I’m a brilliantly terrible networker. I simply don’t do it. My stammer makes me massively self-conscious when speaking to new people, and so the idea of me voluntarily inflicting myself upon others is a silly one.
On the other hand, I’m a terribly brilliant emailer. My stammer has likely made me compensate for my lack of verbal nous by increasing my writing skills, and so the idea of me voluntarily inflicting myself upon others in that way is a good one.
As an author looking for an agent, I’ve recently come to realise that having people in my corner who actually know what the process is like, could well be a good thing. It’ll also give me an idea of whether I actually stand a hope in hell’s chance of succeeding, or whether I’m one of those delusional nutters who’s the literary equivalent of the worst X Factor auditionee. (If only there was a way to Autotune my writing, eh?)
So I’ve dipped my toes into the online arena in this regard, and have already lucked into at least one author who I can now proudly call a friend. It’s great to be able to talk about my writing with people other than my family and existing mates, and the cool thing is that I don’t feel out of place in other authors’ company. Also, the grand search for an agent sees a lot of common ground and shared experience. Everyone’s been rejected, everyone’s had the overly tense wait for feedback, everyone’s had optimistic hopes and crushing disappointments.
What chatting to other authors tells me, is that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently that light has seemed a lot closer. Doubtless there will be other setbacks along the way, and even when I do find an agent, it’s only the first step towards a career in the publishing industry. The worry about agents will move to worries about the book being sold to a publisher, and then being ready enough to be released, and then selling enough copies for a second novel to be viable, and then delivering that novel, and so on and so forth.
But you know what? I can’t wait. And recently, I’ve genuinely started to believe that I’m going to do it.