It’s Christmas 2016 and I’m making list and checking it twice – a list of literary agents. It’s taken me two years to write my latest novel Perfect Ten and now, after much polishing and reading, it’s time to send it out to try to get a book deal.
I’m no stranger to submitting novels to agents. This would be the seventh time I had sent a novel out. I’d honed my list of agents to those who had encouraged my work but I was still undecided about sending out another novel. I’d successfully completed a Kindle Scout campaign in 2016 and had two crime novels published by them which were doing fine, so why bother?
My publishing rationale has always been to explore all avenues. I’d enjoyed being published by the lovely people at Elsewhen Press and by Amazon imprint Kindle Press, but this novel didn’t fit either of those publishers. It’s a psychological thriller/women’s fiction crossover so I thought I would try for a suitable home.
I sent Perfect Ten out on 3rd January 2017 and sat back for the usual two to three-month wait while agents scrutinised their slush pile. But I started to get responses from agents the same afternoon asking for full manuscripts, which I sent. I’d taken an extra day off work and when I returned to my desk on the 5th January my phone rang and it was Judith Murray from Green and Heaton Literary agents. She loved the novel and was eager to meet up the following Monday.
Judith is a super-agent with an impressive track record of working with authors such as Sarah Waters and Lucy Atkins and I was only too pleased to travel to London to meet her. We had a wonderful lunch and I just knew that she as the right person to represent me. She was passionate about the novel and we talked for hours about it and the plans she had.
Over the next weeks I worked on Judith’s notes. I had offers to meet other agents but I had to refuse. Judith and I were on the same page and as we went forward with the novel we agreed that she would represent me and send the novel out to editors.
It was very exciting – even more exciting than I had dreamed about all those years. The novel went out and there was interest and we accepted an offer from Sara O’Keefe at Corvus Atlantic Books. I went to meet Sara and her team at their offices in Bloomsbury and they are absolutely wonderful. We talked about plans for Perfect Ten and about a second book and I knew that this was absolutely the right home for my writing.
I have a two-book deal! There was champagne, apricot souffle and tears of joy. I cannot explain what this means to me. After ten years of submitting manuscripts and some near misses it all happened so quickly. It’s been a long road and even though I am compelled to write it’s been difficult at times. I can’t thank Judith Murray, who has become a lovely friend as well as my agent, enough for her hard work and dedication in finding Perfect Ten the perfect home. And thank you to Corvus Books for believing in it.
Perfect Ten will be published in Spring 2018 by Corvus Books.