For thirteen years I’ve been attempting to write fiction, from clumsy early attempts at fantasy novels, derivative and lacklustre, to the days when my interest in historical fiction grew and I started to put more heart into my work. Always there has been a ‘next step’ to look forward to. Originally the next step was to finish a book; then it was to successfully revise a book; then it was to produce something I would actually be happy to put my name to.
I didn’t reach this stage until 2011. I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I have an acute sense of when more work needs to be done. I put six months of hard work into polishing The Only Genuine Jones, and while I’m quite sure it is far from perfect, at last I have produced a novel that doesn’t make me cringe every time I re-read it.
The next step was to start contacting literary agents. I’ve been doing this for five months now and received several polite rejections, plus a little very welcome encouragement: conditions are tough in the fiction industry at present, and many agents are apologising for having to turn away work they might otherwise consider.
Yesterday I got further along the road to publication than ever before. It isn’t a big step and there is still a very long way to go, but at last an agent has contacted me to request the entire copy of my novel for examination. Now the task is to print the book off, package it up, and send my 119,000 words off to face genuine professional scrutiny for the very first time.
Triumph or disappointment lies ahead–but either way, I can be secure in the knowledge that I’m not an easily discouraged writer, and I will persevere in my quest for publication!