Let’s start with the less exciting and work upwards.
I now have three rejections and have stopped feeling bad about them. The last one was worded so sweetly, I was smiling even when I got to the ‘sorry, not for me’ part. I have discovered that I’m a big fan of the form rejection; it’s concise and polite, and doesn’t leave the writer frantically scrambling to fix something to please an agent who’s already passed. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m liable to go on a ‘must please everyone’ rampage, which is certainly not the best thing for the book. And Agent3 made a very good point — I deserve to be represented by someone 100% enthusiastic about the book. An unenthusiastic agent would be worse than no agent (Yes it would, I remind myself sternly as I get pass after pass after pass….)
Next up, my feedback from Ink & Insights came back to me yesterday! A little bit of background: Ink & Insights is a yearly contest where you submit with first 10k for a small fee and everyone gets feedback from 4 judges. Now, I was expecting a brief numerical evaluation of the beginning of my novel (and was more than happy to pay the fee for that — every little helps!) Instead I got 10k of detailed, thoughtful feedback that I would gladly have spent four times as much on. Seriously. It was by no means universally positive, but every reader (whether they loved it or hated it) had some amazingly useful insights that I’m definitely going to return to soon. They highlighted things that I and my betas completely missed, as well as little things that I’d swept under the carpet, hoping no-one would notice. Lots of subjective, fascinating opinions on characters and plot, and a few comments that have just made my life, my favourite of which being — ‘The tone of the work is wonderful. As mentioned above, there’s an ethereal feel to the story, and it mixes well—and uniquely—with the Grecian/1920s setting.’ For some reason, this really tickles me!
Most excitingly, Agent-Lady — who I spoke to back in September — got back to me (and I’m so terrified of jinxing this that I’m not going to say much) but good things and I’m chatting to one of her associates tomorrow morning (asdfghjkl!!) Even if nothing comes of it, it’s pepped me up from my pit-of-query-hell slump. And unless I’m completely misreading the emails, Agent-Lady seemed pretty pleased with the excerpt I sent? I think? But I’m refusing to look too positively into it. We will see how things go tomorrow 🙂