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Monday, January 24, 2011

The chosen route

I once read that it pays to speak as much as possible about what it is we’re aiming for in life. Why? Because that way, it’s acknowledged and the positivity surrounding that particular aim, increases the likelihood of it becoming real. This is my reason for sitting down, to tell all, just how the manuscript/my baby/the script is dealing with the world at the moment. And I’ll answer the question: How is my baby coping with the attention it’s been receiving and what exactly has that attention been?

Well, 2 weeks ago, I started the ball rolling. I delivered the script to Diann – a lady who is my inspiration, my motivation, my teacher almost. She’s someone who plays one of the leading roles in the script and the third person I’ve physically handed the book over to (after my mam and Poolbeg publishers, in December).
This was a huge day for me, the 10th of Jan and handing it over, felt like a massive step. But as soon as my baby had left my hands, I started to feel liberated and I was filled with so much energy and excitement. I suddenly had the answers as to what road to take, so the ball would continue to roll! I knew how I was going to approach this crazy and complex world of books!

So the answers came, on that day, the road opened itself up to me, and everything was suddenly being pushed forward. What added to my eagerness and clarity was the fact that on that very same day, my visa for China came through! This confirmed that time was, and still is, so very precious and I needed to throw myself into the process… I only had 4 more weeks to establish as many connections and contacts as I could, so the script will eventually reach the shelves.

It was a magic day – still the 10th of Jan - and all the research I’d been doing since the start of this amazing new year, was proving to be serving its purpose – so to cut the chase, the road I’ve decided to take is to get myself an AGENT, instead of approaching the publishers myself or trying to self-publish. Yes yes yes!!! I felt, and still feel, so strongly that this is how I have to start.

The job of an AGENT is to approach the publishers FOR me, instead of me approaching them myself. With an AGENT I figure (even though I can never be 100% certain that it will work out this way) I’ll be freer to keep travelling – as they’ll be finding the publisher, they’ll be doing most of the editing, proofreading, marketing, promotion, sales (!!!!)… I know, I know… “Hold your horses there Niamh… Jumpin’ so far ahead of yourself right now!” I can’t help it though, and I reckon the further I jump the more likely I am to move through this process with as much energy as I can…

So, an AGENT is what I want! And since making this decision, I’ve approached... every single one here on this wee little green isle.. In total….6! haaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! This is hardly nothing by the way, because, in comparison, there are 100s in the UK alone!

I feel like I’m applying for a job. To approach them, I’m writing letters of enquiry, letters to introduce myself, letters to explain of my experiences, letters where I’m selling the book almost and summaries of the of story. Every AGENT asks for different explanations, different parts of the script and they all want to be approached differently. Some want to be called and then want to receive the material per post and others want you to send the whole lot, book and all, via email. And guess what… if you send it DIFFERENTLY than their specific requirements… they’ll disregard it and won’t take even a first glance at the script!! So harsh! Having said that, given the 200 manuscripts/babies every AGENT receives a WEEK.. they have to start the process of elimination somewhere…

I’ve realized that getting through the ‘front door’ is the most important step. However, once you’re inside, doesn’t automatically mean they approve of your work. The manuscript itself still hasn’t been read! They still need to agree to read it. And THEN it’s not until they’ve finished reading it (which could take anything from a month to 12 weeks), will they decide whether they accept your work or not. THEN… if and when (hahah…always be positive!!!) you DO get that far, it doesn’t mean to say that you, as an ‘aspiring writer’, choose to work with that particular AGENT, even though they’ve approved and want your book. Why? Because taking on an AGENT is like taking on a contract for life… And for a relationship to potentially go that far, there’s needs to be some form of foundation, bond, connection and “click” between you and the AGENT. I’m only learning that it’s not ONLY about what’s been written.

When an AGENT decides to assign a writer, it’s ALSO about the person. It’s like the book and the writer come as a package and the AGENT needs to see that the writer has the potential and to offer them the work they desire, when looking at the future. So, the writer needs to be promotable as a person and ‘needs’ to be someone who others will be interested in learning about. How would the writer be viewed in the eye of the public? And what future prospects does the writer offer the AGENT …? Because, at the end of the day, it’s the writer who will be earning their income and providing the profits.

It may appear to be so simple; writing a book and getting it on the shelves – especially if you consider the amount of books there are in this whole wide world!!!

I feel like I’m back at school! It’s amazing to learn so much and this procedure is bringing up avenues I never knew existed!

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