I've been keeping shtum these past few weeks, out of nerves and out of that dreaded condition Mr Darcy suffered from, pride. Lovely Imogen Cooper, after lots of suggested additions, edits and tweaks, told me my manuscript was ready to submit to Barry at Chicken House. I pretended to go with the flow. Yeah, no big deal. It's ready so I'm ready. But inside I kind of shrivelled up. This was it. Judgement time.
I know, from having paintings not accepted in exhibitions or nor sold, that rejection is a part of creating something. Not everyone is going to rate it or like it or want to part with their money to have it. But knowing and experiencing that is one thing, having immunity from the gut-wrenching feeling is quite another. And I have thin skin. Tissue thin. Part of what's been so brilliant about The Golden Egg Academy has been protection, delaying sending out to an agent until someone as in the know as Imogen tells you to submit. But it can't last forever.
So, as well as submitting to Chicken House (which is part of the deal with GEA, CH have first refusal) I submitted to agent Kate Shaw. Two weeks of waiting felt like two years. It's been awful. I've never minded too much waiting for Imogen's feedback, or Abi's, or my wonderful writing group. A little nervous but excited too. This wait had zero excitement. It was all angst. I kept planning how I'd react to different outcomes. Generally, they resulted in me sobbing into rather too many packs of biscuits.
Then... an email from Imogen popped up reading URGENT. My hands buzzed as I clicked the mouse. Oh God, oh God, oh God. And there was the most dream-like positive email from Kate. She mentioned being willing to 'walk through fire' for this book. My book. OMG.
I met Kate the following week, last week, in London which all felt terribly grown-up. Half of me felt like weeping, half of me felt like whooping. I generally stuck to talking about the book - which was probably a good thing because she said she'd like to represent my writing and be my agent. I actually held off having a little cry until I left the café. I was in shock.
So now almost a week has gone by and I've signed on The Viney Agency's dotted line. Kate had lots of ideas about a certain area in the book and I've been diving back in to, yes, rewrite a little. She's also created this great little blurb. It was strange reading something I know so well in someone else's words. But all quite exciting, like I'm singing in my head. Not because having an agent is the be-all and end-all - I think some really great writers have difficulty getting one and some don't have one at all. But because someone as lovely, bright and creative as Kate believes in my story. That's making me sing.