Despatches From The Querying Trenches - April. Guest Post by Kirsten Hesketh

Posted on 27th April, 2018

Well, here it is, the one we have all waited for ever since Kirsten started writing her guest blogs at the beginning of last year.....



Despatches from the Querying Trenches – April







So, this was the month *it* happened.


The month I signed to an agent.




It’s been thrilling! Exhilarating, overwhelming and probably not an exaggeration to say one of the most exciting things ever to happen to me.


You may remember from my last post, three weeks ago, that I’d just sent my revised full manuscript to six agents. As with the previous round of submissions, I think I was expecting some nice comments about my writing together with the usual ‘didn’t quite love it enough,’ and ‘not quite right for our list’. You know the sort of thing! And that was fine, I decided … it was my debut novel, I’d revised it a couple of times, I could do so again. But there was always, always that little glimmer of hope. Maybe this time I’d be lucky …


And I was!


In fact, I was lucky enough to have a little flurry of interest from several agents. And two rejections - there are always rejections, aren’t there? Then Felicity Trew from the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency sent me a lovely email saying how much she had enjoyed the book and how she’d stayed in her dressing gown all Sunday to finish it and would I like to come up to London to discuss it with her? Wow!


I’d seen Felicity speak at the RNA Conference last year and really liked her energy and enthusiasm and obvious passion - and she was one the Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2016 - and, running a boutique agency myself, I was keen to be represent by one …. Anyway, it was safe to say I was very, very excited. And funnily enough, when I saw where the agency is - three minutes’ walk from Notting Hill Gate - that was the icing on the cake. Not that I’d chose an agent based solely on location, obviously, but Notting Hill has a very special place in my heart. My uncle and late aunt used to have an antiques stall on the Portobello market and my sisters and I would visit the market on a Friday, buy some old tat and then spend the afternoon cleaning it up before trying to flog it on the stall the next day. Oh, the excitement! When I was about ten, I bought a silver spoon for 20p and sold it for £2.50 and then there was that little teak condiment set that made £3 profit and ….


Anyway, I digress! I met the same uncle - now 90 and still living the high-life - for lunch and then went to meet Felicity, Caroline and Georgia at the agency and then Felicity swept me down the street to Polpo for tea.


We got on like a house on fire and then she offered to represent me and said she’d like to take my book to The London Book Fair later that week. Honestly, it was brilliant! I was so excited that I couldn’t finish the gorgeous orange meringue I’d ordered. I finished the bubbly though.




So here am I with an agent and feeling a curious mixture of pride, relief, excitement and fear. To be honest, it feels a bit weird. When you decide to attempt the traditional publishing route, getting an agent becomes everything. It’s almost the goal in itself and you have shamefully little idea of what happens next. Or, at least, I don’t. It’s a bit like scrambling up a very steep hill with lots of slipping and sliding and once you haul yourself over the edge, yes, there’s the gorgeous vista you’d hoped for but there but there are also mountains in the distance and you realise you have no idea how to scale them. Luckily, I’m now part of a team and I love the feeling of moving from ‘me’ to ‘us’. It’s wonderful discussing possible editorial and title changes with someone who not only ‘gets’ my book but also loves it and is really excited to be representing it and me.


I’m very, very happy indeed!


And I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way and who has shared in my excitement over the last week or so. Thanks so much for the messages and the cards and the flowers.


You’re all fantastic!



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Comments (33)

Thank you so much Christina. You are a lovely friend. xx
This is wonderful news, and so well-deserved. Huge congratulations, Kirsten! I can't wait to read about the next step in your journey. C xxx
Thank you so much, Deborah xxx
What lovely news! Congratulations, Kirsten.
Thank you Rosie. I'm so grateful to the NWS and I've met so many lovely people through it. Thank you for commenting xx
As a former NWS member myself, I know how thrilled you must be. Well done!
Thank you Jen. I'm glad you enjoyed the 'story' and thanks for all the support. You are a great role model xx
Such lovely news, Kirsten and I'm so happy to read the 'whole story' here! Wishing you much success as you continue to scale those 'mountains in the distance!' xxx
Thank you so much Kate and many congratulations on all your success to date. The Magic of Ramblings is on my TBR pile ... xx
Lovely Kazzie, thank you. And good luck with your submissions. I have everything crossed for you xxx
Ooooh, thank you Rosie. I'm so happy to be on board and hope to meet you one day xxx
Thank you so much Tara and for the opportunity to be interviewed on your wonderful blog recently. I really enjoyed it. xxx
Thank you, Sue. That conference was brilliant, wasn't it? I'm so sorry that I'm not able to go this year - both children finish school after exams so we're taking the opportunity for an earlier and cheaper holiday. I shall miss you all and hope to see you soon. Are you going to Oxford? xx
Thanks Cass. I am so excited - and a bit daunted - by what lies ahead and I am so happy about all the wonderful friends I have made along the way - yourself included xx
Thank you so much Jan. I really love how supportive and generous writers are to each other and I'm really, really appreciative your good wishes. it will be your turn soon xx
Huge congratulations, Kirsten. I hope this is only the start of great things for you! x
Yippeeee!! So excited for you, Kirsten. It's wonderful news, and lovely to read about your Portobello road experience too. Huge congratulations, you clever thing :) xxx
Many congratulations, Kirsten. Welcome to the agency, Felicity is my agent too and absolutely brilliant.
Such amazing news. I’m so excited for you. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Well done, Kirsten!
Wow! Look at all these lovely comments. I told Kirsten that everyone would be thrilled to read her 'official' announcement - and here's the proof. Vanessa, Julie, Kitty, Jan, Cass and Sue - many thanks to all of you for your kind comments and for supporting Kirsten's guest blog.
That's such a lovely read, Kirsten, and Thankyou Susanna for hosting it!
I too thought Felicity was great at last year's Conference- how fantastic that you both gelled in so many ways.
It was meant to be, obviously! 🎉👯
Looking forward to catching up at this year's Conference- I can see that this year's kitchen parties will need to be trained for! 🍾🍾🍾 xxx
Yaaaay! So so so happy for you, Kirsten.

It's been amazing following your journey so far, and I can't wait for the next instalment. Scaling those mountains will be an exhilarating ride with your support team around you!

Wishing you tons of success! ❤️❤️❤️
It was so good to read this particular post, Kirsten. I’m thrilled for you. Your excitement at getting an agent shines through every word. I’m so pleased that you and Felicity got on so well and hope that a publisher snaps up your book very soon. Huge congratulations!
I know, Kitty, what on earth was ! thinking? I adore meringues too! Didn't you met your new-ish agent for tea today? xx
Thank you Julie. You were so kind to beta-read it for me and your comments were so helpful xxx
You didn't finish the meringue? Insanity.
Massive congratulations, you know I can't wait!
Oh Gawd, Vanessa, there's a point! ! I have no idea. Any suggestions very welcome! xxx
Oh Sue, of course I would make my announcement on your blog. You have been so generous hosting me on here and I'm really grateful. Looking forward to your coming to stay in a couple of weeks xx
Thank you Maddie! It's enormously important to have an agent you get on well with, isn't it? As well as one you respect and trust. Thank you for all your support xx
Congratulations Kirsten - I'm thrilled for you and your enthusiasm is infectious. I hope your search for a publisher is successful and I can't wait to hear about the publication of your book!
CONGRATULATIONS! This is such wonderful news. Now I'm wondering what your regular post title (Querying from the Trenches) will change to ...? :D

Thanks for sending Kirsten your good wishes, Maddie. It is such wonderful news. I'm proud Kirsten made her announcement on my blog.
Yippee! How exciting for you and I'm so glad you have someone enthusiastic and jolly too. I'm sure it makes all the difference. I can't wait to see the finished book. Well done and Happy Writing! x