I recall writing in my last post about my pursuit of publication that I had written to an agency who requested my full manuscript which I worked on over the summer. They finally got back to me about three weeks ago, and while they were very positive in their feedback, the agent, Hanna, suggested some minor changes to the plot and urged me to resubmit the novel. I was initially reluctant to do it, since the changes would be quite annoying to implement and I was (and still am) very nearly done with my latest manuscript, a work with which I am infinitely happier. My family and friends, however, recommended I resubmit the manuscript with the changes Hanna had suggested. After all, she had near enough stated outright that if I complied with her suggestions the agency would take me on.
So I did it, working slavishly for three days editing the manuscript and making sure I changed everything that Hanna said I should. This is where the frustration started. You or I would probably think that the simplest thing to do would be to send it straight back to Hanna saying ‘How-de-do, this has been edited in the ways in which you suggested, enjoy’. But no, I had to resubmit it as though they’d never seen the novel before in their lives. Today I had a reply from another agent, Zoe, who said she didn’t like it.
I wouldn’t mind that so much if the reason she’d given hadn’t been so totally stupid. I’ll not bore you with the plot, but in layman’s terms a new virus strain wipes out a large portion of the global population. Simplicity in itself. Zoe didn’t like the way in which I never said why the characters are naturally immune to the virus. I honestly didn’t think I needed to. I’d have thought the fact that every different person has a different body chemistry is so blindingly obvious, that when the characters conclude they have a natural immunity, that would be that. It annoys me because that was the only stumbling block, and there are series such as The Walking Dead wherein you never find out why the fuck zombies have appeared, and apparently nor are we likely to. So yeah, Zoe. Fuck you in the neck. I’d also hoped that since Hanna had been the one with whom I’d had so much correspondence, common sense would have dictated that my new and improved manuscript would have found its way back to her. Apparently not.
(In all honesty, though, I’m still quite pleased. At the moment I’m reading a lot of writers’ forums for wannabe authors, and a lot of them have submitted dozens of manuscripts over the years and never even had a reply from an agent, so it could be going a lot worse.)
I can see why a lot of people don’t have time for agents and traditional publishing, though I’ll stick with them for submitting my newest manuscript. When I was at Heathrow airport the other day, I looked around the books on sale in Waterstone’s, and absolutely nothing took my fancy. Not even a little. On the other hand, I read about some of these writers on the forums who have very original ideas for novels that I would buy in a heartbeat. But self-publishing is a nightmare, because Amazon and iTunes etc. are just so clogged full of shit that nobody is ever going to read; any moron can publish a book with them, and they don’t bother filtering the trash from the genuinely original.
But I’m optimistic, because my latest work stands a much better chance…I hope. The only thing is it’s very controversial. I can’t put the details down here because (if it ever gets that far) I’ll have to publish it under a pseudonym anyway. Still, I’d like opinions on my latest idea, so if you’re interested, email me at email@example.com and let’s talk. Or don’t.