Out in the Cold

I’ll make it short and sweet.
She didn’t like it. Or at least, not enough to overcome its fatal flaw.
I knew there was trouble when two weeks had passed and no word. And then three. And then four.
I nudged her ar four, and got the encouraging reply that the agency was moving office. An excellent excuse, so I continued to wait.. The ants by this time had stopped scurrying in the pit of my stomach. I already knew the answer.
She was quite ploite about it. Made some comments about this or that, and then, at the end: “You do realise, don’t you, that your publisher is not going to be pleased at the Guyana location.”
I wrote her back:
“I knew. I took the risk anyway. Please send it in.”
She did.
The waiitng began anew.
At about the three-week-mark I got a brief note from Agent saying that Editor was a third of the way through and thought my writing was better than ever.
But “good writing” never really set me on fire. What about my story? Wasn’t THAT great? That’s what I wanted to hear.
Two months in I began to get restless.
Why should I give them this great story anyway? They hadn’t treated me well; they didn’t trust me to write a good book. They tried to manipulate me as a writer. They subjugated my creativity, my writer’s instinct, to the market.
I wanted a new publisher.
I broached the subject with my agent; she said it wasn’t a good idea; for several reasons. And anyway, it was an option book. I had to wait it out.
I began to hope for a rejection, just so I could find that great new pubisher that would recognise my genius.
The option period passed; the very next day I wrote my agent and asked her to start looking for a new publisher.
That’s when the rejection came.
It wasn’t the book itself.
It was the fact that Guyana was a larger-than-life-character in it.
Well, that had been my intention, hadn’t it?
Feeling very cocky, I asked my agent to find me a new publisher.
She said there was no point.
“They will all ask why you’re moving away from HarperCollins and when they know you’ve been rejected for your option book they won’t want you.They’ll think of you as a failure. Nobody wants a failure. Nobody is going to want this book.”
Well, thank you very much, dear agent!
I’ll show you!
If she wans’t prepared to shop Last of the Sugar Gods then I’d find an agent who would.
I wrote her a polite but firm and yet passionate letter, thanking her for all she’d done for me to date (which was a lot – she had been the best agent up tp now) but letting her know that the time had come to part company.
So there I was.
No publisher.
No agent.
All on my own again.
And strangely exhilerated. It felt good to be back at the beginning.


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