet I went anyway. Perhaps the second lesson is that the world doesn't always see you how you see you.

Towards the end of the evening I overheard Bryony talking to somebody else behind me, and I heard her mention that she was a literary agent. Of course, as soon as I spotted she was on her own, I did the only thing a socially-awkward, three-Proseccos-deep woman would do, and spontaneously accosted her with what felt like a rather clumsy fictional book concept. Despite the fact I hadn't - still haven't - sussed how to end it, she said that she liked it. I got the train home convinced that she was just being polite and that I'd probably never hear from her again, but then she followed me on Twitter. Another important reminder for any aspiring author who might read this: literary agents don't express interest in your work unless they are actually interested in your work.

Bryony checked in now and again, letting me know that if I had any material ready she'd love to see it. I didn't, for some time, but she kept me on her radar. She believed. As much to my surprise as hers, it wasn't the fictional manuscript that I sent to her two years later, but a proposal for a work of non-fiction. She messaged back the next day to say that she liked it, and she invited me to have coffee.

Bryony is smart and tenacious and passionate and kind, and when I sat across from her in Le Pain Quotidien at Southbank, her excitement about my project gave me the confidence to be excited too. I almost cried when she placed a contract on the table between us and asked if she could formally represent me at Diamond Khan and Woods Literary Agency. On April 16th, after over a year of polishing a 10,000 word sample of the book - with Bryony's endless support, critique and suggestions that I 'might be being a little melodramatic here, here and here' - I was finally announced as a client and my work was formally submitted to editors at some of the biggest publishing houses in the UK.

It's a strange old time now. I'm doing all to convince myself that no, I'm not waiting. I'm going to work each day and I'm planning a new website and I'm trying to find the dress to wear to a Santorini wedding this August. I'm practicing yoga and I'm binge-reading books and I'm walking my dog once more than usual. Because I'm not waiting. Life goes on. The big thing happens - that moment you've worked your whole life towards - and then life goes on. The dishwasher still needs loading, and the dog still needs walking.

In truth, I check my emails at least ten times a day at the moment. Bryony's is the only name I am looking for. She said that she will be in touch as soon as there are developments - as soon as there is even a smidgen of news to share - but she also said that this may take some time. It's been seven weeks. I know that because I am counting. I know that because patience has never come easily to me, and my goodness, while this wait in particular is a both a thrill and a privilege, it is too a huge test. I am busy, but I am waiting and I am waiting and I am waiting. My work - the story I so fiercely believe needs to be told - is in the hands of people who have the authority to make that happen.

I so hope you get to read it.

1 comment

  1. You are one of my favourite bloggers because I find your words so mesmerising! I have every faith something good will come your way soon! Best of luck xx

    Lynsey || One More Slice


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