I’d written other novels; I’d been writing my whole life, but several years ago I wrote a young adult novel I was sure was “the one.” Little did I know it would take years of hard work to make the little bird I’d hatched ready to fly.
Yes, I spent many years on one manuscript: Rewriting, revising, reading, beta readers, learning, revising, sending out a few queries, entering a few contests, rejections, a few requests, feedback , revising, rewriting, CPing, revising, revising, revising … You get the picture.
In August 2014 I entered PitchWars and was thrilled to death when Mónica B.W. chose me as her mentee and gave me her feedback. I instantly knew that, with one swift insight, she’d solved the main issue plaguing my manuscript, which no one else had been able to identify. I’m pretty sure that without her I would still be endlessly revising in circles.
But even after PitchWars, I wasn’t confident that the manuscript was completely pulled together, and I hadn’t spent all those years working at it just to send it out in less-than-perfectly-polished condition. Rather than querying, I stepped away to get perspective by working on another manuscript, and then returned to do “final” revising and polishing, before sending to betas for a “final” read-through.
Except it wasn’t final because they found issues and I was back revising—AGAIN—while trying to ignore the little voice inside my mind that kept asking if I was just wasting an increasingly-ridiculous amount of time.
I started sending queries, in small batches, in mid-May. A few rejections and then a few requests that gave me hope that I was on the right track. Finally.
A few weeks, a few offers, a few unexpectedly kind and encouraging rejections, and a few tense moments later …
… And I am beyond thrilled to announce that MY LITERARY AGENT is Caitlin Blasdell of Liza Dawson Associates!!!!!
I’m so grateful to the whole writing community for the opportunities, feedback, advice, and support.
There is hardly a contest or website that I haven’t been a part of at some point: Absolute Write’s query letter hell, WriteOnCon, Krista Van Dolzer’s An Agent’s Inbox, Authoress Anonymous’ Baker’s Dozen, Pitch Madness, PitMad. And of course, Brenda Drake’s PitchWars!!!
I’m grateful to each and every agent who took a few minutes to offer a smidgeon of feedback.
Some of the many fellow writers who’ve helped me out include: Abigail Johnson, Amelia Loken, Ann Bedichek Braden, Becca Christiansen, Carol Gaulden, Carrie DiRisio, Christie Murillo, Elizabeth Osborne, Heidi Horner, Helene Dunbar, Karen Halil, Lindsay Serrett, Maggie Young, Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Prerna Pickett, Susan Bishop Crispell, Tonya Kuper, Tracie Martin
I’m grateful to my family and my dogs for putting up with the endless hours I spend on my couch, with my laptop, in a zombie-like state. Some family members, near and far, were also my first readers and my last.
And I can’t even imagine having gone through the process of finding an agent without the PitchWars 2014 Mentee Table of Trust!
I am especially grateful to Mónica B.W., who went way above and beyond PitchWars mentor by becoming a CP and friend, providing invaluable critiques and advice, pushing, encouraging, supporting, and holding my hand every step of the way. (She has the super-power of being able to hold hands even while on a plane somewhere in South America!)
Querying secret: send queries in batches of thirteen and rub your dog’s head each time you send one (or maybe rub MY dog’s head—I don’t know if your dog is as lucky).
STATS (from this round only, but including two PWs requests):
Pitchwars Requests: 2 (1 partial, 1 full)
PitMad Requests: 2 (Submitted to 1)
Query Rejections: 31
Partial Rejection: 1
Partial Requests (including contests): 5 (4 upgraded to fulls)
Full Requests: 13 (including contests and upgrades from partials)
Approximate number of different drafts I currently have saved on my computer. (No, I’m not kidding, but yes, I obsessively “save as”): 72
Number of times I’ve actually gone back to using a previous draft: maybe 1?
And now, back to revising … but this time with the expert editorial advice of MY agent.