The proofs of Undiscovered Voices dropped into my inbox yesterday. Yay! Not just for the fact that this must mean I'm being published, or something, but I get to proofread too! I spotted two mistakes in the introduction and I wasn't even supposed to be checking that bit...
I don't think it will all feel completely real until I have a printed copy in my hands, but a PDF is a pretty good start. I also finally get to read the other winning entries and what do you know - they're really good! How did my book end up amongst those? Maybe I'll just keep quiet and hope no-one notices their mistake (oops, too late).
The agent who asked for my manuscript came back with a lot of positive feedback about the content of the book, but was less keen on the style. In particular, she didn't like the use of present tense throughout and thought it interfered with the flow of the story. I don't have a really strong opinion about this - present tense was how I always saw the book beginning and I just continued in that style. I rewrote the first chapter in past tense and I've been testing it out on the SCBWI 11+ Fantasy eCritique group. Current feedback is about 60/40 in favour of the present tense version, so it seems the past tense version isn't too terrible. The first chapter is also the one that would be most affected by the tense switch, I think.
I've had another approach from one of the judges, so my manuscript has gone to her as well. The fact that publishing people are coming to me is kind of weird. I think of all the time I spent composing very professional submission letters and now all the communication is via quick phone chats and relatively informal emails. Quite odd.
The anthology judges don't seem to be aggressively hoovering up the winners thus far, which I guess reflects their cautious business sense and is also good for the anthology - there wouldn't be much point publishing it if everyone had contracts before it came out! But, then again, I don't mind being signed up before February - offers to the usual address.