Learning on the job: Follow-up

Learning on the job: Follow-up

Agents and publishers are deluged with submissions from people like me who think they can write a novel. Out of hundreds, even thousands a year, they usually choose one or two to represent. The odds of being selected are minimal. Sometimes they send rejections. Often they don’t. As weeks turn into months, you guess they’ve passed, probably in a couple of seconds.

The first time I chased a batch of article pitches, I assumed it would be the same. I felt like a nuisance- nagging editors on the off chance they could be worn down to “Oh go on then! If you have to!” Within an hour or two however, I’d had a couple of even apologetic responses seeking more information. A few days later, I had a new feature to write.

I’m slowly learning, it’s always worth following up pitches. Some people answer with silence, but many respond. There’s no way of telling which idea will take an editor’s fancy. And even rejections usually come with explanations- practical ones I’m happy to believe.

Who’d have thought the ultimate antidote to submitting a novel, was pitching magazine features?

 

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Geeky, but grateful

Geeky, but grateful

I’m in a grateful mood today. Grateful I could find a parking spot near enough the library, for the sunshine, and for Scrivener. I’ll have lost most people with the last one. It’s writing software worth far more than the £14 I paid for it (half-price).

Today, I found myself in the library, with no internet and an article to shape. Scrivener, which I bought to write my novel, also works brilliantly for articles. Imagine a cork board with index cards that each refer to a paragraph/ scene/  chapter- you decide. The program allows you to move cards and therefore text around, and has many other features that make it invaluable for those like me who can’t hold everything in their head at one time. Of course, I won’t have persuaded you with that. It’s one of those things that people have to try to find out what all the fuss is about.

Anyway, it allowed me to condense all my notes into something approaching the 1,500 word piece needed.

My other breakthrough today was finding a new cafe. Only new to me, as I tend to gravitate towards places with sofas run by giant corporations. It’s been there under the library since we moved here. But I felt rewarded for my fearless exit from my decaffeinated comfort zone with air and space, and some really nice coffee. I think there was a freelancer’s session in one corner, but I was too shy to ask.