Okay, so the above is a slight exaggeration – it’s only been three months. The wait, that is. The wait for news. Yes, back at the beginning of April the unbelievable finally seemed possible, as the full draft of my novel Certainty was requested by one of the biggest and best literary agencies in the UK. I had to pinch myself – I was just a bit tiny bit excited. But the initial hardly-being-able-to-sleep feeling and the obsessive checking of my email subsided a short while before it drove me insane, and increasingly the whole thing has seemed like it happened to someone else. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.
However, with the wait approaching a full quarter of the year I started thinking about it more again, and a few days ago I figured that it probably time for something horrible: Chico ti… I mean, chaser email time. Now, as soon as the thought entered my head, I knew that I was likely on a hiding to nothing. How to word such an email to a literary agent is the writer’s equivalent of sprinting through a minefield in Helmand Province. What’s the dividing line between keenness and desperation? What about the one between sounding overly hassly as opposed to seeming like you don’t really give a shit? It’s easy to over-dramatise just how nerve-wracking this was, but it really was one of those situations where I felt just one wrong sentence could torpedo my chances.
I was worried that I’d go round and round in obsessive circles on this, but luckily I had help. The author I speak to from time to time was quick to come up with a draft email for me (unprompted as well, the lovely fellow), and my wife had her own good advice about the tone I should use. Using a combination of the two, I cobbled together a new version that I was happy with, and after reading it back to myself a few (okay, over ten) times this lunchtime, I sent it.
I very quickly received an out of office reply. The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the devil’s own satanic herd, etc. This is pretty typical of my luck. However, one forwarding of the email to the agent’s assistant later, I got a promise that she’d let him know about it on his return. Soon, then, I should be put out of my misery. Or further entrenched into it.