My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Agencies and New Domain Name

   I've finally done it, I've finally got a domain name! The new blog URL is www.ablackbirdsepiphany.co.uk - don't worry, though, peachesandpebblesweekly.blogspot.com will still redirect here ^^ You don't need to learn a new URL :P

   But mostly, I wanted to let you all know that my Writers and Artists' Yearbook 2012 arrived yesterday, and I spent most of the day looking through it and trying to make sense of it all. I went through quite literally about 200 different agencies, and it boils down to ten who will happily take fantasy books. Needless to say, my chances don't look good. I put a cross through most of the agencies who either refuse to take fantasy, don't take fiction, and who aren't taking anyone new on; put a star next to the ten who will at least read my synopsis, and I've got about twenty question marks - places that accept fiction and either haven't expressed that they don't want fantasy, or don't have websites for me to check up on. I'm going to send my synopsis, cover letter and first three chapters (unless they express otherwise) to all questionmarks and asterisks. Some will accept them via email which means that I can get started much quicker, but writing a synopsis is hard.
   I've had to contact people to find out how to write it, and I'm still waiting to hear back. The book tells you how to write a summary and a synopsis, but it doesn't tell you whether the agents would want you to give all important information in the summary - twists, deaths, surprises etc - to determine whether they would be interested in reading the first three chapters or whether they'd waste their time, or whether they want you to write the synopsis as if to a genuine reader, not giving anything away so that they can see how good (or bad) the writer might be at delivering shocks, or whether the story is predictable.
   The cover letter seems to be the easy part. It's the synopsis I'm struggling with, and I can't decide if my book is dark fantasy or just...not light fantasy. Given the plot, I wouldn't say it's for kids - but at the same time I've seen books like the Northern Lights in the 12 year olds section - that book has a lot of science in it that a 12 year old surely can't grasp well enough to appreciate. But at the same time I don't want to be so...well, bigheaded I suppose to say that my book is for adults.
   It's for anyone who appreciates fantasy - magic, dragons, imaginary races and dark plots - be they male, female, old or young. It isn't crass. There was one swear word in there, and after my final revision, I took it out because it looked too silly. It's just a little bit violent really, that's all.

   Also I read some notes in there from Terry Pratchett about fantasy books, and what he's said has boosted my confidence. He outlined that fantasy is best written when it's been taken seriously - when science and reason is put where it shouldn't be thought of, and that a lot of people don't do it. I know that I did it. One of his examples was magic: where does it come from? Why doesn't everyone use it? These were among the first things I figured out. However, other things that were in the book has shaken my confidence, but I think that that is because I am a procrastinator and am, on some levels, afraid whenever things get real - sending out my chapters to agents is getting quite real. But at the same time, I've done the hardest part. Next comes, admittedly also a hard part, but one that I have little control over. I have full control over my writing. I do not have full control over other peoples' decisions.
   I expect rejection. Everyone gets it, even the most famous writers about today. The trick is to just not take it personally, and to understand that its their job to be critical, and that they get so many submissions it's impossible to accept them all - not to mention that the more writers/actors/playwrights etc that an agent supports, the less support they can give each individual. I expect, in fact, for it to take a few years for me to get an agent. If it takes less than two or three then I will be surprised. If it takes more, I'd say it was normal. But, I am going to continue to send my submissions, even after rejection. Sir Winston Churchill said "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."
   This is what I intend to uphold. While being passionate about my work, I also need to distance myself from it to allow it not to sting so much when someone says no. Or, when someone offers criticism, be it constructive or not. Otherwise I'll be knocked down after the first rejection, and likely not even bother to send anything out again for a while. The sooner I get the rejection out of the way, the sooner I can get to success.

   Either way, I will continue to update you all about my progress and my many, many rejections, and, of course, I'll let you know when I start sending out submissions.


ta ta x



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