Agent Revisions

I was in the city on Wednesday helping to run an event for work, when I got an e-mail forwarded to my phone.  It was an agent in London, one who had my full manuscript, wanting to organise a good time to call. It's pretty exciting when this happens - agents, being busy people, rarely phone non-clients. We agreed a time and I managed to not go crazy for an entire 24 hours. Well, not crazier than normal. I may have woken my wife up with a French accent and an interpretive jig.

The call went amazingly. She likes the book - really likes it, in fact, and said some amazingly complimentary things about my writing, all of which I managed to humbly swat away with the air of a seasoned professional by saying 'Mrghghg. What? Wow. Um. Ha. Ha. Megh?'

The book has some problems, she thinks, but the story has really struck her and the style stood out. In its current state, though, she's worried that there are too many small problems for it to sell to a publisher. And yet she's interested...

In the end, she wanted to size me up to see how open I am to revision. Could we change the format a bit? How would I feel about providing more information about the father? Did I mean to hint at a past resentment with this scene? How about here? And... could we change the name?

Some writers get offended at suggestions of change - the agent herself admitted she's often wary, and likened it to telling a friend, 'Well, yes, your kid is pretty cute... but he'd look so much better without a head, don't you think?'

I'm over the moon. She e-mailed me a couple of pages of notes and suggestions, and we've e-mailed back and forth with thoughts about style and direction. If I can make these changes, and rework the book to be better than it's ever been, she wants to go further with it. That's a real chance, right there - a shot at landing representation.

So now - I'm rewriting. Whole scenes are shifting and growing and shrinking and morphing, but the book is getting better and I feel like I can really do this.

She said such nice words at me.

And hey - I and my wife and my brother- and sister-in-law are going to England at the end of April! Tickets are now booked, and this gives me a great goal to aim for. I'll have the book back to the agent in maybe 4 weeks, and hope that the Writing Gods are appeased, and I can maybe - maybe - even meet her. Who knows?

Few people realise that the whole of London is actually built on a 30 degree tilt...


  1. Little should surprise me any more about you, Mr. Clark. And yet you're always finding wonderful ways to make it happen.

    Back come the days when we constructively helped one another with undergraduate essays. And here we are: you in the process of becoming a fully-fledged author, and I a pointless hack unable to push a dissertation over the line through force of will.

    It feels like the world is returning to its righteous place. And with that, I send all my congrats and plenty of hope that this will be the start of another magnificent chapter in the world of SPC.

  2. Don't be silly now, we all know your dissertation is going to be blinding, eventually!