Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Monday, Monday

Yesterday was a big day for me. It was the deadline to hand-in my dissertation for my MA, 16,000+ words that have been polished to death, soft-bound, and then gently prised out of my hands by the kind admissions staff at the University of Manchester. Luckily I bumped into a friend at the admissions office and we retreated to the nearest cafe to recover from our ordeal. We've spent two years of our lives dedicated to language and literature and stories, and now it's over. It's been hard work, one of the hardest things I've done, but also incredibly rewarding. I'm so glad I did it. Then we rolled to the pub to meet others from our course as they stumbled in, all in various states of shock. I met someone who wrote a literature review that morning.

My friend is being published by the excellent independent publishers Salt Publishing in Manchester and we had a long chat about how she found her agent and publisher. The Museum of Atheism by Laura Ellen Joyce comes out next June, so exciting!

While in the pub, an agent rang me. It was fantastic. I was all over the place with excitement as she told me how much she liked my writing and enjoyed the exert from my novel. I was practically melting into the floor. Unfortunately, it's too literary for her, and not the sort of thing she deals with. It was a little gutting, but we had a great conversation about what I should next and what to do when working with a publisher. There's so much to be aware of that I'd forgotten. Copyright, intellectual property, who owns what, etc. She also suggested I join the Society of Authors, as for a small fee each year they can offer advice on contracts, working with publishers and agents. It was so thoughtful of her to call and great to actually talk to someone in the industry about my novel.

So now I'm wondering what to do next re: agents and publishers. I still have interest from a publishers but it seems finding an agent to represent you is harder. Odd but not unusual. There are writers out there who work directly with publishers.

I also had a job offer for a real, full-time, paid role, which I celebrated with a beer. And then a whiskey. And then suddenly it was 7am. The alcohol may be the reason why I've signed up to take part in this year's NaNoWriMo. This may or may not be a mistake. As mentioned before, I have an idea and a protagonist, and that's it.

Student life is over. My MA is done.


  1. Well done, sounds like you've had some really positive feedback from professionals. Onward and upward. :)

  2. Yeah, I've been surprised how generally nice and helpful people have been. It's quite encouraging, especially when agents ring to reject you! At least they like my writing. Feels as though I'm getting closer, but then who knows?

  3. Congrats on completing the MA. Although I've yet to get a novel published, the Society of Authors has been brilliant at reviewing contracts for me and offering sagely advice.