As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. As soon as I could write words, I was creating stories and dreaming about seeing my name in print.
When I was seven or eight, I wrote a picture book about a herd of wild horses as a Christmas gift for my parents. I still distinctly remember a line in there about a mare who was jealous of another mare even though the stallion ‘hadn’t mated her yet’. (Bek, if you’re reading this, shut up)
I certainly never imagined that actually getting a book published would be such an involved and difficult process.
At around 12, I submitted my first unedited manuscript, ’32 Horse Street’, a story of a girl whose love for horses eventually takes her to an Olympic gold medal, in which I pretty much plagiarised swathes of International Velvet, to a publishing company. Oh, how I cringe now to imagine the slush pile reader’s bemused smile as she/he drafted the very lovely and encouraging rejection letter that I was so disappointed to receive.
Over the years, my writing has improved and, at the same time, my expectations have become more realistic. I’ve received many more rejection letters. I’ve had many disappointments along the way. But I’ve also received enough affirmations from people in the industry to keep going.
Today, I’ve taken a big step in my writing career. I’ve signed an agreement with a literary agent. Sophie Hamley from Cameron Creswell is going to attempt to find a publisher for my series. I have no illusions that this is a definite ride to publication. It’s difficult to get genre fiction published in Australia, in the traditional way at least. In two years’ time, I may be no closer to seeing that image of my book displayed in a bookstore which I’ve held in my mind for so long.
But, and this is a big but, I’ve now got formal endorsement from an industry expert that my writing is good enough to be out there. Someone who knows exactly the right publishers to approach to give me the best chance of being published. It’s often said that getting an agent can be even harder than getting a publishing contract.
(Although: this assertion is fairly retarded, considering that if this were the case, there would be no need for literary agents because everyone would be getting their own publishing deals. But I digress.)
And so. I am very excited to be working with Sophie, and I have my fingers crossed that she’ll be able to find a home for my books. In the meantime, I’ll continue to slug along on the third in the series. Because, frankly, I’m a writer, and even if I only write a paragraph a week, even if I never get published, I’m always going to be a writer.
I will end in a departure from my usual composure with an almighty WOOHOO!