This is the second post of my experience at CrimeFest; Part I is here.
So Pitch-An-Agent was one of the reasons why I wanted to go to CrimeFest this year. The writer part of me, as opposed to the crime fiction reader getting the chance for ten minutes each with three literary agents to ‘pitch’ my book. Ahead of the meetings I was asked to submit a one thousand five hundred word synopsis, and the first three thousand words of the book I was pitching. In my case ‘Killer Bytes’.
The best way I can describe how I felt prior to going into the room was akin to waiting for a job interview. It’s been seven years since I last had a formal job interview, but you never forget those nerves. Once in the room though it was nothing like a job interview, in fact it was a very positive experience, with constructive feedback from all three agents. Questions about me, my book and my plans. I’d deliberately not gone into that room with any preconceptions, at least other than a healthy set of nerves! I wasn’t expecting to come out with promises of representation, I was hoping to come away inspired to write more. I got exactly that.
From the three interviews, I received honest and constructive feedback. Perhaps the harshest was that novellas are not commercially viable (unless you’re already a big name author or prepared to solely self-publish). Now Killer Bytes has been selling okay, but if I’m looking for a commercial publishing contract, Killer Bytes won’t be the book that does it, at least not in its current format. I received lots of other comments, tips and ideas, all of which I’m intending to take on board and act upon.
One of the agents would like to read the whole manuscript; another would like to read the whole thing, if I can bring it up to a full length novel; the final agent gave me some incredible feedback, but ‘Bytes’ just wasn’t her thing.
Now there was a lot of detail in what I was told, which I am not going to go into as it would take a lot of time, and would probably be pretty boring to anyone other than me. I have however reached a decision as to what I am going to do with Killer Bytes.
Simply put, I am going to stop my work on the sequel to Killer Bytes, and go back to my original manuscript. I’m going to see if I can bring it up to a full length novel, which will be about another fifty-thousand words. There are some ideas that I dropped from the original, plus some of the tips that I received at CrimeFest; it’s probably also going to need a sub-plot. I’m not sure where this will get to, I’ll see.
I’m also going to be withdrawing Killer Bytes from sale. At least until I see where I’ve gotten to with revisions and further development. If I can bring it up to full-length, I will give anyone who has already bought the novella a free copy of the full length version. It will also probably change titles; that was another piece of feedback.
I haven’t felt more inspired with Killer Bytes, than perhaps the day I originally clicked the publish button on-line in January, so I think this is the right thing to do. I’m sure not everyone will agree with me, but I have to give it a go. Wil Jackson and Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Price deserve it.
- CrimeFest 2012 Part I (tontowilliams.com)