So … after three years, I’ve left my agent. And I’ll freely admit, it’s a tad scary.
I signed to PFD just months after finishing my first ever novel, and for a fair old while I basked in the glory, after all getting an agent is the hardest part, right? Not for me, it hasn’t been!
I think the problem I’ve had with being represented, is the whole element of handing over responsibility to someone else. Now, I’m not a control freak, but I AM a Cambridge grad, and as a Cambridge grad, I’ve worked my backside off for everything I’ve ever achieved, and I’ve done it all by myself.
Each one of my novels has been written with blood, sweat and tears, and so the element of finishing my part of the relay race, and passing it on to someone else has never been something I dealt with well. And I think the issue with being a debut novelist is that contracts rarely come easy, and so you’re never going to be top priority for a big agency.
My first year with PFD saw a huge merger for the agency, and my first agent Suzy made redundant as a result. I was then passed on to her lovely, but rather inexperienced, assistant Lucy. Lucy had been the one who first read Flicker, and the reason I was signed by PFD, and she put herself as fully as possible into marketing my books, but whether it was my inexperience, or hers, it didn’t pay off, and she left the agency earlier this year in pursuit of a different career.
And then I heard nothing from PFD! In fact, if I wasn’t Lucy’s Facebook friend, I would have assumed she still worked at PFD!
And so, a few weeks ago I bit the bullet, and cut the apron strings. For the past year of literary inactivity, I have answered the question of ‘don’t you write’ with ‘yes, I’m signed to a big agency in London.’ Which I was. But if I stayed with them, ‘signed’ was all I was ever going to be.
I’m not gonna lie – I am gutted about having to leave. For a long time I imagined myself growing old with Lucy as my agent for life – a kind of Hank and Charlie from Californication relationship (without the crazy nudity!). But I guess that wasn’t to be … but that doesn’t have to be the end to everything.
I am an author. It’s in my blood! It’s a state of being that fizzes in the back of my mind all day, every day. Every day I’m dreaming up new characters, appreciating new scenarios, or playing with book ideas.
I may have left writing for a year, but it hasn’t left me. And I don’t want to look back in fifty years time and say. ‘Yeah I wanted to be a writer once ….’.
Getting signed by an agent wasn’t my aim. Getting published is.
So it’s time to face my fears, stop resting on my ‘signed author’ laurels, and take control of my own destiny once again.
I have climbed Everest, run marathons, and survived being orphaned. I can bloody well get published!!!