Juliet and I had two rounds of editing.
First she sent me notes on characters, plot and pacing and a request to cut 10,000 words. “I think it’s VERY nearly there, just needs some nips and tucks!” Thank god she is an agent and not a surgeon. A 10% cut? Impossible.
Actually, she was right. When you target thirty odd words a page, it is amazing how many stray words, phrases, scenes and even chapters fail to earn their keep.
The second round was notes on the manuscript, lots of encouragement but a few highlighted areas that needed attention. All valid. All fixable.
I am very lucky, not all agents would invest so much time in a new author; Juliet is a human dynamo.
By summer 2017 we were ready for submission to publishers.
I know a lot of people in this happy position have found submission every bit as stressful as querying, but Juliet warned me early on that not all her projects found a home; she is a bit of a risk taker, going for what she likes as much as what she knows will sell. I had already made a decision that it might take another 300 days. So I left it up to her and started writing something new.
I needn’t have worried
Some rejections from publishers made me smile (along the lines of – loved this as a reader, but have no idea how to publish it) and then BINGO several offers rolled in at once. First for audio, then for print.
After negotiation, Juliet advised me to accept a two book contract with Oneworld (PointBlank) for print and W.F. Howes for audio.
And that made me cry.
Because the people I most wanted to tell—my brave and brilliant, loving and supportive parents—passed away that same summer within a few days of one another, and I miss them so.