Big BIG news

Many of you will be aware that I have been trying to get an agent for my books on and off for ages. Periods of enthusiasm have been followed by long periods of resignation and wondering what’s the point. I have astonished myself at the lack of response I was capable of generating, the great (to my mind) stories that didn’t even elicit a ‘thanks but no thanks’ reply. I was beginning to take a sort of masochistic pride in filing away yet another ‘no response’ or ‘form rejection’.

Last week I made a (very short) list of UK agents who might possibly be interested. I’d asked for your help in pinpointing what was so off-putting in the first ten pages, made a few changes then sent off my query package of 50 pages and a synopsis.

Result: I have an agent! Straight off the bat. And a pretty good agent tooβ€”Juliet Mushens no less!

I am more than thrilledβ€”shell-shocked is a better way of describing it. Now there is a chance that my favourite book and its sequels will find a decent publisher. I’m not cut out for self-publishing. You need a lot of self-confidence, a lot of time, and a fair bit of spare cash to throw at it and I don’t have any of those. This is what I have been hoping for for years. Dreams do come true. I’ve had more than my fair share now.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

161 thoughts on “Big BIG news”

      1. I did, but you can work as hard as you like, if you don’t hit the right person at the right time, nothing will happen. Luck is important too.

      2. I guess that is true!!!! I need to work on my first draft, then I need to decide if I’m going the agent way or self…

      3. Depends on lots of personal things. Everyone’s different. I know I couldn’t deal with the leg work involved in self-publishing, and it’s a financial commitment too.

      4. There is that… which is why Im getting reader feedback now so I can improve it before attempting to send it off!

      5. About the same for me. Mind you, it was when I was on maternity leave for number three and I’ve had two more kids since then and moved four times so I’ve had other things on my mind!

      6. The definition of β€˜luck’ according to Seneca is the moment that preparation and opportunity converge – you have done both to perfection.

      1. I mean last Sunday. She asked for the ms on Friday, I sent it Saturday and she offered rep Sunday. It was a sort of whirlwind of unbelief.

      2. On Sunday I was in deep shock, expecting the email to disappear. I waited to speak to her on Tuesday before accepting that it was really happening, then left it another day to sink in.

  1. I am so delighted for you, I am so pleased that all your hard work and perceverence has paid off. I am doing a jig for you right now. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

    1. Cheers Joy πŸ™‚ It wasn’t the agent who sparked my final burst of revision who offered rep. She wasn’t interested at all. This is a UK agent who read the first 50 pages straight away on Friday night, asked for the whole ms on Saturday, read it overnight and offered rep on Sunday! You can’t get much more enthusiastic than that!

      1. Right, that must be the same one you mentioned to me in one of your comment sections. So exciting, to get such a positive and fast turn around!

      2. Yes, I don’t think there was anything I could have done with that story that would have suited the agents who had rejected it on the strength of the first five or ten pages. Exciting isn’t the word!

    1. Thank you! Your words were a real morale boost you know. I seriously doubted that the story was any good. It all went so quickly I never had time to send you the revised version of the opening. I’d been expecting a wait of a couple of months for a reply and in the end it was only a few hours πŸ™‚

  2. Heartfelt congratulations!! A South African golf player once said: the harder one works the luckier one gets! I know of an author, Robert Pirzig who wrote ‘The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ – sent his manuscript to over a 100 publishers and when it was finally accepted it became a world best seller! So …!! πŸ™‚

      1. We furnished a big house with stuff inherited from parents, bought on the flea market or found abandoned by the side of the road. We furnished this house with stuff from the cellar of the old house and have an attic bursting with enough furniture to furnish a couple of normal sized houses. Tables and chairs aren’t the problem it’s the kind of things people in 1800 didn’t worry about like bathrooms, electricity and plumbing in the kitchen.

  3. I can’t tell you how truly delighted I am for you, Jane. I’m sitting typing, filling up with sheer joy on your behalf! You and I have known each other virtually for a few years now and I’ve always been impressed by the quality and assurance of your writing, astonished and downhearted that a talented writer such as yourself couldn’t make headway down the conventional publishing route. I’ve felt your frustration at the lack of interest, at how difficult it’s been to make progress as a self published author.
    Now it’s all happening. You’re another step closer to your dream and well deserved too.
    Honestly, Jane, you’ve made my day with your news. Wishing you every success and be assured, I’ll be snapping up copies of your books when you find a publisher x

    1. And I am getting choked up by all the kind and sincerely pleased messages I’m getting. It’s humbling, it really is.
      It’s so dispiriting to be ignored. I think that’s the worst thing, far worse than ‘I liked this a lot but…’ I could have lived with that and worked on the points that were causing problems but I never got more than silence until that one agent who rejected it but said ‘I liked it but…’ and offered to look at the firs ten pages again when I’d revised them.
      Ten pages! I ought to have been able to do that, or so I thought. The revised pages got silence for two months until I nudged then it was the standard ‘not for me’ message. That was like a kick in the gut.
      Last week I decided that this was the final shot, and it turned out to be the right tack to take. UK, serious, well-thought of and successful agents. It worked! All I can say is it’s true, you do only need one agent to love your work, but you have to find her/him. It can take an age, and the one who falls in love with your book might be an agent who has no clout. I really think I’ve got lucky! Thanks so much for being supportive and encouraging; and just bear in mind that if I can do it, so can you, and I do NOT believe in miracles πŸ™‚

      1. The fact they came back to you so quickly shows how enthusiastic they are about your writing. I love to hear people’s good news – especially when they’re talented people! I’m sure your career will go from strength to strength. Enjoy every minute

      2. I got another rejection yesterday from a small publisher. I’d forgotten I’d even subbed to themβ€”it was back in October last year. But another agent, who had only just been forwarded my mail to let her know another agent had asked for the full, said she was interested. Nothing succeeds like success…

      3. Two interested agents in less than a week? That’s just so wonderful! Will you speak to the second one or are you content the first fits you?

      4. didn’t have any hesitation accepting the first offer. She’s very well respected, I have friends who’ve met her and said how nice and friendly she was, and she sells books. But the clincher was how enthusiastic she was about the story. It’s what I’d been waiting to here, not the accents are off-putting, or the pov is confusing or the language is difficult. It isn’t a book for early readers so I expect a minimum of reading skills! She really gets the story and I think she can find a good home for it.

      5. That sounds amazing! To have someone who feels passionately about your work – that’s the main thing. Will you manage to meet up with her at some point? Tricky for you

      6. This is one of the aspects that I’m nervous about. Obviously I’m dreaming big now and thinking of book signings and that kind of stuff πŸ™‚ How on earth am I going to manage it? Hope I get a big fat advance…

      7. It will be extra tricky for you – everything is so London centric anyway, anyone outside the capital will be expected to travel. Hopefully you won’t be expected to travel back too much – thank goodness for emails and Skype! πŸ™‚

      8. If I was in England it would be feasible, but I’m two hour’s drive from the nearest airport and it isn’t as if I could pop over and back in an afternoon. Oh well, she knows all that. As you say, there’s always skype πŸ™‚

  4. All comes right in the end for you as a writer – brilliant news and well deserved – you are such a fine wordsmith.

    1. Thank you for your support, Laura, it has meant so much to me. I don’t have a lot of self-confidence and when you top the 100 rejections mark even a big ego would start to ask questions. It pays to stick at it, is all I can say πŸ™‚

      1. Proves you believed enough in your writing not to throw in the towel – that takes guts – and patience -so the old clichΓ© about it being its own reward comes true. Bravo!

      2. Thank you, Laura πŸ™‚ It was beginning to feel more like a millstone than a reward. The unread and unwanted manuscripts were piling up and I was still writing more. I started yet another a couple of months ago. I was very excited about the story, had it all planned out and just abandonned it. To add another manuscript to the pile just didn’t seem worth it. So I gave the agent thing one last try instead. It worked!

  5. Wonderful!!! Your writing deserves a larger audience (not that those of us at WordPress don’t appreciate our good luck to have it every day…) Yay!!! (K)

    1. It is wonderful news and I’m still on cloud nine. It’s been thanks to all my WordPress friends I’ve stuck at it so long, knowing that you at least will give me encouragement and support rather than blank indifference.

  6. JANE! Everything has already been said by the time I come to this … yet I feel I must add both my congratulations from the depths of my soul as well as how proud I am of you and how much you inspire others with your work-ethic and your excellent talent as a writer. Now I know everything is going to go your way and you will get all that you deserve. I can honesty say many writers I read are not all that and a bag of chips and I wonder how they got an agent. You are one of very few whom I am not at all surprised got an agent because you are QUALITY girl and I hope you won’t forget your friends on the way up – how happy I am for you – I can only imagine how you are feeling and you really, really deserve this. Proof that all your hard work (and your natural talent) pays off – oh well done well done! Very, very proud of you friend.

    1. Thank you, Candice! I am so excited! Apprehensive too. I’ve lived under a stone too long. Whatever happens next, I’m going to have to come out. And unless I get hyper-busy, I’ll still hang around on WP πŸ™‚

      1. Oh I totally understand about the apprehension – but I do believe you will shine far more than you even know you will because I see all that you are and more. Do what you must, put yourself first and let your work get out there and appreciated the way it should be.

  7. That is truly wonderful news, Jane. I’m so happy for you. You deserve this! You’re a wonderful writer.

      1. I don’t think it’s luck at all. It’s hard work and talent that got you where you are right now.

      2. If you only knew the number of agents I’ve queried and the lack of response! They say it only takes one, and you have to keep looking for the one who loves your story. But when 100 agents don’t even get past the first few pages, you begin to think they’re right, and the one who loves it is going to be very wrong. I’m just thanking my lucky star that those 99 agents didn’t like it, because I’m sure the one who did is going to be this book’s best champion.

  8. I can’t tell you how delighted I am. I knew knew knew you would succeed and you will now go from strength to strength with Julia to guide you. Thrilled doesn’t cover it and I send you my heartfelt congratulations and love at the start of this most coveted of new chapters in your life!

    As an aside, I have been absent for several weeks whilst I effected a rather major move. Now that I am settled it is a pleasure to be able to dip back into the blog-pool and over time I will catch up with all I have missed. And of course, write some of my own too, thought that may be construed as a threat rather than a delight πŸ˜‰

    1. I wondered why you’d gone quiet. I’m looking forward to hearing how the move went…and where πŸ™‚ I’m so thrilled I can’t tell you, but I imagine you can guess. You had more faith in me than I did (I received another rejection last week that I’d written off when we passed the six month mark) faith in my writing being saleable. I do hope we don’t all come a cropper…

      1. No negative thoughts allowed. I consider it my duty and delight to be your sideline cheerleader. You have real talent, on occasions a gift (I do not use those words lightly) and you deserve all the success x

      1. Well maybe it might be tough at the start but even if your first book doesn’t sell well it’s a great accomplishment! And you can definitely build and learn a lot from there. πŸ™‚

      2. I already have books out there, self-published and traditionally published, that don’t sell well, but this series is going to a proper serious publisher (I hope!) and will sell well. Just watch this space πŸ™‚

      3. Wow! I am very glad for you then Jane! πŸ™‚ you are going to do awesome! Yep I will definitely watch out for any more great news. πŸ˜€

      4. Yes! It’s great πŸ‘πŸ½ it will go well I am sure. πŸ™‚ Do you have any social media platform to follow you? Instagram or other. πŸ™‚

      5. I don’t have instagram because I hate using my phone. I have twitter and FB and Goodreads but don’t use any of them. No time. I suppose I’m going to have to learn to make time.

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