taking the next step – agent submissions

It’s half term which means I’m strapped for writing time so I’ll have to make this quick. And ok, I admit it – a friend just asked me if I’d been watching From Darkness on BBC 1, describing it as ‘proper gripping and scary’ so obviously I’m going to have to watch it by firelight as soon as I’ve finished typing this. I want an early night so let’s crack on!


I haven’t done any proper writing updates for a while but this week I do actually have some news – *drumroll* I’ve finally submitted a couple of my picture book manuscripts to agents! Just a small selection (and as advised at the Festival of Writing I let each of them know I was submitting to a few others too – honesty is the best policy… I hope) but it was still a big step. I’ve been working on the books for so long, had them professionally edited, made changes, made more changes, made even more… you get the picture, but last week I finally felt ready to send them out.

And it felt good. Not that I have high hopes of getting any yeses – I’m very aware of how stiff the competition is. Agents can receive thousands of manuscripts a year and take on only a handful of new clients so they’re not just looking for something they like, they’re looking for something they love – something that leaps out and excites them. And it has to be saleable too and they have to feel they can work with it and work with the author. It’s a tall order.

So I’m realistic about my (small) chance of success at this point and I accept the likelihood of rejection but I’m not downhearted, I’m determined and hopeful and even a little bit excited too because, well, you never know do you? And that, for me, is the difference between having work that’s sitting on my hard drive and work out there in the big wide world. The crackle of potential – of what if, of maybe.

So, yes, it’s done. And now I wait. Well, no, actually the plan is not so much to wait as to entirely forget all about it – the agents listed various response times but mostly a couple of months and given we’re now in late October I’m probably safer putting it from my mind till the new year. Which is good because I’ve got plenty of other things to focus my attention on. I still want to get my third picture book sorted and I’ve had an idea of a fourth (non-rhyming this time) that I’d love to get to work on, and then there’s my blog and work and these funny little people that are dashing around my ankles a lot of the time at the moment. Because it’s half term you see.

So I’d best be off.

21 thoughts on “taking the next step – agent submissions

  1. Rebecca Ann Smith

    Good luck Maddy, I hope you get a nibble back from an agent and hope that turns into an opportunity to get your writing out into the world. Keep us posted. PS love the spiral staircase – spiral images are bang on trend this week at #WhatImWriting.

  2. Belle Amatt

    Sounds like exciting times! Good luck with the submission. I hope ‘From Darkness’ provides the distraction you are after. Certainly gripping, nail-biting stuff!

    1. Maddy Post author

      I watched the first episode and it was certainly gripping! Should keep my brain occupied for a few hours over the next few weeks – along with Criminal minds and CSI. Thanks for commenting Belle.x

  3. Rachael

    …and breathe! Good luck with the submissions (I’ll let you forget about it but will keep an eye out for updates!) and hope you’re having a lovely half term break. :) x

  4. Susie Fiddes

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone! Very exciting times and will look forward to hearing how you get on with submissions. I have also got a picture book sitting waiting for editing/further action. Wondering if you would/could recommend the company you went with and whether you do your own illustrations? I can’t draw and so all I have is the words and lots of visual ideas! Thanks for sharing your news! Ps: I caught about 2 mins of From Darkness and had to turn it over – scared the bejesus out of me!!!

    1. Maddy Post author

      Hi Susie – my drawing skills are very limited so no, I don’t do illustrations. I do see pictures in my head but can’t translate them onto the page. it does help to be able to visualise when writing picture books though as I think it gives you an idea of how the story might look and helps you to cut out unnecessary text. Agents and publishers are perfectly happy to accept unillustrated manuscripts though. Happy to have a chat. would you like to join our #WhatimWriting Facebook group? xx

  5. Marija Smits

    Really happy to hear about your submissions and wishing you all the best with them. Whatever happens, the main thing is to just keep on writing. And family, friends and loved ones are absolutely the best for giving support and encouragement, aren’t they? [And also distracting us when we’re worrying about rejections! ;-) ]

  6. Dana

    Oh Maddy, I’m so happy for you! No matter this particular outcome, you took a huge step in sending out your manuscript to agents. And if none of these bite, you send to more! I also agree about honesty and full disclosure – I’d think most agents understand it’s common practice to send to several at a time.

    Yay for you! Now get cracking on all those new ideas :)

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Dana, yes I’m thinking of these as ‘batch one’ and am determined not to let rejections put me off – it’s all just part of the process and the important bit is continuing to take the steps! xx

  7. Sophie Lovett

    This news flashed by me on Facebook but I’ve been having such a hectic week (hence being a whole week behind on commenting!!). Congratulations on getting the submissions sent. It is a massive step – whatever comes of it. Fingers crossed someone will want to take things further! xx

  8. Emily Organ

    Well done for taking the plunge, it’s always a nerve wracking time. And remember it’s not rejection it’s just ‘not the correct opportunity’ so don’t you ever feel bad about yourself if a reply comes back saying no. I started watching From Darkness and I think I’ve missed two episodes now so I need to somehow catch up. Good luck with being busy NOT thinking about what the agents are thinking!


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