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5:15pm on Friday, 19th October, 2007:

Progress Report


My attempts to get my novel The Knights of Saint Judas published are progressing slowly. However, they are at least progressing.

Here's how the publishing industry works.

To get a book published, you must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

Ooh! I can have a go at doing the last one of those!

So, to get an agent, you must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

Ooh! I can have a go at doing the last one of those!

To get a recommendation from a literary consultant, you send them your manuscript and some money for them to pay one of their readers to read it and make suggestions for improvements. If the reader is wildly enthusiastic for it, the literary consultancy will recommend your work to between one and three agents.

I sent my novel to a literary consultant, and their reader was indeed wildly enthusiastic for it. The first agent they recommended it to was not quite so enthusiastic and did not take me on, but she did list 5 problems she had with it.

The first was one that would have removed much of my main character's dimensionality. I'm leaving it as it is.

The second was fair enough, and I made a change accordingly.

The third was just wrong. The agent said she found it hard to believe that an innkeeper's daughter in Hull in the mid-1800s would be as educated as my main character is. Unfortunately, I had done my research, and Hull was well-provisioned for education following the government's decision in 1833 to fund the construction of school buildings. An innkeeper's daughter could indeed read, write, add up and identify the main countries on a map of Europe (which is all my character is called upon to do).

The fourth and fifth problems were two things near the end that the prospective agent didn't like. However, they were flagged up by the literary consultant's reader as things that were particularly good. One man's meat is another man's poison.

Oh well, the manuscript goes off to another agent next week, so hopefully I'll hear something by Christmas.

Referenced by Where I Work #12.

Referenced by Rejection Patterns.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).