This is my second blog post about my journey to publication, taken from my diary entries. If you missed the first part about how how I got an agent, you can read it here.
11th May 2013: I’m about half way through the revisions that Jane [Jane Finigan, my agent at Lutyens & Rubinstein] sent me. I’d already forgotten how hard it is to write new words and I have to write quite a lot of new words. Nothing too major really, but it still takes time and creating new words is painful.
27th May 2013: I sent my first round of revisions to Jane on a Thursday and she replied that day that she would look at them and get back to me ‘shortly’. What does shortly mean? A couple of hours or a couple of days? Email checking in overdrive.
In order to keep busy I’ve been thinking about a new book. I should write some notes, especially as we get closer to submitting Our Endless Numbered Days to publishers who might I suppose, ask what I’m working on now. Or would ‘checking my in-box’ be a suitable answer?
Jane got back to me the following Friday. It was like having had a couple of dates with someone, believing that you got on well with them and then not hearing back for ages. But I resisted the urge to email her in a needy voice with, ‘don’t you love me anymore?’.
She liked everything I’d done, but had some more comments for me.
19th June 2013: In the past three weeks Jane and I have gone through three or four rounds of amendments, each time getting more and more minor. There was some discussion about whether I should write a prologue or not. I decided not to, but instead put a new paragraph in the first chapter about eating some fish eyes, but in the end we both decided it was too disgusting, so I took it out. So, after a month and a week, we got to a stage finally where we agreed it was ready to go. Not very long really – I understand that revisions from agents can sometimes take much longer.
Yesterday Jane sent through a list of publishers she’s going to send my novel out to. I can’t wait for it to go. I had no idea I was such an impatient person. I keep reminding myself that getting an agent is no guarantee that a book will be published. It might not happen. It might not happen.
And, in less than a month Tim and I are getting married. So much excitement.
27th June 2013: Yesterday Jane sent Our Endless Numbered Days out to her list of editors. She wrote me a lovely email to say that it had gone, and she was keeping her fingers and toes crossed.
I spoke to her on the phone on Tuesday and she explained the process, although it was as I had imagined. Any no’s will come in first. If an editor likes it they might communicate that to Jane and say don’t do anything with anyone else before talking to me, or they might just show it to their editorial team and if they like it, then take it to an acquisitions meeting. That will have to be done before an offer is made in any case.
She reiterated both on the phone and in her email about trying to stay patient and realising that this process takes a long time.
She said she would be in touch with any updates next week. So, for my own sanity, I have told myself that this means a week on Friday. And if I haven’t heard anything by then I’m still not allowed to email her.
28th June 2013: Friday night. India has gone off to her 6th form prom tonight. Henry has turned up for dinner, and Tim and I have had some wine and played Upwords (I won) and we were just packing up when my phone rang.
It was Jane. She sent Our Endless Numbered Days out on Wednesday and she’s already heard back from three editors who love it. But, there are no offers on the table, yet.
Then she said there was more good news. Because of the response they’d had from the UK editors, they’d sent it out to their foreign agents, and now people around Europe are reading it. And she said the editor in Italy had finished it, and would be making an offer.
Oh my god. I am very excited. I can’t really type or focus on stuff properly. Tim is cooking dinner, the lovely Tim who this wouldn’t have happened without, or as he said, it might have happened, but my children would be very dirty and thin.
The other day I was saying I was worried that I’ve said too much to too many people and if the book doesn’t get sold I will have to unsay it to everyone, so when Paul [my ex-husband] came round to drop Henry off, I practiced not telling him the news. Anyway, this isn’t really news; I haven’t had an offer.
1st July 2013: Received an email from Jane: The enthusiastic response to your book continues to grow and, to make the most of this momentum, I’ve asked editors to get their opening offers to me by Wednesday at 4pm.
Very much looking forward to being in touch on Wednesday afternoon but OF COURSE feel free to get in touch with any questions – I’m always at the end of the phone or email.
Wednesday 3rd July 2013
There is a line going through my head that I’m practicing a response for:
“I’m really sorry Claire, but we haven’t had any offers in.”
I can only do mindless work. I have spent the last hour and forty minutes filling in names on a database.
Jane phoned. We have an offer from Italy and three offers from UK publishers! I did a little scream in the office when I put the phone down and then told everyone. My book is going to be published.
Now we go to auction!
Our Endless Numbered Days will be published in the UK and commonwealth, US, Canada, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Israel and Turkey. It is available to pre-order now:
You can add it to your Goodreads ‘to read’ list here, and you can join my mailing list to receive updates and news, here.