My First Query Submission Experience (and what I learnt from it)!

I submitted my first ever query to an agent on Sunday (4th)! Like the physical submission of my manuscript that I done at the beginning of the year, it feels like it has not reached the person it was meant to. Does everyone feel that way? Obviously it’s just a symptom of my paranoia.

I had written out my query letters for various agents a while ago, but only recently have I begun the process of actually sending them, partially because I’m still editing my manuscript, but mostly because I was just anxious about it.

I realise now though that I kind of like the fact I left it until December. Considering my first manuscript submission was back in January, this feels like a cool way to round off the year by submitting my first query at the end.

During my time trying to create these queries, I learnt something quite useful.

I learnt how to explain my story in a condensed fashion. It was difficult at first, because whilst I’m actually okay at writing a synopsis in most instances, this story is… well, it’s basically (in my eyes) the flagship series, the one I hope to define my ‘writing persona’ of all my possible works. So my difficulty to explain it, comes not only from it’s complex nature, but also from my desire to try and describe it in the perfect way.

This is probably something most writers do, and why they struggle with synopsis’, and I’d even say info-dumps. It stems from a desire to create this picture-perfect understanding of your world and ideas.

But then, I came to realise, and accept, that not everybody is going to interpret your work in the same way you do, and there’s literally nothing you can do about that. Even in a visual medium such as film, television or comics, people interpret different gestures and things of that nature, in various ways.

Of course, it is important to be as clear and accurate as possible when explaining your story, especially to an agent/editor, and for me, I’d say it’s paramount said agent/editor understands the vision behind the work at the very least, and at best, they wish to push for it with equal passion.

But at the same time, you must accept that there will never be any one, true view of how your work is. Even you, as you age, may interpret your work in a different light to the one you currently do. I mean, I can imagine looking back on my current stuff and saying: “That kid had some great ideas, but man was he bold.”

I know I probably will, because I already have with the older versions of this same story. There was some real cringe-inducing material in some of those old outlines, and my first draft. And bare in mind, a lot of that was only made a year or two ago.

A good sign of my growth to be sure, but also a reminder that your views on things can change drastically in relatively short periods, so long as you keep an open mind (which I think is a necessity as a creator). Ideas I once thought to be genre-shifting, are now being swept under the carpet for fear of being brought to light. And believe me, we don’t want some of those things brought to light.

That’s just a little insight I got from this experience. The next move now is to send out my other queries to the other agents on my list, and to bring my story into beta.

This post went on a bit longer than I originally intended, but for many of us fantasy writers, such is the way of things.

Expect me to be documenting things a bit more on here as time goes on (I really should have done that from the beginning).

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out peace!

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The Next-Gen Novelist We Need, And the One We Deserve

I’ve been away for a while, but I’m going to ensure that changes. I have had so many ideas on what I want to do with my blog, my YouTube, and other social media. I have been overwhelmed with ideas, and not entirely certain where to go with any of it.

But I have some clarity now.

The past couple of years have been quite good for me as a person, and by extension, a writer. I’ve learnt so much about the craft of writing, and tons about other areas of life. Through these years, I’ve learnt about how I want my writing to be, what I want it to achieve, how I want it to sound. The same for myself. Who actually am I? What do I actually want to achieve with my life? And how do I want to come across and be presented to others?

2015 and 2016 have been great to me, because I have had time to have these thoughts (had a gap year, which gave me a significant window to reflect before starting university). Now, coming to the end of the year, I believe I have clarity on what it is that needs to change about my current approach.

I need to be myself. Truly myself. I feel I have a very strong sense of who I am, and so far, I’ve done great at conveying that to people with mostly no smoke and mirrors. Mostly. There’s a layer to this that I’ve been very aware of, but have been rationalising away.

I’m only 19.

I have a very, very strong sense of intuition. My social and emotional intelligence is off the charts, and I know and can explain things that can make me sound 30 years ahead of myself. And I think I have a very unique mind, and can be very charismatic, and I know I have the ability to show others sides of themselves they never knew existed.

But I’ve always felt that people wouldn’t listen to me because of my age. And I have blogs sitting there, very useful, powerful blogs, that I have not published for months, because I fear the response I may get. “Oh, he’s just a kid, what does he know?”

However… I’m going to be me. Not the published author I’m slyly acting like I am. I’m going to be me.

Now, this blog hasn’t shown that authoritative part of me, because I’ve not published the things I wanted to publish, for this exact reason. But the issue is that I focused so much energy on content that perhaps I shouldn’t have been putting out in the first place, and ignoring the stuff that actually mattered. So many people are giving advice to authors in general, but what about a young writer giving quality writing advice to other young writers?

From here on, the only advice I will give on here will be to other young writers, and if anyone else wishes to take something from it (because I still believe they could) then they’re free to do so. But in terms of the content I will put out on my blog – the advice specifically – I will now target it at other young writers.

That being said, there are other things I wish to put on here. I have a very cool short story series in mind, that I think some people might really enjoy, and I’ll still document my thoughts on different things, as well as my journey to publication. The thing is, I’ve been slacking on all of that.

Not anymore. It’s not 2017 yet, and this is not a New Year’s resolution. This is simply the next stage of my journey.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


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My First Manuscript Submission Experience

This is an old post. I was supposed to release it on the actual date, but apparently I’d left it in draft. The actual date was the 20th. It got to them perfectly fine, and now I eagerly await their response! Hopefully the next blog won’t be about ‘My First Rejection’, but ‘My First Accepted Submission’ or a similar title seems kinda unlikely.

In a word? Exciting. In another word? Maddening.

The submission was to the UK publisher Gollancz, which until recently I’d been completely pronouncing the wrong way. And yes, chances are you have been too, and certainly if that was your first time reading it.

So what was it about this experience that was so exciting and yet so maddening? Well let me tell you a story.

Around November last year, I heard about Gollancz opening up to unsolicited direct submissions (physical only), and I was immediately psyched about it. I’d finished my manuscript back in August and had been editing it since. I began a query, proposal one-page synopsis, and the first 50 pages of my novel, on the same day.

I won’t lie to you, I found the one-page synopsis to be an utter nightmare, and it still ended up rolling over onto a second page. Thankfully, Gollancz were being rather lenient with their submissions, which I appreciate.

So the official deadline was fast approaching, but my deadline had already come. By that, I mean I set myself a deadline earlier than the actual one, to compensate for my occasional unreliability. Because my internal editor sneaks up on me at the worst of times.

I had printed out several versions, only to read through them and obsessively underline and make notes around the page each time. I know that it may seem obvious to edit to pristine condition before printing anything, but I think self-doubt takes hold whenever I’m about to do something remotely out of my comfort zone, so every time I thought I was ready to send it, an anxious part of me wasn’t and resorted to editing.

By the time I was satisfied, there were only two days until the deadline. So I’d been right to give myself an earlier one. But even the postage was a bit of an issue.

I was in the post office and like any young aspirant, I was all wide-eyed and exhilarated, until it occurred to me that I still needed two things: an envelope and the postal address.

Both proved harder to get than you’d think. Oh and did I mention that I had only 5 minuets before the post office closed? Surely that’s enough time though right? It’s just an envelope and an address. Right? Right…

Not quite.

I’m in the post office, which very helpfully has a shop section with envelopes. But my query, not-one-page-synopsis, and the first 50 pages of my manuscript, were… rather thick. They had every single envelope except the one my manuscript could fit into. Or so I’d thought.

Only after desperately trying to squeeze the pages into the envelope about fifty times, did I realise it wasn’t the right fit. The envelope I needed just happened to be buried underneath a clutter of… I don’t actually remember what. But it was stuff that had no business standing between me and destiny. Regardless, I finally found the correct sized envelope, I could purchase it and be on my merry way.

The second thing was equally irksome. Within all the excitement, I had foolishly forgotten about the postal address. I knew it was on their website, so I tried to use my phone to pull up the info. BUT OH NO. The Internet wouldn’t connect, because why would it? Why would life be so simple? I can’t recall how many times I pressed the refresh button, but I’m sure I surpassed some kind of physical limitation.

There was literally only a minuet left when it finally worked. At which point I went over to the desk, got the package sorted out, and managed to leave without any issue.

Hopefully I wrote the address properly…

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


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Hi, I’m Alexander Thomas, and I Derail Blog Posts!

The first thing you should probably know about me, is that I’m not actually Alexander Thomas. Well… I am, but I’m not actually called that by people I know. My first name is Reece, but one of my middle names is Alexander. I’m an aspiring novelist, primarily of the fantasy genre, and I don’t exactly feel as though ‘Reece Thomas’ sounds as good as ‘Alexander Thomas’. But at least I’m still using one of my legal names, instead of calling myself… oh, I don’t know, Robert Galbraith.

Currently, I am 18 years of age and ageing… or so I’ve been told. Personally I don’t feel 18, nor do I feel like I’m getting older. My inner child takes the steering wheel more times than I care to count. As of right now, I’m in a gap year, which means that I’m taking a year away from studying and doing other things. Like writing… and working (sad face). I’ve actually already finished the first draft of a manuscript, and I’m editing it to no end as of right now.

Buuuuuut that’s stuff to talk about another time.

I am from the UK which (if you didn’t know) essentially means it’s near impossible to find a sci-fi/fantasy convention. I’m not joking. I’ve seen a few, but they’re nowhere near as consistent as how they have it in North America. If you’re from there (which chances are you are), I’m telling ya, you’re more fortunate than you realise.

Don’t believe me?
Three words: World Science-Fiction Convention.
Three dates: 1957, 1965, and 2014.
Those are the dates of Loncon, which is when the World Science-Fiction Convention decides it’s convenient to actually bother coming to London! I mean, I understand there’s a higher readership of those genres in the US, but to jump from 1965 to 2014? THAT’S NEARLY 50 YEARS! That’s half a century!

Can you imagine what the fans that attended Loncon in 1957 must have thought?
“This is great! I am so glad Loncon is a thing! Gee, wouldn’t it be great if they could come back in another year or so?”
“Ya know, Bob, I think they just might!”
Yeah, well, sorry, Bob. You’ll be waiting another eight years. But hey! It’s better than nothing, right?


“Wow! I’m 8 years older, more jaded and cynical than when I was last here, but at least there’s something like this to comfort me. But oh, I am truly a jaded old man. Gee, wouldn’t it be just great if they could come back a little faster this time? I’m sure it was all down to various factors beyond my understanding as to why they took so long, but at least I know it won’t be that far off. If anything, I’ll be seeing them again in 10 years! Ahahaha!”

Ahahahaha. I’d make the joke that I had the last laugh, but that would probably sound bad. But chances are… I did. Know why? Because chances are Bob’s dead. He probably died even more older, jaded and cynical because he was never afforded a final chance to experience Loncon.

49 years… pfft.

If you’re from the US, this might seem a little ridiculous to you. Now, granted, we live in the 21st century, and things such as plane tickets exist. If I had the money, I’d be going to these. But even then, I can still only realistically make it out to maybe one convention a year. If you’re an aspiring author trying to network, or at least just be around professionals and other aspirants, you’d want to attend conventions a bit more frequently than that.

Now, I think this is a good time to introduce you to one of my most prevalent qualities: sidetracking. I will derail and destroy the original purpose of anything any time. It’s obviously not intentional, and I’m certainly not the only person who does it. People who enjoy talking, I’ve noticed, have a tendency to do it. Or maybe it’s people who think a lot. Or both. Or neither? Regardless, if you’re planning on sticking around, it’s something you’d take care to be very, very aware of.

Understand the title might say: ‘What Is My Book About?’ and the closing line could be: “And that’s why I don’t like penguins”. You have been warned.

I was supposed to make a blog ages ago, but WordPress intimidated me… so I waited for a few months. I finally decided to just get on with it. Part of the reason I didn’t make one before was because I always used YouTube to create content. Even my writing channel isn’t that old. But I decided to take my writing seriously, because someone had to. I can say right now that my intentions are to use this blog to talk about whatever I fancy, but for a general sense, you can expect to hear (or read, rather) about some: writing and the industry (from a teen’s perspective), my thoughts/comments on books I’m reading/have read, video games, pet peeves, personal slice of life stories, my manuscript/planned stories, anime, occasionally politics, and just some general thoughts on life and the world.

One thing I tend to do is attack general wisdom. If you’re the kind of person who buys into everything you hear, or follow things just because they’re popular, then you’ll probably not enjoy your time here.

I would honestly love to talk about fantasy, writing, my manuscript, and the world… but right now I’m a bit tired. It’s nearly 9am, and I’ve barely slept because I was trying to figure out how to make this insufferable thing, but I’m glad I did because I like how it’s come out. That being said, it’s time for me to get some more sleep now. I’m not sure when this will be posted (probably later in the day), but I’m happy to say: welcome to my blog!

I hope you stick around, and if you’ve read this far, there must be something charming about me! Or you’re just bored…

Whatever the case, I’m done here! If you want to know more about me, read my future posts. You’ll get to know me quite well as time goes on.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


Snapchat: Novelicity