A few weeks back, I bit the bullet and phoned publishers I've worked with in recent years, asking if I could visit, to show them my new baby-book project. It wasn't strictly necessary to go in person, but I felt the project would have more impact if I could talk editors through it.
Luckily for me, nobody told me to sling my hook, and I managed to set up 4 appointments in one day.
I used up half a forest, getting all my illustrations, my research and the manuscript printed out 6 times (it always pays to have a couple of spares). Then I realised I didn't have a suitable case to carry it all in, so did a quick dash to Staples and found something perfect.
So, last week, with a mix of excitement and slight anxiety, I took the early train to London.
My appointments were 1.5hrs apart, all over central London, and my train didn't get in until 10.30, but luckily it all ran smoothly, with no running late (franticly leaping up escalators from the tube and arriving in a jibbering sweat is never ideal). Plus it was a nice, sunny day, so there was no grappling with a wind-crazed brolly or dripping puddles in editors' offices.
Everyone was really enthusiastic about my work and loved the concept (phew), so that's stage one. For those who don't know the process, stage two is getting your book into what's called the 'acquisitions' meeting - where firmer decisions are made about which projects are worth taking up.
I'll let you know what happens as a result of the meetings: it's a very early stage and no matter how much an editor says they like your project, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.
When I was done, I spent a couple of hours winding down in Regents Park, as you can see, sitting on the grass, drawing the geese (well, bits of them - they don't keep still for a millisecond).
Then it was back on the train for a Marks and Sparks picnic dinner. I got home at bedtime, exhausted but happy: a good day all round.
By the way, if you want to read the funniest account ever of what it's like to visit the publishing houses, have a quick read of Cassia Thomas: guaranteed to make you giggle.