Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I've landed a literary agent!

The wonderful news is that I have an agent. Sort of.

We haven't signed the contract yet, but we met, had drinks and he says he's keen, conditional upon my submitting a manuscript for consideration. I wrote to him telling him who I am, what I write about, how envision my creative writing career progressing. He suggested that we meet for drinks.

That's the difference about the publishing world in SA and in the US and UK. I've read many times about how difficult it is to land an agent; never mind finding a publishing house that will publish your work. In SA, there is such a shortage of good writers that when an agent hears from someone who has potential, he gets curious and asks for a meeting, even if said writer has not submmitted a manuscript yet.

We agreed that he'd work with with me on my current material to make sure that we select the strongest piece to submit to publishers. he's also critique and I'd polish the work to meet editorial requirements of our targeted publisher. Only then will we sign a contract authorising him to represnet me.

He's new in the literary representation business - he's a well-known former journalist though, so even though he does not have the international scope and influence that I would have wished for, he's no amateur.

I love the fact that he's committed to helping me ensure that I have quality material to market. There is a potential that he'd believe in my work once he's seen it. At this stage of my career, I need that more than I need a big name influenial agent who has 10 other big name influenrial authors and does not invest as much time in my work. I don't mind that we'll both have to grow as writer and agent. However, he assures me that he has loose alliances with international agents. So that window remains open - if I can provide appropriate manuscripts.

The ball is now in my court for this beautiful relationship to move forward. Problem is, my schedule is hellish this week. I have 5 events to attend and cover for my day job, and several other self-initiated stories I need to finish. Right now I'm sitting in a conference session and i'm supposed to be listening to Michael Gilbert of the Gilbert Centre in the US talk about online communication strategies for civil society organisations. Instead I'm making an entry to my blog and trying not to feel guilty about my sporadic entries.

I've also realised that I need to separate my story entries from my blog editorial emtries, so that people looking for free stories can easily access them without having to search all over the place. I'm going to email a friend of mine on how to do it, maybe do it by the end of the week.

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