Hello to you.
An interesting title choice for this post, let me tell you why.
Lots of very good authors describe on their blogs about their route to publication, or getting an agent etc. and I guess I don’t usually do that as, predominantly, I don’t know if anyone is actually interested in what I’ve got to say. I’ve spoken in interviews etc about how lucky I was, and how it was a dream of mine for SO long to be published, yet not for a single moment did I think it was never going to happen. Be it fate or destiny, or just me not willing to let all the knockbacks and rejections bother me. I just kept my head down on my writing (crucially) learning from criticism (where it counted) that I had gained on writer’s forums and stuff, and just worked at finding the right idea, with the right level of originality and the right level of enthusiasm and just simply wrote stories. Lots of them. Stories about all kinds of things, all kinds of characters and circumstances, and with each new idea, the way they were given life from a germ of an idea into an end product , I discovered what sort of writer I was. I’m not necessarily talking about good or bad, I’m talking about knowing what is essentially ‘my’ style, in that, I know how to interpret one of my ideas as Darren Craske., I know what sort of writing suits me, what genre, and how I can approach an idea and write it comfortably “as me”. Seeing as it took me years to find what ‘my’ style is, I can only assume that it must be this hard for everyone. Surely I’m not unique.
So, onto things. Some may know that I was incredibly fortunate to be spotted (I guess this is the right word) by Scott Pack, of The Friday Project/knowing a lot about books and stuff – which in turn led me to a 3 book contract with HarperCollins ie: the Cornelius Quaint Chronicles. I was (and still am) incredibly thankful to Scott for showing so much faith and giving me support even after all these years.
The Cornelius Quaint books (The Equivoque Principle & The Eleventh Plague thus far) are out there in shopland and lots of people like them and enjoy what I was trying to do, which is great. But for each Quaint book that I work on, one of my other ideas/projects has hadto take a back seat, and a few months ago they rebelled, ganging up on me, begging me to put them out of their misery and actually finish the bloody thing. Over the years the ideas have kept on coming. Some I began and dropped as they were rubbish, some I began, dropped, went back to several years later to complete. Some have nothing more than a title and half a page of a synopsis. There was one over-riding project that has stayed with me for many years that will one day see print, but it’s not ready yet. I’ll get to it one day. And so the upshot is….I know I have SO many more books left in me, which is fab…but as the penny dropped…and I near the end of my 3 book contract, I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of where I want to be. My dream to be published has cone true, but there’s something a little bit wrong with it, it’s a little more blurred than I imagined, the colours and details are a little less sharp.
In essence, I know that I needed an agent.
I am in full understanding of how rare it is for someone to get a 3 book contract without an agent, and that confidence was born out of Mr Pack’s belief in me, but without an agent I asked myself where I was going to be at some point next year. In truth, I felt as though I had let myself down a bit. I don’t know why. It must be a bit like the UK entry for Eurovision, knowing you’ll never win, but having enough hope in your heart that you’ll at least get a fair score. I’m nowher near nil points in my eyes, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve also got a lot more self-belief to know that I could get a few more.
I searched for the right agent, did all the right things, made all the right noises, got rejected many times.
And then I struck gold.
I realise this post is WAYYYY too long as it is, so maybe I will elucidate more next time. For now, I have hope renewed, an excellent agent who already ‘knows’ me and ‘my’ style, and who I know is going to help me reach the places that I want to be.
Now all I have to do is write some cracking books….
Thanks for looking.
You are a nice person.