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Greetings! Greetings from yet another children's author

#1
Hi All,

I'm new to Litopia but looking forward to getting involved. I'm currently working my way through the agents in Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, so thought I could use the support of fellow writers! 22 submissions and 5 rejections and counting so far for my 4th children's novel, The Orb and The Architect. Publishing history: a children's fantasy trilogy available on Amazon, originally published between 2010 and 2012 by a traditional publisher, currently self-published. Good reviews from the children who've read it, but I've found that getting the books noticed is the real challenge. Most of my sales are through primary school visits (KS2) - so if anyone knows any school librarians/literacy coordinators in and around London, please send them my way!

I'm an avid reader and enjoy both literary and commercial fiction. Favourite books include Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking Trilogy, most things by Ian McEwan (although I hated Solar) and Neil Gaiman (HUGE inspiration) and many others too numerous to mention. I'm currently enjoying Hannah Kent's latest book "The Good People" (hugely atmospheric, similar to Burial Rites but set in Ireland instead of Iceland).

Anyway, greetings to all - looking forward to reading some of your work and putting some of mine up for your kind (or otherwise) consideration

Kirsty
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
#3
Hello Kirsty! I also pitched my (first not fourth) novel 22 times (before giving up on it and moving on to currently-in-progress novel number two). I'm also hugely inspired by Mr Gaiman – didn't he once say that we've all got about a million words of shite that we have to get out before we get to the good stuff? I reckon so, which is why I was happy to move swiftly on to novel two :p. Welcome to the Colony! :)
 
#9
Hello and welcome. If you’ve been trade published once then I’ve no doubt you will be again. Out of interest who was your publisher?
Initially called HandE, then HMPP, then KA Media Ltd... changing names reflected a changing business from publishing & production to publishing. Financial constraints finally left them focussing on children's picture books but we parted amicably, they handed back the rights and let me use the cover illustrations and maps from the inside pages. TBH, they weren't very good at marketing my books, so I'm better off self publishing and taking all the profit myself.
 
#10
Hello :) The Orb and The Architect. I like that title. Makes me think of the sphere of Archimedes sphere. This thing here, the Antikythera mechanism, completely enthralling, might have been Archimedes too.
Thank you! Encouraging that someone likes the title - I'm hoping it will attract an agent's attention soon... I've put my first 20 pages forward for consideration in the Litopia Facebook review this Sunday, will be nerve wracking if it's selected.
 
#11
Interesting. I’ve not heard of them, but if their marketing was poor then sounds like you’re better off without them? Were you with an agent at the time?
 
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#12
Welcome! The pop-up submissions thing is not as nerve-wracking as it sounds. Agent Pete is a nice guy. He is kind in his comments but doesn't fob you off with BS. He is astute and seems to know what he's talking about. I too love the title The Orb and The Architect. Good luck with it.
 
#13
Interesting. I’ve not heard of them, but if their marketing was poor then sounds like you’re better off without them? Were you with an agent at the time?
No, I've not yet worked with an agent but I would really like to - hence the 22 agent submissions! (now up to 27 and counting). I've no problem in sharing royalties, as long as everyone is getting a slice of a BIGGER pie!
 
#14
Welcome! The pop-up submissions thing is not as nerve-wracking as it sounds. Agent Pete is a nice guy. He is kind in his comments but doesn't fob you off with BS. He is astute and seems to know what he's talking about. I too love the title The Orb and The Architect. Good luck with it.
Thanks so much, Kitty - and thanks for the feedback on the pop-up submissions. I'm much less thin skinned than I used to be about my work and will value the feedback - sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. I gave it to an 11 year old fan of my trilogy who said his only complaint was that it wasn't long enough (it's +73k words, so I took this as a compliment), but he's the son of a friend so he may have been being polite and, to be fair, he's not an agent...
 
#18
Welcome aboard! The pop-up submissions are utterly invaluable. I owe @AgentPete an enormous debt of gratitude for his time spent in that endeavour.
I've seen a lot about pop up submissions but I don't understand them yet! I know there's one on Sunday but is it a video on Facebook of AgentPete going through his slush pile?
 
#19
I've seen a lot about pop up submissions but I don't understand them yet! I know there's one on Sunday but is it a video on Facebook of AgentPete going through his slush pile?
It is a live event. @AgentPete looks through the submitted work as though he is looking through regulation (?!) submissions. Its not a case of getting to see an opinion of your work, its more a case of getting to see that opinion form. He reads it, live and unfiltered, and you get his honest response.
Scary? Sure, but beyond invaluable. You get to see how an actual agent would look at your work and respond accordingly.
Honesty is, I firmly believe, more precious than any jewel beneath this earth, and @AgentPete's analysis digs deeper than you could imagine.
 
#20
It is a live event. @AgentPete looks through the submitted work as though he is looking through regulation (?!) submissions. Its not a case of getting to see an opinion of your work, its more a case of getting to see that opinion form. He reads it, live and unfiltered, and you get his honest response.
Scary? Sure, but beyond invaluable. You get to see how an actual agent would look at your work and respond accordingly.
Honesty is, I firmly believe, more precious than any jewel beneath this earth, and @AgentPete's analysis digs deeper than you could imagine.
Wow - now that is something I would love to see! Real feedback from a real agent is what I think most writers are desperate for but what we actually get is more often flat rejections or ‘you write well but it’s not quite a fit for me’. I got some (paid) editorial advice and although I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience it did trigger some much needed plot revisions. A fresh and expert pair of eyes is such a valuable thing.
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#23
I've seen a lot about pop up submissions but I don't understand them yet! I know there's one on Sunday but is it a video on Facebook of AgentPete going through his slush pile?
Never use that expression, it's horrible and demeaning. And... what other industry would be so contemptuous of its NPD process? That's where our wages come from...!
 
#24
Never use that expression, it's horrible and demeaning. And... what other industry would be so contemptuous of its NPD process? That's where our wages come from...!
I'm so sorry. I didn't mean any offence and please accept my apologies if any was given. It's just that I've heard agents themselves use that phrase but I will be more careful in future.
 

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
#26
Yes, my turn to apologise!

"Never use that expression..." = my shorthand for "I never use that expression..." for some reason, I often drop the pronoun! I see how different the two phrases are... didn't consider that when posting.

Hmm, I've successfully scared a newbie! Again, my fault Lousie, please forgive me. :) P.
 

Carol Rose

Guardian
Staff member
Ambassador
#27
@Louise, see THIS LINK. It's a fabulous way to see inside the process of going through submissions. @AgentPete chooses them in order of submission, and goes through as many as he can that evening live on Facebook. The video is then posted for one week within the Colony in case you can't tune in live. I received feedback on my women's fiction submission (something vastly different from what I now write!) two Sundays ago, and it has made all the difference in the world on how I'm now going to approach finishing and submitting that book. Listening to all the submissions and feedback is so valuable. :)
 
#28
Ah thank you Rachel and Howard - I was and I probably deserved it but I appreciated your hand squeezes across the ether! I suppose I'm so used to hearing things like 'sl*sh pile challenge' that I didn't think. It is an offensive phrase, especially to those who may have written the definitely-not-sl*sh so I felt an apology to anyone else I might have offended was in order.

As an unagented author, I always assume I go straight into that pile. I've had some positive and constructive replies from agents though, which makes me think that many do read submissions from the unrepresented masses, and that for the best agents there's no such thing as the pile. But for some it still exists. Note my careful avoidance of the word in its offensive entirety. :)

But don't worry AgentPete - you were right and anyway it'll take way more than that to scare me off Litopia! I like it here and anyway, part of being a writer is getting used to the odd smack on the nose from agents or publishers, right? I don't always like feedback but I do always take it seriously. And I hereby promise and solemnly swear never to use the word sl... ooops ... you nearly had to tell me off again then. ;)

And thanks so much Carol - I'd seen and liked that and it's really useful. It's so helpful to have that link on the homepage explaining pop up submissions as otherwise newbies like me might struggle to get their heads round it.

Despite my sore nose, I love the idea of pop-up submissions, as I think that real feedback is what so many of us are keen to get. So you carry on AgentPete. I may even forgive you for calling me Lousie. You are doing great stuff here and I like it!
 
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#29
No worries. I'm an unagented, totally-new-to-writing, writer. I've had a few near misses with agents and have been on that unmentionable you know what, several times... And that is even with some interest from Hollywood (eat your heart out @AgentPete). I was very nervous about the pop-up submission thing, until I actually did it. Even though the foolish man didn't instantly sign me up and wrangle a ridiculous amount of money from a publisher for me, he did give me lots of good advice and my writing has improved. It is impressive how quickly he skim reads the manuscripts and how astute he is. But then, it's his job. Litopia, in general, is a brilliant community and I have no regrets about joining. I just wish I could meet them in real life.
 
#30
No worries. I'm an unagented, totally-new-to-writing, writer. I've had a few near misses with agents and have been on that unmentionable you know what, several times... And that is even with some interest from Hollywood (eat your heart out @AgentPete). I was very nervous about the pop-up submission thing, until I actually did it. Even though the foolish man didn't instantly sign me up and wrangle a ridiculous amount of money from a publisher for me, he did give me lots of good advice and my writing has improved. It is impressive how quickly he skim reads the manuscripts and how astute he is. But then, it's his job. Litopia, in general, is a brilliant community and I have no regrets about joining. I just wish I could meet them in real life.
It is - I second that Rachel! And I hope you'll still talk to us when Hollywood snaps you up. :)