But I hadn’t! It was the first time I’d submitted the novel to anyone. Had someone stolen my title? Yet I’d made sure I’d never mentioned it on any online platform, paranoically keeping it a secret for as long as possible. Mystified, I sent an email to someone called “info” at Curtis Brown, then moved on and approached another agent instead, one I actually like rather just think are the best.
You should know, at this point, that while I do indeed have a landline, the sound is permanently switched off. In fact, the only reason I have a landline is that I can’t get a good TV/broadband package without one. And also, if you don’t want to put your mobile number on a website, you can just put your landline number instead. When the phone does ring, a little red light flashes, something I absolutely never see. In fact, I didn’t even know it did flash until I spotted it and thought, hmmm, I bet that’s just a nuisance call, but what-ho, I’m in the mood to be bothered, so I answered it.
Can you imagine my amazement when I discovered it was someone from Curtis Brown? And can you imagine my sheer utter embarrassment when I discovered that I HAD submitted that novel before? I don’t even remember doing it! The phone call was lovely but I felt MORTIFIED. It took a lot of hard thinking afterwards to remember that over two years ago, I decided I couldn’t stand working on the novel a moment longer, that it was finished, and that I really needed the help of an editor. So I must have cobbled together a synopsis and the first three chapters and a cover letter and sent it off to them.
BUT WHERE ARE THEY?
I can’t anywhere on my computer find the cover letter and the synopsis I must have written. Did I do this at work one bored afternoon?
Anyway, whatever happened, I had done something mad and stupid and now I couldn’t submit the VERY THOROUGHLY edited novel that was, hopefully, a much better prospect. Unless I changed the title. The title I had settled on originally was “Season of the Falling Sun”. However, throughout the novel, I NEVER use the word “the” in front of “falling sun.” So the title was actually incorrect anyway! It seemed to me fate, or someone else, was trying to tell me to change the title. So I did. And it works. And that’s what I used to submit my novel to Curtis Brown, which the online form accepted.
But after all this, do you think they are going to take any notice of it? I’ve got everything going against me:
- I’ve submitted it before
- I forgot I’d submitted it before
- It’s 160K words long
- I’m not anybody
- Competition is fierce
But out of this fiasco, I got one thing right: the title. Hoorah.