The Hunt Goes On

I was asked recently about my efforts to find a publisher for my crime novel and it struck me I haven’t updated this part of my blog for a while. This is due to not much of significance happening. I’ve submitted to 17 agents and publishers so far, with mixed results but not the one result I need.
I have noticed a hierarchy in the style of rejections though; they come in several forms.
If you haven’t heard from us in X months you’ve been unlucky…
The most annoying are those that don’t reply at all, merely stating on their reply to the submission, “If you haven’t heard from us within x months, we’re afraid you have been unlucky,” or words to that effect, “don’t contact us and don’t re-submit.” You wait expectantly until past the deadline date in the hope that maybe they are just behind with their work. Of course they’re not and nothing comes.

I appreciate they are probably inundated with drafts to read and accept their claim they’re all given their proper attention, but an acknowledgement of some sort would help allay the nagging doubt that perhaps they have discarded it without reading or even that the e-mail has gone astray .

Generic template
Second in the hierarchy of disappointment is the brief, curt reply, which seems generic and simply a template with my name and details, inserted. For example, “Thank-you, for sending your work, I couldn’t engage with it.” It seems an odd choice of words but nevertheless, I’ll accept my efforts did nothing for this individual and console myself that Agatha Christie’s work and JK Rowling’s efforts didn’t turn anyone on in the first instance, either. The safe haven we writers retreat to, to mitigate loss of confidence.

When writing and re-writing the thing in the first place I hovered between bouts of thinking it fantastic to deciding it was totally inept, as all writers seem to do. Confidence is a fragile thing.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to witness a friend going through the same emotions until she became a bestselling author; seen and read her original rejections and lived through her confidence swings on subsequent works, that also went on to be best sellers. This helps, I know what to expect and can fight the pessimism, ignore those publishers and agents who don’t want it for whatever reason.
‘It’s my baby but I mustn’t take the rejection personally.’ My mantra of the moment.

Encouragement and considered response
Finally, there are the replies that are considered, encouraging but ultimately frustrating in a nearly but not quite, kind of way. One wrote that whilst there was a lot to admire in the work, they didn’t feel it was for them but that this was a purely subjective opinion and to continue, they were sure I would be successful in finding a publisher. Whilst not ideally what I want, it’s something to cling to, ‘there’s much to admire.’ Great, I shall carry on.

I can’t deny submitting is the most tedious part of the process, every agent or publisher has different guidelines which involve re-writing and editing of synopses, letters and chapter breakdowns. Some want the whole manuscript others various numbers of pages or words. Fonts and formats must be altered to their individual requirements. I like to think I have a copy of every version of every element that could be requested now, so hopefully I will be able to step up the speed of future submissions.
I have four recently submitted and several more outstanding. So I carry on living and waiting in hope.


Zombie in the Kitchen






“Dad! One of those things off the news…in the kitchen!” Nicky stammered.
Les reached beside his armchair and picked up a cricket bat. “I thought you’d checked the doors?” he berated his wife.
“Thought you’d done it.”
The thing sat on its haunches, gumming the hide of a cat.
“Poor thing, just a girl.”
She craned her sallow head upwards. Taking a long stride down the wicket, Les hammered a straight six.
Her head thudded into the ceiling before hitting the floor with a squelch.
“Everything alright, Les?” His wife shouted.
“Do these things go in the green or the black bin?”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

House Hunting Misunderstandings





Image © J Hardy Carroll

“So much potential, darling.”
“Potential for a load of work and expense, you mean.”
“But look at the space.”
“Space? There’s only us two. You intend building a boat or something?”
“Us three.”
John sniffed, “Lovely thought but living with mother wouldn’t work, however much space.”
“Not your mother, silly.”
“Well who…oh, you mean?”
His face cracked, he beamed, they hugged and danced a daft jig.
“Now…over there would be good for his train set and I’ll get some goalposts for the garden.”
She laughed, “She may not like trains and football.” They giggled and jigged until they dropped.

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here. 

First Date Nerves





PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

I love this place. The contrasting chrome and plastic. The shiny faux-leather seats. Huh, they’ve got a new bubble gum machine. This is my fried food-smelling world. I need to get a table.
Oh my God, she’s here already, on the high stool at the counter. She’s beautiful.
She’s smiling. Perfect teeth.
Suddenly, I ‘m Charlie Chaplin with blisters, my feet too big and the toes pointing at ten to two.
Oh God, how do I get from here to her?
Act cool, don’t mess it up. Ouch, the corner of that table hurts.
Deep breaths, you can do this.

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

The Mechanic and the Butcher





PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Cyril inspected his car’s repair. “Marvellous, how much?”
“What? It was just a wing mirror!”
“Yes but we had to replace the whole door. To get the colour match, you understand.”
Needing the car, Cyril begrudgingly paid up.
As usual that Saturday, the mechanic entered Cyril’s shop for his weekly steaks.
“That’ll be £615, Sam.”
“But it’s just two steaks!”
“And I’ve had to butcher a whole cow. You can’t just harvest two steaks, you understand.”
Sam’s eyes narrowed, “I can take my business elsewhere, you know.”
“So can I. Who d’you think would be the biggest loser?”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Revenge – Justice with Extra Chilli

I missed last week due to entertaining some friends who, coincidentally were French visitors. So thanks to Sandra for a very welcome and apt prompt. My friends are retired French farmers,  a group notorious for knowing how to use their tractors as weapons of protest.





PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

“Now you’re Mayor, you’ve put an extra charge on rubbish collection from our farms.”
“Unfortunately, that’s today’s world, the town can’t afford to come out.”
Giles’ incredulity sunk along with his derriere, into the overstuffed sofa .
He toed the luxurious shag pile and bawled across the huge mahogany desk.
“It can afford these new furnishings!”
“Different budgets. My predecessor let the place slide. A town needs to show the world the right image.”
Back home Giles filled his muck spreader with the contents of his bins and slurry tank.
Outside La Mairie, he set the spreader whirling.
“That’s re-decoration and image!”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

The Spendthrift






Photo Credit: Magaly Guerrero

“More shoes!”
“I need them,” she says
“You’ve dozens and only two feet.”
Paul wondered how often shoes were cited in divorce proceedings.
“We can’t afford them. We’re up to here in debt.” He banged the back of his hand under his chin.
“They were cheap.”
“Cheap? Dog shit’s going for half price at the moment; shall I get a stock in?”
“Now you’re being stupid. If it distresses you, I’ll take them back.”
“The bank’s letters distress me.”
“I’ll take them back, but can I keep the clocks?”
Suddenly, Paul was aware of the loud tick-tock of time running out.

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.