Monday, 23 August 2010

BLOG-FLASH...New York agent, Nat Sobel, has 'signed up' little old me...!!!

But things could've been so very different...

Around October 2009 I heard from A Twist Of Noir Editor, Christopher Grant, that a powerhouse in the publishing world was hunting on the internet for new talent. I believe Chris put forward a few names, and, being the type of genuine guy who looks out for his mates, Chris kindly pointed Nat Sobel in the direction of Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers. Matt Hilton gave me the heads up that Nat Sobel had described my writing as 'impressive' and informed me to expect an email. Gulp, I thought, recalling what Nat had done for Stuart Neville and The Ghosts of Belfast.

Now then, obviously the tingle of excitement was there, but I heard absolutely nothing for a few weeks, yet there were rumbles in the blogosphere that other writers had been invited to send stuff to Nat.

Then it struck me like a slap in the face...

While co-editing TKnC, Matt 'n' I were receiving lots of spam per day, as our emails were on the site for all to see 'n' abuse... I had deleted Nat Sobel's email!

Had I blown my big chance before it had begun? In early November I wrote Nat an email designed to resurrect my chances, and thankfully, he requested the first pages of my crime novel. However, those pages changed several times, with Nat looking for 'improvement'. I later sent him the whole novel and he suggested many, many changes.

By early 2010, when Nat asked me to basically start from scratch, my head nearly popped! It was very heavy going, but I soldiered on, and re-sent it. When many more changes were suggested it nearly sent me under! If I change that bit, then that bit doesn't make sense... I was tired from work... the kids kept interrupting me... the dog kept interrupting me... the wife kept interrupting me... sleep kept inter'... you get the message. My family have been brilliant throughout and I sincerely appreciate their patience.

I did the changes, and noticed the novel was taking shape and reading better. A couple of months ago, I sent off draft three. The waits in between each draft being sent were torturous. Expecting a, 'No, you're shit really, and this was a big mistake.' It came back requiring more edits... so I did them, wondering when I'd actually reach a point when it would be good enough.

Last night at 3.00 am (I write better at night) my email pinged with Nat's response to draft four... That tingle of excited again... "...It seems to me that you have done all the work I’ve asked for... We are going forward... My plans for the novel are... ...I can’t guarantee publication, but I am going to really try...."

I didn't cry (okay there was a solitary tear, but don't tell Nat!), but my relief was tangible.

Nothing has happened yet, I know, but big steps have been taken on this steep learning curve, and I am honoured to be represented by someone as experienced and professional as Nat Sobel. And it's fair to say that he squeezed this novel out of me.

I would like to thank all my friends in the blogosphere for your support and encouragement, in particular those I'm in daily contact with - you know who you are.

Also a big shout to Chris Grant for the fateful role he played. And who says networking doesn't work?

The moral of the story is... check your spam before clicking delete!


Ps. Off to Scotland for a few days for a rest :)


SueH said...

Am really stoked for you, Col! (and just a shade jealous.....;-p) Hope it all progresses well - keeps us informed, won't you!

And enjoy Scotland :-)

David Barber said...

Oh, so your coming up here to gloat are you? I' better get my £1 ready!

Seriously, Col. Awesome news and I'm sure it'll be a complete success for you. You deserve it, mate. I'm not jelous though, I'll be right behind you one day soon.......fingers crossed.

Well done, mate!

Susie said...

Fabulous news - will be watching your progress every step of the way.

Lily Childs said...

I am SOOOOO proud of you! You've worked so hard for this, and Nat obviously believed in you. It's been great to read about the journey, even the hard bits. But you did it. Well done Col.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...


That is so awsome. I have read a few interviews with Nat Sobel. He reminds me of an agent from the old days, kind of like Fitzgerald's agent, Harold Ober. Best of luck mate, you earned it!

Paul D Brazill said...

This is fantastic news. I'm well chuffed for you! The North will rise again!

Chris Rhatigan said...

That's phenomenal news, Col. It's nice to see hard work and persistence pay off!

Naomi Johnson said...

Saying congratulations just doesn't cover it. Oh, the high you must be on right now. Nat Sobel as your agent -- you couldn't be in better hands. I'll be here cheering you on, my plastic in hand for that day when your "debut" novel at last appears in the stores.

Steven Chapman said...

Yeeehaahh! Well done Col, all that hard work is finally paying off ey! Congratulations on the amazing news.

Nigel Bird said...

"Ambition: to be a crime thriller novelist."
I hear another angel is about to get his wings.
True that.

Christopher Grant said...

Congratulations, Col.

Whatever small part I played in this happening, I'm happy to have played.

As I've said a thousand times, to the point where it sounds cliche and I'm sure some people might think it's fake, there's absolutely no reason that we can't all succeed at the same time. There's no reason to cut anyone's throat when we're all just trying to do the same thing the best way we know how.

And so I'm happy to have pointed Nat Sobel in your direction.

You, sir, are the one that did all the hard work and who can say now that it doesn't pay off?

Congratulations again, you're most deserving.

David Cranmer said...

Congratulations, sir. Very good news.

Author said...

Fantastic news - and well deserved. Many, many congratulations!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Great news. Many and much congratulations.

Unknown said...

(Apologies for not responding individually, but am up in a few hours for me trip North).

THANKS to everyone for the roles you've played in dragging me to, not the finish line, but to the start. I do realise it's tough to sell a debut novel these days, so my feet are firmly ... in mid air ... wow, am floating, man ... sorry, on the floor! :)

Catch you all in a few days.
Respect 'n' Regards,

Lee Hughes said...

Hehe, now the blackmail can commence. Write down a number Col and I'll decide whether to accept.

Gratz bud, I know how hard you worked on the novel to get this far, and it is a stonker of a book.

Alan Griffiths said...

Awesome news Col, I'm so glad all your hard work and talent is paying off with dividends.

Enjoy your break and come back refreshed.

Kind regards.

David Barber said...

Alan, it'll be no break....he's coming to see me. Ha! And he's bringing vodka!

Patsy said...

Wonderful new!

Unknown said...

I really appreciate all your kind comments.

Anonymous said...

I know this has been an exhausting but rewarding time for you. I'm happy that Nat Sobel saw your potential. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Knackeringly good news, Col!

Unknown said...

Many thanks, Ladies!

Glenn Gray said...

Hey Col,

What great news! You're on your way. Congrats! Best of luck...

Unknown said...

Hope so!
Cheers, Glenn.