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First novel, first book deal

What's it like getting that first, all-important book deal? Guest blogger Laura Jane Cassidy, a 23-year-old writer from Ireland, explains:

My most treasured childhood books all have little puffins on their spines. Roald Dahl’s stories sparked my love of fiction and Eoin Colfer’s adventures kept me reading through my early teens.

So when my agent called last August to tell me that Puffin Ireland had offered me a book deal for my first novel Angel Kiss, it really was a dream come true.

I had been submitting to agents and publishers for a year and a half before I signed with Faith O’Grady of the Lisa Richard’s agency. During those months there were rejections and disappointments and moments when I wondered if I would ever see my book on the shelves. The pages of my Writers' & Artists' Yearbook were covered in pink highlighter and pencil notes and I must have read the section on cover letters at least a hundred times. I had left university to concentrate full-time on writing, so I really wanted it to work out.

I quickly learned that positivity and patience are two of the most important things a writer can master. In the publishing industry things don’t happen over night, progress takes time.

We emerging writers have to be our own No. 1 fan, because if we don’t believe in our writing then we can’t expect anybody else to.

But trust me, all the setbacks will be worth it once you get that call. Think Christmas and birthdays and your first kiss and Disneyland all rolled into one amazing event. That’s how good it feels.

Your family will be ecstatic, your best friend will scream into the phone and your little brother will be on the internet, picking out the car he wants you to get him when your book is a bestseller. If you work really hard and are passionate about your writing, there is every chance that you can make your dreams a reality.

When I signed my book deal people kept saying, ‘You must be so excited!’

Of course I was, but I was also in shock. I had wanted it for so long that it was hard to believe it was actually happening. I don’t think it really sunk in until last week when my edits arrived, along with a compliment slip with my name on it, and a little Puffin on the top.

If you found this article useful, you might want to take a look at:

How to find a literary agent

Query letter & synposis