victoria connelly
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Victoria Connelly recently signed with one of the country's biggest agents and here she talks about how she went about it.

How did you decide which agents to send to?
I looked in The Writer's Handbook to find out which agents were looking for women's fiction and which clients they already represented. I also found it useful to look at the 'acknowledgements' section of my favourite books as authors often give their agents a mention

What did you send to your agent in the first instance?
The first three chapters of my novel, a blurb, a one-page synopsis, a page of character biographies, and a covering letter. Oh, and a stamped addressed envelope in case it was rejected!

How long did you wait to hear from your agent?
It's normal to wait about 6 - 8 weeks but I think it took a bit longer for mine to be seen as I submitted during the build-up to the Frankfurt Book Fair. I've been told that submitting in August and around Christmas means a
longer wait too. I'm afraid you've just got to get on with the next novel and wait until it's your turn to be read.

Did your agent want to see the whole manuscript?
Yes. I got an email requesting the whole manuscript and the agent asked for
sole submission at this stage.

Was the whole manuscript finished?
Yes, luckily! I did, once, send out the first three chapters before finishing a novel, just to see if the story was any good, but I'm usually quite disciplined about finishing first.

How long did it take you to write your novel?
It took only four months to write the first draft which is incredibly quick for me. It was just such a fun story to tell. However, I have since done two lots of rewrites which added on a couple of months. When I'm working
full-time, a novel will usually take me about a year to write.

What kept you going?
The determination to succeed and the absolute conviction that I didn't ever want to do anything else. I've been a civil servant, a personal secretary, a courier and a teacher, but nothing makes me as happy as writing.

What advice would you give other writers currently seeking an agent?
Submit to as many agents as possible. There are dozens out there and their tastes are all so different. If you've worked hard, got compelling characters, and a unique way of seeing the world and you're still receiving
rejections, it could just be a matter of an agent not liking your writing style.

Try to join an organisation like the Romantic Novelists' Association and go to meetings where agents speak. Listen to their advice, ask lots of questions and approach them with your ideas.

Most of all, give yourself the time and space to write, and be prepared to rewrite, re-read and resubmit until you find the right agent for you!

Since this interview Victoria has secured a publishing deal with a leading German publisher and her novel is on the shortlist for the prestigous RNA New Writers' Award! Check out Victoria's website at www.victoriaconnelly.com.