It was the summer of the big push. The plan for this year was to get across no-man’s-land and find myself an agent. In June, my writing career was poised on the brink of breakthrough.
As I reported in this blog the literary consultancy, Cornerstones, asked to see as revised version of my novel The Golden Illusion. They act as scouts for agents. I was thrilled! The book is a mystery story with a twist. The sleuth is a conjurer who believes he hunts an ancient illusion. Instead, he reveals a conspiracy concealing an atrocity that spans the centuries.
Writing is a cruel game though. At the end of August, Cornerstones decided not to represent the book. Though they were very complimentary about it, it was still a rejection. They said:
“The concept is high – a magician as your protagonist is gripping – he’s intriguing and mysterious and powerful. His voice is accessible and engaging and the ancient magic has an allure. In a way, this is submittable right now and you may well get agent interest.”
Despite that, they felt it needed more work – more than they were willing to risk. So here I am, still in no-man’s-land, all barbed wire and mud and shell craters filled with water. Another big push repulsed. I’ve been through this before when a publisher showed interest and then rejected the book, and also with an agent.
All you can do is pick yourself up again. And again. And keep heading across the field to the far trenches. But I get better at handling defeat. I have flanking manoeuvres now. Though none of my novels has yet survived going over the top into hostile terrain, I know I can get short stories published. I fired off five stories to magazines. I have another two on the launch pad. With that many, there’s a good chance of some being accepted and cheering myself up. In fact, one story, Bomaru’s Quest Part IV, has already been accepted and published today by Literally Stories. You can read it here.