08 January 2007

What does the new year hold for Mervyn?

I have four aims for Mervyn this year. In no particular order:-

1. Find a literary agent to represent me and find a publisher.
2. Make feedback changes to Mervyn Bright & the Marauders.
3. Construct a Mervyn Bright Website.
4. Complete the first draft of book two.

Finding an agent has to be the main priority for 2007, and I’ve made a start already. I’ve sent three sample chapters, a story synopsis, and story briefs for books two and three to Philip Patterson at Majacq Scripts, the agent who originally showed interest in Mervyn at the Winchester Writer’s Conference in 2005. I know he rejected the original half-baked script I sent last year, but I feel duty bound to give him first refusal at the finished novel.

If he does turn me down again, and I fully expect him to, I’ll start approaching the rest of the market. What happens if I can’t find an agent? Panic, I think. Maybe approach publishers directly, or think or a self publish strategy which attracts their attention, or look for an agent in the USA. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Obtaining feedback from the target audience is proving more difficult than I had anticipated. The children of friends and family are either too old or two young, so I’m forced to look elsewhere. There have been 7 downloads from Lulu.com, but I know that at least two of those are from adults – two others are from placing a bulletin on a Harry Potter group on My Space. Whether any of these leave reviews, or even read the book is hit-and-miss. I desperately need feedback from youngsters so a different approach is needed – what I need is a captive audience, a school literature project or something. Anyone out there interested in getting their pupils involved with a developing author?

I signed up for a free domain name with Microsoft Office Online, but now I’ve discovered I cannot link my website to third party providers to bring in external pages such as this blog or the download page in Lulu.com. I looks like I'll need to pay an annual fee to get what I want. I’ve never joined in the general witch-hunt against Microsoft, but they do seem to want their ‘pound of flesh.’ I’ve had some tips on possible cheaper providers so I’ll try again.

Book two, provisionally called ,Mervyn Bright and the Ark of Knowledge,, is progressing well. I’m currently putting together a scene brief (see previous blogs on the new writing process – if I had a website I’d set up a page explaining my process) and have loads of ideas. I have a feeling this is going to be better than the first book – by that I mean more tightly plotted. Sorting out the cause and effect of the plot at the very beginning of the writing process certainly helps pull everything together. It eliminates that feeling of doubt at not knowing where the story is going. I’m itching to get writing for real, but I know that if I’m disciplined and complete a scene brief followed by an expanded scene brief it’ll reduce the writing time for the new book by a whole year.

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