My ride so far on the rollercoaster that is publishing

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    I thought I would share my ride so far as many others have done before, in the hope it will be helpful the same way sharing their experience has been to me in the past.

    Back in 2016, my first ride was a short one. I had completed a novel which I decided to submit. I got a few very nice rejections praising the writing, but it never got further than that. So I dusted myself off the floor and joined the queue for another ride by writing a new novel.

    I wrote a first draft, polished it over 2 years including 11 drafts and various feedback from critique partner and beta readers. Next I wrote the dreaded synopsis and a cover letter.

    I have to admit I was nervous about submitting & getting on another ride again, so I set myself a simple goal of getting at least one request for the full manuscript. I came across a place called “I Am In Print” which offers 1-to-1 feedback sessions about your submission package with a selected number of agents. I booked one in early November, planning to use this as a sounding board to test my submission package. Met the agent in an online meeting room and to my surprise she loved the opening and asked if it was complete and if I could send her the full MS. I was shocked and delighted, sent her the full and decided to start submitting.

    By early January I had received three more requests for the full MS. I was ecstatic, top of the rollercoaster, thinking I had made it and surely at least one of them was bound to offer me representation. Nope, sharp plunge downwards and by early February, three agents out of the four passed on it. Nudged the fourth one (agent from 1-to-1) — no answer.

    I commiserated & talked things through with friends and decided that I didn’t pitch my MS correctly and gave agents the wrong expectations. So I rejigged my blurb, changed my comp titles, and also created an US query letter (my story takes places in the US so why not try US agents).

    Armed with my new material, I sent a couple of query letters to US agents and to my surprise the following day, one of them asked for the full MS. Next I went to one of those “Meet the agent” evening with an agent assistant from a boutique agency. I had a quick chat with him afterwards and he asked me to submit to him. Sent my submission and the following day he asked for the full just before the weekend. Having been burned once already, this time I was cautious and didn’t read anything into that.

    On the Monday, the assistant came back to me saying he and his boss loved it and wanted to meet me. Organised to meet for the following week and emboldened by their enthusiasm I decided to submit to one of my dream agents mentioning I had an agent interested.

    That’s when the ride got crazy. Dream agent came back on Wednesday asking for the full and on the same day the agent from the 1-to-1 back from November emailed me out of nowhere to say she had finally read it and wanted to meet so I arranged to meet her the following week too. The weekend before those two meetings — on the Sunday — got an email from dream agent. Opened it and there it was in capital letters — she LOVED the book and wanted to meet. Not going to lie, I welled up when I read that. We exchanged emails and agreed to meet.

    That following week I met all three agents, one offered me representation conditional on doing the edits first (but her edits would take the book in a complete different direction I intended). The other two (boutique agency and dream agent) offered me representation (no conditions). I had reached a peak in the ride and frankly getting dizzy by that stage.

    I mentioned to all three agents that I planned to take a few days to think the offers over. Spoke to my critique partner and a few other trusted friends…

    Yesterday I called my dream agent and accepted her offer of representation. Her edits are really in line with my vision of the book and would enhance it without changing it, and I like her plan on how she would pitch it and her comp titles for it. She convinced me I will be in good hands and that she will challenge me to get the most out of me.

    So that’s my ride so… Now ahead of me the “Submitting to Editors” ride… Oh dear!


    Wow, brilliant news, Elle. All I can say, apart from well done, is that with that much interest, your book must be top notch!


    Thanks @athelstone! Still going to have to do some editing before it’s reading to go out on sub. It was interesting to see how agents can see the same book really differently.


    Oh WOW @elle! That is such a brilliant ride – 3 agents offering rep, including your dream agent! That is truly the dream 🙂 And yes, it must be a ripper of a book. Having seen some of your writing, I’m not in the least surprised. CONGRATULATIONS!! Enjoy the giddiness 🙂


    I said on Twitter, but will say again here because this is worth double congratulations …. YAY!!! I’m so delighted for you. Not at all surprised that you’ve found yourself an agent, and cant’ wait to see where you go from here. 🙂


    Thanks @kazg and @raine! It’s really a dream come true to have got that far.

    Philippa East

    This is SO SO SO fantastic! And what a ride! Laure really has worked so hard for this, constantly writing and submitting short stories, going on courses, writing and re-writing her novel(s), and continually striving for her break. SO PROUD OF HER!


    More congratulations due for another Denizen. So pleased for you, Elle. – Jill


    @philippaeast – thanks for being my rock and keeping me sane so many times during this ride and for all your advice and challenging me in the best of way!

    – Thank you!


    That’s amazing Elle, well done. Thoroughly deserved, of course. I love your craft, your prose is amazing and you’re one of those writers where every word is perfectly chosen, so I look forward very much to the result!


    Thanks @daedalus – still hasn’t completed sunk in but I am lucky to have a great support system. That’s one of the things I love about the writing community.


    Absolutely brilliant news! So pleased for you 🙂


    I will say congratulations again on here, Laure! Absolutely brilliant. Well done!


    Just caught up with your news! Congratulations! Well done, Elle 🙂

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