Friday, January 27, 2012

Sometimes it takes a really long time to get published

A few years ago I took on an author - let's code-name her AG. AG had written a manuscript that was in a genre that didn't usually appeal to me, and it needed at least another draft. But it was clear that she was hugely talented and I loved the story. She has a natural gift for storytelling and a great facility with language. So I sent out the novel to the publishers whom I thought would like it. One of them was very keen. This publisher asked for some rewrites, which AG cheerfully did in her ninth month of her first pregnancy, when she probably had other things on her mind. That publisher wasn't able to get the novel through acquisitions but later suggested that AG write another type of novel, which she did. (I should point out that AG is the sort of writer who is in love with the process of writing and drafting - not all writers are, and if you aren't that sort of writer it doesn't mean you're a better or worse writer than someone like AG.) That novel didn't get through the acquisitions process either.

More time passed. I kept an eye open for opportunities for AG, and she was very patient about it all. AG now has two children - and one publisher. Yes, at last, someone else loved the novel as much as I did and was able to convince their colleagues about it too.

I'm passing on this story to illustrate, mainly, the point that it can take a long time to find a publisher, even when there are plenty of people who love what you do. Also to afford the chance to talk about why I think AG ultimately did find a publisher. Firstly, there is (obviously) her skill as a writer. But she has some qualities apart from that which have helped. Both of us could have walked away from our professional relationship at the point at which the second novel didn't get up. I wouldn't have blamed her if she'd wanted to go, and I wouldn't have blamed myself if she went. But the simple fact is that she's a great client. She is professional and realistic. Not once has she fallen into the 'poor me' trap which can defeat many a talented writer - purely because, I reckon, it starts draining their energy towards a dangerous downwards spiral. She kept her chin up and she retained her love of writing. Some of this has to do with her personality; a lot of it has to do, I suspect, with decisions she has made along the way.

Now AG has a publisher who thinks she's fantastic. I think she's fantastic. I just wish I could tell you her name so that you'll find out how fantastic she is too. But that would give away my top-secret identity ...

No comments: