Exactly a year ago today, on the 18th November 2009, I sat at my computer, took a deep breath, and pressed “send”.
The email was addressed to Kate Wilson, a contact of a colleague, who I had been told would be happy to give me a view on whether the book I had written for my daughter’s 12th birthday was anywhere near publishable. I had already submitted to one agent but not yet heard anything. By return, I got a nice response from Kate approving the Suzanne Vega reference in the title. That was was encouraging. Then on the 20th (I keep a note of these things!) I got an email back asking for the full manuscript and suggesting that we meet up.
Hugely excited, I sent off the vast file and sat back to wait. And wait. And then wait some more. I didn’t want to approach any more agents as I was hoping that Kate (who hadn’t even started up Nosy Crow at this point) would give me an ‘in’ which might short-circuit the slushpile. But Kate was busy (very busy, I discovered later), and I heard nothing more for a while. I got a rejection from the first agent. It seemed that my novel was destined to be a family affair, not an international bestseller.
In the New Year, I gave Kate a gentle prompt, and – hurrah! – we finally arranged to have that coffee. We met in Café Valerie near Sloane Square on the 12th January. Sizing each other up, we decided we liked what we saw, and by the end of the meeting I had an offer for the book which was to be Nosy Crow’s launch publication. On the 27th January, I met with Kate and Camilla at the Nosy Crow “North London Office” – the Wellcome Trust Cafe on Euston Road – and signed a contract for not just Small Blue Thing, but for a trilogy of books. (The photograph is of Kate and me, with Kate signing the contract.)
My feet haven’t touched the ground since!