Snakes and ladders

Trying to get over being mugged by the Portuguese government, today brought another bombshell.  When I started this blog, I intended it to be an honest account of the path to publication, warts and all, and today a major wart has erupted:  my erstwhile agent has has decided that his enthusiasm for Flight Into Darkness has waned and he would rather that another agent push it.  Now, for those writers amongst you, you will know how difficult it is to scale the slippery ladder to publication but getting an agent is normally regarded as the penultimate rung.  Not so.  An agent takes a subjective view and is a human being like you and me….well, not quite like you and me but you know what I mean.  Like other human beings, they have the right to change their minds.  I had a wife like that once.  So, the slippery ladder to stardom is more like snakes and ladders and there are plenty of snakes out there!  So, I must now go back to where I was last July and start shotgunning the world again searching for a White Knight prepared to slay dragons for me.  I have asked for the help of the Writer’s Workshop (link on this blog: but I know that they normally avoid recommending agents.  They have a good database, however, so a lot of the sifting through the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook is done.

I wish I’d known how difficult this would be.  Learning to write took four years and six novels but I now realise that that’s just the start of it.  Getting an agent is perilously difficult and the market is dire.  For new writers it is even worse, approaching impossibility it seems, but I still see it as a challenge.  If I didn’t love writing, I would not have embarked on this, even though I accept that it is in large measure egotism that makes me want other people to read my stuff.  In many ways, writing is an end in itself and publication is the icing on the cake.  Most writers will admit to being better for the creative scribbling process, regardless of the outcome.  The whole process is rather addictive.

So, where do I stand?  The book has been through enough rewrites for me to regard it as finished.  I am pleased with it.  I like it.  It has been edited by a professional.  It is a ripping yarn that combines action and brainpower  coupled with a modern setting and a political premise that is original and that I have never seen elsewhere.  It is a novel of its time – that is, right now.  It is filmic.  It has rather a lot going for it, in my less-than-humble opinion.  OK, that’s the egotism out of the way.  Time to eat humble pie.  The search for another agent begins tomorrow.  No, today.

I wrote earlier that I wish I’d known how difficult this would be but, in all honesty, it wouldn’t have changed anything because writing is fun and creative. 

Knowing the difficulties would actually have made no difference at all.


3 Responses to Snakes and ladders

  1. Naomi says:

    So sorry that you’ve hit the ‘agent mucking about encouraging you and then changing his mind’ time. I had this with book 2 – for a year she encouraged me and then the brusque let down after all the changes had been incorporated that she had requested, not to mention Simon & Schuster who had requested book 1, encouraged me that they would take it on and then after 18 months gave me the brush off!!! Courage, mon brave, take a look at US agents too perhaps?

  2. Naomi says:

    had another though, check the publishers and find out what their submission guidelines are perhaps?

  3. rogerjhardy says:

    Hi Naomi,

    It’s very difficult sending direct to publishers as they normally only deal with agents. I’ve tried it never even got an acknowledgement. I still want to try the UK route so the search for a new agent commences…..ah me.

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