I started writing my novel, 'Secrets are not for telling', in September 2014. It started life as 'Holding on', mushroomed into 'A woman like Doli', and within the last year, finally metamorphosed into 'Secrets are not for telling.' Four days ago, I put the last full-stop on what I consider to be a good complete draft.
At first, I felt a sense of light satisfaction and achievement. Then I found myself fighting off urges to recall my manuscript from the two generous, and keen, beta readers I have enlisted to give me feedback.
Strangely enough, the emotions around parting with my manuscript, feel very much like when I left my children at nursery for the first time.
And after four days, since closing the file on my computer and the cover on the hard copy, I still have moments when my mind travels into the pages and I start thinking about possible tweets. Wonder what the beta readers are making of it? Then I have to force myself to put those thoughts to bed along with the manuscript. I’ll need to address it with fresh eyes in a few weeks.
I have turned my attention to the stage I’ll need to be at after polishing up the manuscript. So I've been researching potential literary agents. That piece of research has led me to recognising just how many writers and interesting books there are out there that I’ve never heard of and, most probably couldn’t get to read in a life time, even if I wanted to. It’s like lifting a lid on an amazing parallel world. Exciting, but scary.
As well as working on the list of potential agents, I have to knuckle down to polishing up my synopsis and to write that all important query letter, which, I understand, will make or break an agent’s decision to represent me. The only thing that will save me from rejection, I am led to understand, if my query letter fails me, is the agent deciding that my novel packs that punch - has the potential to be a best seller. No pressure, eh?
Way back in January 2014, after attending a literary event called the State of Black Publishing in the UK, I wrote a blog post: The Publishing Maze which mentioned concerns raised at the event around opportunities for black writers to get published, who the gate keepers in publishing are and whether the small number of black publishers in the UK hampered opportunities for black writers.
It's interesting that in my search to find literary agents in the UK, who may be interested in representing me, out of a list of 134, I only came across two who were black.
Mmm... possible future blog post...?
For now, I must move towards gaining a better understanding of how the publishing world works and try to see my ‘baby’, 'Secrets are not for telling', as a 'product' and not just a story that will provoke thought, bring pleasure and stir emotions.