Over the years, I have learnt to be relatively audacious (a word still can’t spell without spellcheck). So, when Writers Victoria invited me (not personally, just everyone on their mailing list) to attend a Pitch-Speed Dating event, I did not allow the fact that I have not yet completed my first draft of my manuscript to be an impediment to signing up and attending the event.
So, today I pitched to some very impressive publishing houses the idea for my book. They were impressed, and invited formal pitches. I felt like a winner.
Then, as the organisers were closing up shop, I approached one of the literary agents who had set up a stall in the back corner of a room. She looked exactly as someone who works in the literary world should look: striking silver hair, dark-rimmed glasses, a turtleneck and a tartan checked blazer.
Emboldened by my impressive track record so far, I downloaded my novel idea onto this weary literary agent.
How much of the book have you written?” she asked.
Damn, she saw straight through me.
“Ummm, I’m a third through,” I admitted.
“You should not approach anyone until you are at least up to draft 3 of your novel. You only get one go. Don’t blow it. You need to go, and write. In 18 months, you’ll be ready to approach people.”
Now, with my proverbial tail between my legs, I will have to approach the publishers who expressed interest in my book and retract my offer to send through chapters and proposals.
After all, I only get one shot at it.
So, what’s the take-home? Should I have less chutzpa? Should I be more rule-abiding? Should I throw caution to the wind and send off my unfinished first drafts anyway? I’ll have to defer to my mentor, Mother Jo, on this one. But I’ll let you know.