Blogging, Writing

BritMums live 2012 – Finding an agent and getting published

BritMums live 2012

4 good reasons to attend: cake, friends, green slime and more cake

The main reason why I so far attended BritMums live every single year (even when it was called ‘Lunch at the Rainforest Café’ and only counted 34 attendees three years ago) is its social aspect. The longer I blog, the more blog friends become real life friends – and of course I wouldn’t miss the chance to see so many of them at once.

Banter, chatting and socialising aside, this year’s agenda has so far been the best. I particularly enjoyed the Social Media Strategy workshop and the panel discussion that attracted all budding novelists: Getting Published.

BritMums live 2012

So much to say, so little time #bloggersdisease

I couldn’t help but smile when multi-published author Kate Morris said, ‘Don’t send your finished manuscript to agents straight away. Put it aside. It’s not ready for submission yet; you need a very polished product.’ Because that’s exactly where I went wrong last year, having just finished my novel, eager and keen to get it out there. Of course, it’s been far from polished, and it took me another year to get it where it is now (read: still far from being perfect). But back then I just couldn’t help myself.

I might have blushed a little – you know, not Anastasia style, I just turned a very pale shade of baby pink – when literary agent Erin Niumata mentioned that she receives about 100 to 120 unsolicited query letters and manuscripts per week. Sometimes those letters contain gifts, someone even sent wine, and a lot of them are printed on pink paper and have glitter in their envelopes (lots of hoovering for Erin, I’d say). One of them was mine. Albeit without glitter and pink paper, I hasten to add. I sent a plain email that, most likely, never made it over the threshold of the trash folder. I guess that’s what you get for ignoring the statement I am not currently accepting unsolicited queries.

The whole session reminded me of my own journey of finding an agent: the hoping, the frustration, and the randomness of the process. Getting published is a long journey with many steps – finding an agent is just one of them, and I am anxiously aware that I am only at the beginning of this trip into the unknown.

It also reminded me that had I never started the Metropolitan Mum blog, my novel would most likely not exist. Although the content of my novel has nothing to do with the fluffy musings on my blog, it has given me the confidence to write in a language that isn’t my mother tongue. It has encouraged me to write more and keep writing; it has shown me that there is an audience for my voice (thank you!) and it has inspired me (through other blogs) to continue what I am doing.

Had I written a novel without having a blog, I am not sure if my agent would have taken me on board. I can only echo soon-to-be-published blogger Emily Carlisle, who said that a blog demonstrates professional skills agents (and hopefully publishers) look for in authors: it shows that you are able to manage an online platform, that someone wants to hear what you have to say, and that you are marketable. In other words: don’t underestimate what your blog says about you as a writer. And also: there’s lots to do.

In case you were wondering, the charming ladies in the pictures are Peggy and Mari.

16 Comments

  1. Brilliant post, love those photos too. so very pleased to hear the progress on your novel and would love to read it, it’s my dream too to write one day. I’m hoping when the twins start school in September to have more time.
    Very best of luck to you xx

  2. Great post. Thanks for the useful summary of what sounds like a very useful session. I’m sorry we didn’t get to say hello at the conference but wish you all the best with your book.

  3. Great meeting you and comparing bumps. Thanks for your interview on camera too. You, me and Uju in that room was very funny!

  4. There’s often conflicting advise when submitting work to an agent because some do state quite clearly that they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, whilst others say send it in anyway. It is very confusing and this should be pointed out from the outset whether it’s okay to send it in, or whether you really are wasting your time.

    I finished my 2nd novel in November last year and still haven’t edited it!

    CJ x

  5. What a great post! I thoroughly enjoyed the publishing session (though from a “non-fiction” point of view). It made me think a lot about what I need to do.

    Congratulations on finding an agent for your own book 🙂

  6. how lovely! I must say I wish I was part of a network of bloggers like the Mummy bloggers. You all seem so friendly and supportive of each other.

    There are ‘style’ blog networks but they don’t seem as friendly or cohesive- and also I’m not really kidding myself that anyone cares what I wear everyday, let alone wants to see picures of me in it!

    Still I love blogs and even though I neglect mine a little sometimes I’m so happy I have it- and have met people through it

  7. Hello, it was great to meet you at last, and very good luck with your writing and book. Who is your agent? x

  8. Ginni says

    Congrats! You’ve come a long way. I’m very proud of you.
    x

  9. ooh good luck with getting the book published! I can’t wait to get my mitts on it

  10. Someone I just met the other day (a literary agent) told me he picked up something from his slush pile and it was one of the best novels he’s ever read. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry (I haven’t yet written mine, but there is no way its ever going to be the best in any category). Can’t wait to purchase your novel at my local bookstore!!!!

  11. What a great post, as a blogger and aspiring novelist author (I’m writing a YA novel). I found this post particularly insightful. Also, can’t wait to read your novel 🙂

  12. Sorry to miss you at BritMums. I was sad not to be there.

    Yes, a blog is indeed a demonstration of writing skills. Hurrah for blogging! So many of us have gained confidence through a blog that we would probably never had gained in any other way.

Comments are closed.