Ever since I started to write seriously in 2004 it has struck me that the process of trying to get a novel published is a lot like a game of Snakes and Ladders. (Apparently called Chutes and Ladders in the US. Who knew? – some Americans, I guess).
On Friday I landed on a major ladder by winning the Cornerstones new novel competition. It was judged by four agents: Eve White at Eve White Literary Agency, David Haviland at Andrew Lownie, Julia Churchill at A M Heath, and Rowan Lawton at Furniss Lawton. And, I’m told, all four judged it the best adult novel. This, from an original entry of 400 (there was also winner for best children’s novel).
Great news. Over the nine years I’ve been writing there have been some lovely ladders: getting on the City University novel writing course, when I was really desperate to do so; completing my first novel; having the full manuscript of my second novel asked for by six agents; having one agent consistently ask me to re-submit, making the novel better each time.
But, of course, there have also been snakes: having that same agent decide, after two years, that she did not want to take it any further; entering competitions and not getting shortlisted; facing major re-writes when I did not feel I had the energy or will to do so.
Right now I’m waiting to see if any of the agents on the judging panel will decide to take the next step. Either way, it will be another square on the board.