Monday, 27 July 2009


Like many Brits of my generation when ever I hear the word 'submission' I immediately bring to mind Saturday afternoon TV wrestling. Remember commentator Kent Walton? "Two falls and one submission ..." All that dancing around - Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Big Daddy, and, of course, quintessentially British artist Peter Blake's muse, Kendo Nagasaki.

I digress. Submission used here refers to a proposal package for literary agents and publishers.

Sent a submission by email yesterday. The package totalled 32 pages. Not a bad length I thought, given that one page is the title page, one page is the cover blurb, two pages of synopsis and two pages of readers' comments. So, there's only 25 pages of double-spaced text. (No, my arithmetic is not at fault - among the pages of text is a separator between prologue and chapter one.) Twenty-five pages - shouldn't take that long to read and decide whether they'd like to see more. Six weeks they tell submitters, two months at the outside.

It is said that well-known agent Giles Gordon would decide a manuscript's fate after just fifteen seconds' perusal.

I've decided to give Goya one last fling on the agent/publisher roundabout.
I've only submitted various drafts of Goya to a total of 7 UK agents and 2 US agents.
The first UK agent I submitted to hung onto the full manuscript for 14 months on an exclusive basis. One of the US agents did not reply.

I've learned a hell of a lot since then. The 'script is a lot tighter. My expectations regarding agents are considerably lower. And, I think, I'm beginning to master the skill of synopses.

So, today, I've set myself the task of reducing what's currently a two-page synopsis to a single page. I'll let you know how I get on.

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