Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If Nothing Else It Sure Is an Interesting Journey

So far, according to my account on, I’ve sent out 19 queries. Not a lot that’s true but my goal is to research and submit my pitch to at least 6 new agents a week. Since I started getting back into the swing of this whole thing again about three weeks ago I’ve almost kept that promise to myself; I think my number is somewhere around fourteen. Not bad but still not good enough.

In the world of publishing there are some truths that, no matter how many blogs or twitter feeds I’ve read, seem to hold true.

1. Agents really don’t like when you spell their name wrong. (Luckily I’ve never done this and its likely because I hate when my name gets misspelled -- two N’s, seriously, how hard is that?)
2. For every 100 queries sent (very approximately), one will want to publish you.
3. Agencies have all kinds of creative ways to tell an author to go pound sand.

Yesterday I received my fourth different type of communication from an agent. So far, I have received rejections in the form of a teeny slip of paper attached to my own original query, a handwritten note scrawled at the top of my original query, an email that had been sent months after my snail mail query (then it was printed out with a quick handwritten note and sent back in my SASE), and a postcard (the one pictured above, I just changed the info to protect the innocent but the wording is as I received it).

Not to mention all the eRejections but they aren’t as creative.

Oh yeah, but there was that one…that one agent so far who saw the same potential in my work that I see. The agency that requested the first two chapters. I don’t know if that will be my agent or agency, I probably won’t hear from them for another two months either way, but just the request alone leads me to believe I must be doing something right.

There is a lot of work involved in querying and so far I’ve only done about a quarter of what I will likely need to do. In my quest to find the perfect agent I’m starting small -- researching and submitting to those who require nothing more than the query letter in email. Next will be those who take a simple query via snail mail. After that I will need to start paying a little more for postage as the requests differ wildly from agent to agent.

Some want as much as a query, 10-20 page synopsis and the first three chapters. And that’s just to get a foot in the door! It isn’t that I don’t want to do it, in fact if the agent above who requested two chapters via email asks me to ship out my completed manuscript where do you think I’ll be within twenty minutes?

Well, barring weather of course.

Speaking of the weather, Boston is doing a pretty good job of reminding me of one of the reasons why I so desperately want to get out of here this year. Two storms of eighteen inches of snow in as many weeks, stuck in yesterday, and now another potential whopper on Friday. Yes, I am counting down the minutes until we leave for the Valley of the Sun!

The funny thing though is that I keep thinking, as long as I’m trapped inside I might as well make good use of that time. So this is the time I’m spending getting to know agencies and formatting my queries. Next month, however, I made myself a promise that no matter where I was in the query process for Ripple the Twine, I’d get back to my second manuscript re-writes.

Bet you all thought I forgot about my second NaNo win didn’t you? Yeah, well, there were days I really wanted to forget it, so I can appreciate that. But overall I think the bones are there for a really funny and well written story. It’s just that I need to completely re-write it to get there.

Well maybe not all of it, I might even keep the attack of the killer zombies scene but she definitely can’t be a blogger anymore and the whole love triangle thing needs to happen with a completely different guy. Oh and I really need to beef up her mother’s character but she can’t be the evil one, I need to make that a random co-worker. Who I will have to write in now. But she is still going to suffer from post traumatic stress amnesia. It’s kind of integral to the entire plot.

The plot that formed in my head the last week of November but never quite made it to the page.

About three weeks into NaNo I had the most brilliant idea for how I could give her a happy ending even though she had been hit by a bus, divorced from her high school sweetheart and sexually harassed online. Of course half of that had to change but keeping with the majority of her back story, etc. I couldn’t wait to write it!

In February.

After I left her in a cold dark place to ruminate over all her missteps for a while.

And by ‘her’ I of course mean me.

And by ‘missteps’ I of course mean all those plot bunnies.

If nothing else, this writing thing sure is a wild ride full of millions of dull and pathetic moments of boredom and repetition…and I am loving every single minute of it.


Linda Myers said...

You're ahead of me on the publishing scene, but your good progress is a motivator!

I love bad weather as long as it isn't rain. I'd like to think trading places with you for a month in the winter would be fun.

Almost Precious said...

Sounds like a lot of work finding the right, if not perfect, literary agent. Yeah the rejection slips suck but most of them are from people who are just so busy they don't have time to look at the query let alone read it. I'm sure the right agent or agency will be found and when that happens you'll be another rung higher up on that ladder to becoming a published author. That day is very close at hand. :)

#1Nana said...

I'm cheering you on. It's great that you are actively working to meet your goal. I thought that six a week sounded like a lot, but then I'm retired and not highly motivated to achieve anything. Keep it up. I'm excited to see your progress.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Linda this is our last winter here, its just gotten to be too much -- having SAD all season. Maybe my mom would be interested in a house swap some winter though??? You can do it too, I am happy to help motivate & look forward to reading about your strides toward getting published too! Yea!

It is a lot of work Anna, they don't just have to like me/my book I have to feel right about them too. Tough to tell from one letter but it will happen this year. I can just feel it! Thanks my friend :-)

Thanks Jann, I need all the cheerleaders I can get lol! Some weeks I'm not motivated either, 6 is more an averaged goal, something to keep me in line & force me to send them so I don't sit back & wait for a "break" that will never come without me doing something about it :-)

I appreciate the support ladies!

Tabitha Bird said...

My thoughts are with you. The query game is hard and often a long one. But it is not lonely. We are with you. Many of us are also querying and understand. So, all the best this year. May it yield what you want.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Remember to feel the book already published and in the stores - just like you just know there is a parking place, there is an agent and a publisher.
Love you, and let me know about that house swap - sounds interesting.
Love, Mum

Anonymous said...

I am happy your wild ride is bringing you so much joy. :)

ginger said...

you're going to take over the world and Jennifer Weiners or whatever her name is will kiss your feet and worship the ground you walk on.