Dispatches From The Querying Trenches - April. Guest Blog by Kirsten Hesketh.

Posted on 29th April, 2017

It's the last weekend of the month again and so it's time for a catch-up with Kirsten to find out the latest in her writing life. This month she has some exciting news that will hearten all writers who are hoping to attract a literary agent.


Over to you, Kirsten!


* * * *


As many of you know, I love Twitter and I love entering Twitter writing contests. #Pitmad, #Pitchwars, #PitchCB …. you name it, I’m up for it. Much more exciting than slugging though Draft 367 of my WIP …


So, of course I entered #PitchDHH. It looked fun . A bit different. Send the usual submission package to your chosen agent and, if selected, come up to London to pitch your novel in person. What wasn’t to like. Even better, Broo Doherty represents a couple of very enthusiastic friends and I was going to submit to her anyway...


I had nothing to lose.


Then we made a last minute booking to our favourite holiday cottage in Cornwall. I think I may have registered it was the same week as #PitchDHH but, hey, we all really needed a break and I’d never get chosen …


Only I did.


I did!


It was so exciting! Pretty much the most thrilling thing that’s happened to me as an aspiring writer. Apparently there were over 500 entries to the five agents and they’d chosen twelve each and … mine was one of them. Wow!


Then the confusion and panic set in. I’d be miles away at Lantic Bay on the allotted day. What to do?


I should go. Of course I should go - opportunities like this don’t come along every day …


But then again, I’d be leaving the family holiday for a ten minute pitch and I might make a total tit of myself and maybe I should explain and we could just chat on the phone …


On the other hand, an agent wanted to meet me to discuss my work! I’d only be leaving Cornwall a day early and then I could go home and check on the 17 year old, home alone for the first time …


But …


And so on and so on. Round and round in circles. Pontification-Central.


In the end, I went. Of course I went.


And I’m so glad I did.


An early morning stroll to our favourite beach and then my lovely husband and daughter dropped me off at Plymouth Station. Four hours later I was basking in the sunshine at Trafalgar Square before making my way to The Library - a swanky members’ club on St Martin’s Lane. Waiting in reception, I got to meet some of the other pitchees and put faces to Twitter names (lovely to meet you, Rachael Dunlop.) Then I was ushered in for my ten minutes with Broo.


I was so over-hyped I can’t remember much. I think I went red in the face and babbled like an idiot for the entire ten minutes! I’m prone to do that! But Broo was lovely. She’d read and made notes on my submission so it was more a chat than a pitch. And it was absolutely brilliant! Can there be anything more valuable to an aspiring author than seeing your writing through the eyes of a top London agent? Having them taking your work seriously? I’m still buzzing about it and it has really spurred me on. Anyway, Broo liked my chapters (phew!) but wasn’t sure that the prologue is necessary and my synopsis is a bit all over the place (I hate synopses!) She was kind enough to request the full manuscript (squee!) and that was the icing on the cake but, even had she not, the session would still have been well worth attending.


DHH are planning to run this event again and, if you are an unagented writer, I’d thoroughly recommend going for it. Even if you have to travel all the way from Cornwall.


PS. Broo asked me to let her know that the 17 year old had survived being home alone. I’m pleased to report he’d been absolutely fine, the cats had been fed and the house was only marginally more untidy than normal! No raves. Win win all round!



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Comments (23)

Thank you so much, Jay, xx
Thanks for dropping by, Jan, and for passing on your good wishes to Kirsten. I agree with you - this is a huge achievement for her.
Congratulations on your exciting news, Kirsten. 🙂 For a top agent to request your full MS is definitely something to celebrate in itself - wow! - and good luck with the next stage. Sending you good wishes. X
Thank you Jen. I'm toasting you back with a virtual Curly Wurly! Do you get those in Canada? Much love xx
Thank you Julie - your kind words mean a lot to me. I'll keep you posted on Draft 497 ....!! ;-) xx
Jen, thanks for commenting and leaving Kirsten your congratulations. This is such a wonderful thing to happen. Kirsten deserves to be very chuffed with herself.
Julie, how lovely to hear from you. I'm pleased you enjoyed Kirsten's blog. It is always good to hear of another writer's happy news, isn't it?
Such a wonderful post, Kirsten, and a very big step forward on your journey. No matter what happens next, this is brilliant news and should be celebrated! Congratulations! I'm toasting you with virtual ice cream! xx
How very exciting! Well done. I could totally empathise with all your worries - Cornwall, teens, London etc - and I'm so glad that everything worked out for you on the day. I'm even more pleased to hear that Broo liked your book so much that she wants to read the full ms. Very well done and let us know how it all goes with draft 368 ;) Best wishes xx
Thank you, lovely Karen. I'm trying to celebrate each step as it comes without looking too far into the future. No pressure on anyone. If I never got any further than this, i'd be happy #maybe xx
I'm glad you enjoyed Kirsten's blog, Karen. It's wonderful, isn't it, to share her happy news? And it's so good that she got along with Broo Doherty on a personal level. That's essential. Fingers crossed for what happens next.
Hi, Moira. We're all hoping Kirsten has the best news of all to share with us in the not too distant future.
Thanks, Kate. I think we've all got our fingers crossed for Kirsten. Thanks for sending your good wishes.
Another fascinating blog post, Kirsten & Susanna. It all sounds very exciting, Kirsten. So glad it went well. Broo Doherty sounds lovely. Fingers and toes crossed for you xxx
Thanks Moira - and thank you for all your support. Really looking forward to the launch of your book this summer!! Squeee ... xx
Thanks Kate! Really hope that one of the lovely agents who have asked for the full like it and if it was Broo, that would be fantastic. Unlike this grammar! Hope things are good with you xx
Well doen Kirsten and hurrah! Hope it all goes well and you soon have some even more exciting news!! x
Congratulations Kirsten, that's brilliant news. Fingers crossed that Broo loves the full manuscript! x
Thank you Vanessa I'm so pleased you enjoyed the post! I agree, I think once you've written the ruddy thing to the best of your ability it's all about getting it out there and not being too precious. I really really hope it's about to happen for us both! xxxx
Hi, Vanessa. I'm glad you enjoyed Kirsten's blog. One of the things I love about her posts is that she is so upfront and honest about everything and I think this is appreciated by her readers too.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
How VERY exciting! And a great fun read, Kirsten. The pull of family vs the push for your writing career is very well drawn. It's all just about to happen for you ... which gives the rest of us heart. I am beginning to think that once you've achieved a certain standard of writing and have a cracking idea, AND WRITTEN THE RUDDY THING the rest is more like speed dating than an entrance exam ...
Thank you, Sue. It was a really exciting day. Still buzzing xx
Wow! Kirsten, what an exciting blog. Many congratulations on being selected through the PitchDHH event. You obviously got a lot of useful feedback and as for being asked for the full MS by Broo Doherty - well, what can I say, except to echo your 'Squeee!' Wonderful news. It must have given you such a boost. Proud of you xxx