Gabrielle Aquilina

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game


So, here it is.  I’m going to be a published author.

I never really thought it would happen. I gave it a half hearted attempt a couple of years ago, submitting to three agents (yes, yes, I know. It’s a numbers game and I clearly wasn’t really playing) and getting three rejections.

Then a whole bunch of stuff happened (having a baby, moving to Australia, moving back from Australia) and getting published took a bit of a backseat.

But earlier this year, in a fit of optimism, I tried again. I went to the library, trawled through ‘The Writers and Artists Yearbook’ and made a list of agencies, picked my top five, honed my submission package and sent it all off.

Five rejections.

So far, so expected.

Not to be deterred, I sent it all off again to the next five agencies on my list.

Whilst waiting, I stumbled upon a Twitter thing called #pitmad. It was the actual day of it happening, so I hurriedly concocted my 140-character pitch and tweeted. Then I sat back and watched the favourites flood in. Not really. I tweeted a few variations of my original tweet, obsessively refreshing my timeline, waiting and waiting for a favourite.  And then, holy crap, a favourite. From an agent’s assistant. Hmmm.

And a couple of hours later, from the agent herself! I was in business. I emailed her my submission package and played the waiting game again.


She wanted the full manuscript! I emailed it immediately, waiting with bated breath for her reply email. Surely a favourited tweet and a request for a full ms equalled a publishing contract?

Boo. An email appeared in my inbox five weeks later saying ‘there is a lot to love here’ and it was a ‘tough call’ but ultimately, no. HOWEVER, the agent wanted to pass it onto the Digital Agent at the agency as she thought she might like it. So, with my permission, it got forwarded to the other agent, who did like it, but had something very similar on her list so, again, no thanks.

Whilst all this was slowly happening, two more agents rejected me and I decided it was time to hit the indie publishers. I had one rejection before receiving an email from an indie publisher saying that they wanted to publish my book and were going to send out a contract in the next week.

Oh, happy, happy days!

I told my family, we celebrated with champagne and all got very excited. Once again, I was checking my emails every ten minutes, trying to remain cool and calm. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Huh. No email from the publisher. I sent them a little reminder email. Nothing. A month later, I sent them another one. Not a word. Screw you, I thought to myself. I’ll submit to some more publishers. You won’t break me with your teasing ways and your non-communication.

And, here we are!

So Vain Books emailed me saying they hoped my book was still available, said they would send a contract, SENT THE CONTRACT and it was signed, delivered and official in no time at all.

And, I must say, they are lovely, lovely people. Professional, accommodating, completely in tune with me – out of a selection of titles, they chose the one I liked best and the edits they’ve given me have all been spot on.

Some rejections, a false start and a super duper Indie publisher later and I can finally answer the dreaded ‘what do you do?’ question with a confident

‘I’m a writer’

knowing that the next question (always asked in a bored and slightly mocking tone) – ‘oh yeah, written anything I might have heard of?’ can be answered with

‘my first novel comes out next Spring actually.’

Which means a whole new waiting game (but less nailbiting, I hope)…