It’s time for me to admit that I might have taken the longest route possible to getting an agent. I’m something of a blunderer by nature, and learning the hard way is the theme of my life. So much so that I sometimes wonder how I managed to get an agent at all.
The original version of The Relic Guild is very different from the version that was signed by Gollancz. It was written for a Master’s degree that I concluded in in 2009. When I was coming to the end of that degree, I had been wondering if my work could hold its own with the bigger names in the publishing industry. I sent the first three chapters and a synopsis of the novel to the man who is now my agent. It impressed him enough to request the remainder of the book. However, although that early version of The Relic Guild gained me an MA, it didn’t quite make the grade with my agent.
For the sake of avoiding long and boring explanations, let’s just say that the original version was something akin to an academic exercise. The result fell somewhere between a fantasy adventure and a pseudo-intellectual dystopian wannabe. It was right for academic purposes, but wrong for the publishing industry. It had potential, but lacked focus and commercial value. Make it the fantasy adventure it wants to be, my agent said, and then we’ll do business.