Skip to main content

Notes to my former self...

So, here I go again, agent hunting. It's been about eighteen months since I was last in the querying trenches and about four years since I first subbed and realised I needed to write a few more of my million words to get there.

I have an earlier blog here, outlining the process of getting my agent. I'm not going to go into the hows and whys I'm seeking a new one. Suffice to say, it was amicable and fair, and that's the way things sometimes go.

But I wanted to stop at this stage and think. A rare activity for me. Last time I sought an agent, I took a lot out of myself. I made it matter too much. I would have doubled backwards to get one, done anything to the book. So much of my validation as a writer was tied up in someone saying I could write. A professional someone, who knew these things.

During those eighteen months, I've learned a lot about writing. I've had a publishing contract and worked on edits with Teresa Edgerton, and learned more in a few sentences than is normal in a year. I've had quite a bit of short stuff published. I've learned about covers and spoken to shops. I feel, now, honestly, like I am a writer. I make no apology for it, I'm not saying I'm a great writer, or that you'll like what I put out but I no longer feel that someone else telling me that has the same power.

Which means, this time, I'm fairly chilled out about querying. I have Abendau to keep me busy, I have more short stuff than I have time to, I have a new idea wanting out that I'm happily world building on. I can safely say, this time, if I get The Call it will not scare me senseless like last time, but be more of a moment to savour, to build on.

So, young me, come here. Here's what you shouldn't do:

Change what you've written. Hone it, yes, take editorial guidance of course. Strengthen it, for heaven's sake. But don't change the story, because it's what you created and each butterfly wing will move it further from that creation,

Rule out other options. There are small publishers. There is self publishing. Don't want one route so badly it obscures the others.

Scattergun agents. Go for someone who'll dig your stuff. Find someone who can rep it all. Take your time. Don't go just by how you get along, but put your business head on.

Be too quiet. If something matters, say it does. In my case, I nearly lost Abendau in my rush to reinvent myself, to become a different writer. And yet, when it comes down to it, space opera/fantasy mashing up is what I love most.

Mostly, though, I'd tell myself to be brave enough to believe. It's certainly what I hope to do this time: believe in me, in what I'm doing, in what I'm writing. And from there, all things will flow.


Inspiring, Jo. I totally get what you mean. Been there and felt this way myself once upon a time.
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thank you. It must be the growing up.... Tis hard. :)
Kerry Buchanan said…
Very helpful advice. Love your blogs, Jo x
Joanne Zebedee said…
Thanks, Kerry! It always aatonishes me that anyone actually reads them. And means a load, too.
Joanne Zebedee said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Millymollymo said…
JO! You have been nominated (and rightly so!) for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. :D
(I have yet to come across the "My Blog Has Kept Other People Sane" ...but there is still time.)
Joanne Zebedee said…
Eeeee. Seriously? That's amazing and brilliant, especially on a day when the coldy-flu is making me feel slightly unbalanced. Does paracetamol fuelled happy dance. :)