Have finished the ghostwriting type job I was invited to pitch for. I had to write 3 chapters on spec., about 9,000 words. Blithely thought I'd give it a week but it took 3 in the end with by no means any guarantee of work at the end of it. Still, done and sent. Direct, as my agent doesn't want to handle the unusual contract - if it should come to that. It sounds harsh but actually means that I don't pay the 15% on what won't be great earnings anyhow, and the company handling the project are, in a way, acting like agents already. This means I'll deal with them direct and if it comes off will get any contract checked over by the Society of Authors. I'm not a member any more as I can't afford subs, but if it should come to it I will re-join. Their lawyer in residence is just one of their valuable services. Anybody who gets offered a book contract who doesn't have an agent can join and then seek their advice before signing. Must seek their advice before signing anything.
The verdict also came in from my agent's children's reader on the fantasy novel that I've been writing for the past year whilst trying to stay afloat at the bank. It's a no. One opinion of course, and the first time it's been sent out, but apparently I need to comply with the conventions of the genre to a greater degree and there were other issues, like the age of the children.
Then the third no in the same email was to my non-fiction idea. She liked it but she's already working on a similar project and so can't represent me. She suggested I look for another agent. When I first read this I was heartbroken, but, actually it makes sense. She was generous enough to tell me that the idea has legs. I must act quickly and that's what I'm doing now, concentrating on selling myself again, trying to get somewhere.
Hey, one thing though, there seems to have been some sort of consensus between UK agents since I was last on the hunt and now most of them have caught up with the USA and ask for submissions by e-mail rather than post. This makes it all much much easier. Another good thing is that my own agent is keeping me on her books and will only sign me off when I find a new agent. So if the non-fiction comes to nothing I can start on one of the new fiction ideas I've been resisting and see if she likes any of those.
I sent one non-fiction query today, my first, to another dream-agent type. At the suggestion of a writer friend I shamelessly namedropped the Famous Author Next Door, as in I am poor struggling author living right next to London residence of ... gaah!, who would, I am sure, find some way of sueing me if she knew I'd taken her name... Except she's barely ever there anyway.
Am leaving off sending out the children's book again for the moment. Will keep it as my fantasy project, to be finished and lovingly polished up.
There. That's me. Nobody ever said it would be easy!
Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.