Wednesday, 5 June 2013


I went and had coffee with an agent on Monday.
I was so nervous, I developed a ticcy eyelid like Herbert Lom in the Pink Panther...

As I walked into reception, I was muttering, "Hi, I have an appointment with Rowan Lawton at eleven...Hi, I have an appointment with Rowan Lawton at eleven...Hi, I have an appointment with Rowan Lawton at eleven..."
So that when one of the receptionists looked at me, I was ready and I came right out with it, cool as you like. "Hi, I have an appointment with Rowan Lawton at eleven."
Only then she said, "And your name is?"
And I looked at her like this...

Nope, no idea. Hadn't been rehearsing that one.

Anyhow, Rowan Lawton was at home with a migraine that day, so I had coffee with Liane-Louise Smith, who is currently building a list of her own at FurnissLawton.
It was interesting - and slightly trippy in my state of winky-eyed nervousness - to be talking to a real live agent.
Liane was very charming, funny and chatty - not a bit like the stony-faced gatekeeper of internet-legend - and she said lots of lovely things about my book which made me look like this...

Because I think it'll be a while before I can take any of it in properly.
To reward me for all my hard work and efficiency in the editing process, Liane has given me a ton of fresh editing suggestions. And after that, will come the line-edits. Then, if she and Rowan find me a publisher, they'll probably put me in touch with an editor to - um - work with on some more edits. 

She mentioned showing it to some publishers around October. This is a process which would begin with her dropping hints about an exiting debut by a new YA author.
I actually started to say, "Ooh, that sounds good - who's that?"
Before realising she was referring to me.

I think.
I didn't double-check.
I just sat there trying to look as much like an exciting new YA author as possible. Which on me, was like this...

One thing I've read over and over again about finding an agent is that it takes a really long time.
And it really does.
I submitted my manuscript by email to FurnissLawton at the beginning of November last year.
Then, right before Christmas they sent me a request for a full. I kept murmuring "Wow!" very quietly, but on a loop. "Wow!"
Towards the end of January I received an email asking whether I had submitted to any other agents. Which seemed promising and of course, started up all the "Wowing!" again.
In early February, Rowan and Liane offered to send me some editorial feedback and I said "Yes, please." And probably "Wow!"
At the beginning of March, I received pages of detailed editing suggestions which seemed totally OBVIOUS the moment I read them. (Although I knew perfectly well I'd never have figured any of them out without someone pointing me in the right direction.)
In early April, they sent me an email asking me how I was getting on with the second draft. My response was to stop noodling about with the ms and send it STRAIGHT back!
Then, early last month, they said they loved it and invited me over to Kew for coffee.
A mere seven months - not counting the year it took to write and all the editing still to do. (I've heard a rumour that the publishing process moves even more slowly!)

Look - actual agents!
But however long it takes, it's made me realise it really can be done - if you just keep writing!


  1. OMG how fabulous! Go you! Coffee with a real agent. Keep us posted on developments.

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I know you've done the coffee-with-an-agent-stage already, and there's a LONG way to go before an actual book comes into being. So I'm trying to keep my excitement within bounds. (Trying and failing, that is!)


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