Sunday, 23 September 2012

Foyles Discovery Day - A tale of pitching to an agent and getting lost

This is a post that combines my writing life and how my Apserger's can affect it, as it surely did yesterday.  Yesterday I went to Foyles Disovery Day, where writers had booked to pitch to an agent face-to-face. I was v lucky to get a place, as someone had dropped out and I managed to get that place. I have not been as far as Foyles before so wasn't quite sure where I was going. I managed to find my way there from Charing Cross Station by asking someone for directions and reading street maps, which helped me a lot. It took me 15 mins to get there, and I was on time.
    I joined the queue and had my name ticked off a list. I waited for a while before I was called in. The agent from Curtis Brown was v friendly. I shook her hand, told her my name, sat down and did my pitch for Boring Billy. She then asked me about it, my background and whom I like to read and inspires me to write what I do. I said Linda Chapman because I love the way she writes about magic and the different types of it. She then read the first page and told me that it was a lovely and simple idea, well-written (all good points for me) but I needed to write more about Billy's feelings and make him more the protaganist doing the moving along rather than a victim. When she said that, I got an idea, which after my pitch I went and wrote down. After those minutes, which were v helpful to me, I went out the room and sat with another author whom I'd met in the queue and from SCBWI and chatted to. Then when the lady who was behind me in the queue came along, we all were taken downstairs to the cafe where we were seated with another person from the agency and asked her questions. Here is what we asked, and I did most of the asking,

Top 3 tips for authors submitting:
1. Make opening and the charcter v strong. Grab the reader.
2.Let the agent know what you do and what the story is about
3.Make sure the ms is as polished as it can be.

I asked if there was a gap in the market for books aimed at 7-9s that appeals to boys and girls. Was told to go onto their blog and ask another agent. This I will do later on.

I also asked what age they thought children start reading from ipads etc. She said probably from when they can  read.

When you submit online, you put your name, genre of ms, and you can choose from a drop-down menu which agent you wish to send your ms to. Or you can choose to send it to the New Writing Team of readers, who will read it and if they like it enough will pass it on to the agents.

Were they selling ebooks now more than print ones? Not yet, but getting there. Sees in the future that they might do ebooks only, and hard backs will come collectable items or just for niche markets and non-fiction.

We had a half hour wait after that until the draw. The first 3 names were of people not in the audience but the fourth was.

Then it was time to go home. And time I got completely lost. I ended up getting two buses back to Charing Cross, as I couldn't find the road again, even though I had come out in to it. I worked out this morning that after I crossed the road, I went left when I should've gone right and back up the road where I had come from. I ended up walking furhter away from where I had started from, so got lost, panicked and upset. This is where my Asperger's kicked in. People with autism don't like going to places where they don't know, and if they do, like me, they get upset.  I now know from his and here are the lessons I have learnt from it, things I should've done:

1. Taken a map with me.
2. When I came out of Foyles, got my bearing and worked out which way I had come from
3. If that doesn't work, then go back into the shop and ask directions.
4.Try not to panic next time. Go back to the start.

In hindsight, I should've taken the map with me, or asked at Foyles. I have learnt also that I work best with a map instead of asking people. I tend to get more confused with people's directions.

All in all though, I was pleased I went to Foyles, as I found it v helpful for my Billy story, which I will change the first page later on with what I have been told.


kathryn evans said...

Well done Julie - I don't think you should feel ashamed of getting upset when you were lost. After all, you did find your way eventually. I'd be upset if I got lost too - and I don't have Aspergers to deal with x

Julie Day said...

Thank you, Kathryn. You are not the only one who has said to me on line that they can get lost, too. I think the point is to learn from it and move forward.