Friday, 12 February 2010

My first official sale

It has happened! At last.

Ok, so I haven't bagged myself a publishing deal, or an agent, but I have sold my first story.

The dear, darling, wonderful people at People's Friend have decided that my story, 'Don't Fuss, Vera!', was worthy of publication.

The news came just as I have made arrangements at work to start taking one day off a week to write.

Last May and June I went through a burst of short story writing, as I realised that my attempts to get an agent for my book weren't likely to be well received without any other writing experience (unless you count numerous academic and professional publications on heart warming matters like people trafficking, international corruption and human rights, which they don't).

I have to admit, when I started thinking about writing short stories for magazines, I thought it would be easier. I read the stories and thought, 'yeah, easy, I can do this'. But then I wrote nine stories in a couple of months, put them into little envelopes with a tiny fragment of my heart, and sent them off to all and sundry.

One by one, they found their way back home.

I'd already discovered the depressing effect of those little brown envelopes with my self-made address labels on them from my efforts to get an agent for my first book. Given that I used the same envelopes, I was never quite sure what to expect when I saw them sitting there, so innocently, waiting for me to take a deep breath, open them up and feel a tad more dejected.

But there was one, my little tale about a fusspot called Vera, that never returned.

I thought perhaps she had gone missing, that she had lost her way home. As I had submitted her last May, I figured that the postal service had let her down. I even thought about resubmitting the story, because it felt good. My husband loved it.

But something stopped me from doing anything about it. Perhaps because I didn't want to see dear old Vera turn up in a brown paper envelope like the rest of them, attached to a little note saying that she was trite or predictable or some such.

And then, after months of not daring to hope, not daring to check, of still having to resist the urge to rummage through the post urgently every day, she came back when I least expected it, complete with a letter telling me that they enjoyed it!

How sweetly do those words ring after almost a year of 'it's not for me', which seems to be the phrase that agents and publishers think are the least offensive to writers' sensitivities.

It was lovely to see her again.