April and my weekly task…

There is a distinction between carpet bombing and precision targeting… but you have to keep firing.

5 Year Writing Goal: April update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published.

For those who have been following my progress, you will know I have finished my novel, listened to feedback, re-written it and re-edited the manuscript, changed the beginning (three times) and made many major and minor adjustments.

It’s over two months ago I sent the first three chapters off to an agent with whom I had a tenuous connection. As yet, no word. This is not unusual.

There is a distinction between carpet bombing and precision targeting, but it is reasonable to have more than one missile in the air at a time. This month I’ve decided to get organised with my submission process.

So, my weekend ritual goes like this: I thumb through the Writers and Artists Yearbook, choose a new agency, and select a single agent within that agency. Then I look them up on the internet and check their details. I’m looking for agents who are:

  • taking on new clients,
  • interested in historical fiction,
  • represent authors who write the type of books that appeal to me,
  • who accept email submissions (there are still a few who don’t!),
  • and whose bio and online profile makes them sound personable and approachable.

Next I check their requirements: which vary from agency to agency and can even vary between agents in the same agency. What do they want in the covering letter? What length synopsis? Do they ask for the first three chapters? Or the first 10,000 words?

Finally, I put together a covering letter which refers to that agent directly by name and explains, briefly, why I have chosen to write to him or her.

Sounds easy, but it takes me hours to do all this. And I find it very stressful. My book is like a new baby, and I am careful about who I might hand it over to. But I also know that most of its potential parents will reject it.

Anyway, here is my tally:
Agents approached so far = 3
Requests for whole manuscript = 0
Rejections so far = 0

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

11 thoughts on “April and my weekly task…”

  1. Sounds like you’re working hard. And that level of research will not only increase your chances of success, but the agents will notice, and be impressed by it. Best of luck.


  2. I’ve heard that the reverse psychology approach is helpful: Set a goal to get 50 rejections. Then when they come in, you’ll be pleased to be reaching your goal! And when the acceptance comes in with Publisher # 48, you’ll be over the moon that it came “so quickly.”


    1. What a great idea! Certainly I’m going to keep a tally. I keep thinking this: every rejection is in fact a success, because it shows I had the courage to submit. But, of course, every rejection is also painful.

      Liked by 1 person

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