So I wrote a book.
I’ve written a number, actually, but this is the first that I have actually finished, and the first one I would not be embarrassed for people to read. I began around 2010, and joined a writing group soon after. This gave me the discipline and motivation to actually knuckle down and finish the thing, my previous efforts have either been experiments or have been abandoned somewhere half-way through.
When a writer finishes a book and wants to get it published, there is a traditional route. It used to be that you would send the first few chapters, along with a cover letter and a synopsis of the book, to a publisher. Now though, the advice that I read was that you need literary agent. So I got my thirty pages, my synopsis and my letter and sent them out to about nine or ten agents, all in the UK (I am in Ireland, but was told that the agents you want are in Britain).
I got a reply from perhaps half of them, mostly polite, encouraging, telling me how much they liked my writing but that it wasn’t quite right for their lists. I wasn’t really discouraged, as I didn’t really expect anything. I had read a blog post from a reader for a literary agency, he said that approximately one book in every five thousand he reads from new writer results in that writer being taken on by the agency. One in five thousand.
And there I left it. To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered about being published, I initially wanted to do this just to see if I could. I have been reading books most of my life, and finding out whether I was a person who could actually write one was something that was important to me. More than that, I wanted to know if I could write something decent, something readable, something that – as I mentioned already – I would not be embarrassed by. And it turns out that I am a person who could do this. And that was enough, for a while.
And then I talked to Luis.