Apologies for the lack of recent blogs, I was helping to run the Mountains to Sea Book Festival and taking some much needed time off. I wrote the following blog in August, before I sent my new proposal to my agent. More on this at the end. For weeks now I've been worrying about a book proposal. Is it good enough? Will my agent like it? Will my publishers like it?
I've published 23 books now and it never gets any easier. The doubts are still very much there for every single book or proposal.
I worked hard on the proposal, on getting every detail right - the series title (it's a new series for girls of 9+), the title of each book, the girls' names (there are 4 main characters), the plots for each of the first 3 books, the setting; especially the setting. I started reading widely on the subjects covered in the plots and added details to my proposal.
I wrote some of the first book, then rewrote it many times until I was happy with it. Only then did I send it to my agent. She read it and gave some suggestions. I took those on board and rewrote the whole proposal again. Finally it was ready to be sent to my editors and so began the waiting game.
What happens next? My editors - if they like it - take it to an acquisitions meeting where the sales and marketing team get their say. If they all like it, and they think it will sell, then you have a book contract.
I visited my publishers, Walker Books in London to hear the news and I waited anxiously for their verdict. I didn't have to wait long. As soon as I walked into the reception area (where some of my other Ask Amy Green books were twinkling at me from the book shelves), one of my editors said 'Everyone loved your proposal'. I was so relieved! I thought my proposal was good, my agent thought it was marvellous but you never can tell . . .
But nerves are good. In fact they are important to writers. It's what keeps us on our toes, makes us try our very hardest to produce something excellent. Nerves are like the adrenaline before a race, keeping us alive.
As writers we wear our hearts on our sleeves, outside our bodies. We are largely a highly emotional bunch and like actors, we crave an audience for our work - we need readers. We want people to say 'We love your books'.
But we also need to have confidence in what we are doing. So once we get that initial 'You're on the right track' nod, we need to take that affirmation on board and then get back to work. We need to put all those fears and doubts aside and write as if nothing else mattered.
Because if we let our writing worries consume us, we clip our own wings.
So once you get that initial nod - from your editor, or if you are not yet published, from a trusted friend - put all your worries behind you and fly. The only way to live a writing life is in the air and not stumbling along the ground.
I'm all set to take my own advice. After proof reading The Memory Box, my next book for adults which will be out in early 2013, I'll be writing the first book in the new series. The series is called The Wishing Girls. More about that soon.
Yours in writing,