I wrote 2 YA novels before writing DARK DAYS.
I started querying with my second novel, a YA fantasy, but the book didn’t get far. I got lots of rejections and 2 partial requests, which didn’t amount to anything.
While this book was out on submission, I started to write DARK DAYS. This was something I was itching to get to. I love dystopian books. I really wanted to write my own, and I was very excited to create Sia’s world.
When DARK DAYS was written, checked and checked again, I wrote a query letter and was ready to send it out to agents. It took a couple of months to write the book, and in that time I’d heard back from almost all the agencies I’d queried with the other title.
Even though my previous novel didn’t set me up with an agent, I didn’t see it as a failure. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the experience I needed when it came to querying DARK DAYS.
I sent out queries in batches and kept an organised list to avoid contacting someone twice, and to keep on top of where my book was and how long it’d been there.
I bought the CHILDREN’S WRITERS’ AND ARTISTS’ YEARBOOK as suggested by The Edge group, who I met at a Waterstones event. They were so supportive and gave me some brilliant advice. This book is a great resource and I’d definitely recommend it.
I spent some time looking at agency websites. I looked at what authors the agency represented and if I might fit their list, and at the agent profiles to see who would be best suited to my work.
I always addressed the agent by name and read their submission guidelines carefully. I found that most wanted to be queried with a synopsis (usually 2 pages) and 3 chapters of the book.
For DARK DAYS, I made a list of 10 carefully selected agents to send it to first.
I received a full manuscript request from Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. after a few days. Her enthusiasm for DARK DAYS was wonderful, and I was delighted when Isabel emailed to tell me that she loved the story and was interested in signing.