Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Sunday Morning Chat

This is where I found myself on Sunday morning. This is Chester City Hall. As part of the Chester Literature Festival, I was booked in to speak to a lovely lady called Carrie Kania, an agent from Conville and Walsh. The slot was for fifteen minutes, not long, to discuss the first fifty pages of my novel which I had previously emailed to her.

I was directed up a sweeping staircase to wait on a wooden bench. I don't know if it's allowed but I took the opportunity to photograph the impressive, gothic interior. You can find a couple of shots at the bottom of this post.

After waiting for only a couple of minutes (I was early), one of the heavy wooden doors opened. The writer before me left and Carrie invited me in, a small dog trotting at her heels. Her dog is called Foxy and once he had barked at me sufficiently to let me know who was boss, he settled down for a snooze. I nervously took a seat, notepad in hand, ready to hear the verdict on my writing.

Carrie was relaxed, chatty and very professional in her manner. She talked about my writing, my cover letter, the market for my work and where I should go from here. Her advice on my cover letter was detailed and thorough, to the point that I now feel confident about writing it. I've shown my novel to other readers and writers, but having an agent with an in depth knowledge of the publishing world see my work was always going to prove incredibly useful.

The verdict was that the standard of my writing and my novel was already at the point where I could submit it to an agent. Carrie advised that I send it out to agents who specialise in the genre and age group that I'm writing in (12+/teen fantasy), three to five at a go.

I came across the advert for the Chester Literature Festival completely by chance but I'm so pleased that I took the time to find out about it all. The meeting with Carrie has enthused me to carry on with my novel, knowing that I'm on the right track.

I have a final draft to finish (I'm about halfway there already), and then a cover letter and synopsis to write. I've already compiled a list of suitable agents (one of which is Conville and Walsh where Carrie works). Hopefully, I can begin to contact them in November.

Wish me luck.

Carrie and Foxy
- image from www.chesterperforms.com



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