Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Editing for the agent

The meeting with the agent went extremely well - she is knowledgeable about all the bits I'm not, like publishers, marketing, what makes a book sell. So I have an agent. Now she's given me a lot of changes to make, some very minor and some rather larger. I've decided to take her advice to the max, giving me a new way to completely restructure the book. I now feel, with her help, that I really understand my book (which seems strange, since I came up with it!), through the eyes of someone who has read and enjoyed it. 

Editing is painful, and with each idea I feel some resistance but, after reflection, I have been able to either see her point of view and make the changes, or recognise the problem and come up with a new solution.

Psychologically, I'm aware of the atmosphere we are immersed in as writers - it seems impossible to actually write a book and get it published. So this process of getting closer seems unreal. That makes it difficult to take it seriously, but working for the agent, sticking to deadlines, producing work to order - that is familiar territory. That I can manage, I've even tidied up the book-room and my desk (I doubt if anyone would notice much difference but I know). 

Friday, 2 March 2012

It's official - I'm a runner up in Mslexia's first novel competition

I'm very excited here, to see my name in print with the magic words 'runner up'. The article also names, finally, the winner, whose poetry is amazing and I'm looking forward to reading her book. My own journey is moving on, I have a meeting with an agent organised and hope to report back next week. It seems to me that the publishing world is fairly terrifying and complex, and an agent would help enormously. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Meanwhile, writing A Baby's Bones (I finally came up with a working title) I have enjoyed doing historical research. I have a copy of the Earl of Leicester's household accounts (amazingly, not a best-seller), which I got second hand. What an amazing read, as they note down 'for your Lordship', every expense of running a 300 man household in five actual houses, as well as his quarters at court. Everything from 'a dozen fowles' to a coffin 'for the chylde of Rychard Pepper, steward in your service'. Fascinating stuff.

It did make me consider an issue of income. I don't make any money from my writing (yet) and it costs money. Books, printer paper and toner, even travel for research all add up. Not to mention, not actually bringing in a wage. I've started keeping receipts for books and stationery, but don't earn any money so I can't do anything with them. I was wondering if there was a book out there for authors about running a business as a writer? I would be grateful for any suggestions.