Today I like: Everything!
Not so much: Nothing! I love you, world!
I’m very excited this week. Because….I’ve signed with a literary agent! Not just any agent…the agent I really hoped to land. It’s a bit of a crazy story, honestly, with lots of twists and turns. Here goes!
I started the querying process before the holidays, and I had a surprising amount of good response. Lots of rejections, as is usually the case, but fortunately I do not have an “I sent out 100 queries for my first novel and got nada” story. I have to give a shout out to Algonkian’s NYC Pitch and Shop Conference for helping me craft a very solid pitch.
Request, rejection, send out more letters; I followed the usual process. As the rejections came in I looked for common concerns. I cut and adjusted and moved stuff around. I tweaked my letter. A few rejections got me down, but I tried to stay positive and worked hard on my second novel. I met some amazing women at the Pitch and Shop Conference, and their support encouraged me to seek out other writers. After all, we’re not all JD Salinger! Writers need colleagues, too!
I joined the Women’s Fiction Chapter of Romance Writers of America, a great online group of published and unpublished writers of that vague genre…”Women’s Fiction.” I felt a little like someone’s date at an awards show…kind of giddy to be in the company of so many writers who’d made it. Everyone was talking about Twitter, so I joined up.
Three days into my tweeting endeavors I saw a chirp from a fellow member of RWA-WF. Writers for the Red Cross Auction! Come bid on books, services, etc. It sounded like a great cause. I clicked on the link, and saw that Rebecca Friedman of Hill Nadell Literary Agency was offering a critique of the first chapters of the winning bidder’s manuscript. Bidding closed in one hour.
Lots of bidding and a nice tax deduction later, and I’d won the auction! I sent my manuscript off to Rebecca, and held my breath for six weeks. In the meantime I had some more requests, and I read a book by one of Rebecca’s clients, Cara Hoffman. By the time I finished So Much Pretty I knew that if Rebecca offered me representation I’d leap at the chance to work with her. So Much Pretty is a beautifully written and incredibly brave book. I could tell Rebecca and I shared an interest in women’s hopes and fears, and in telling the truth, even if it clashes with the way things ought to be.
Friday night Rebecca called me from vacation in Thailand. I was in Charleston, and ran out of a restaurant onto East Bay Street to hear the news. The best moment of my writing life!
Of course rejections bummed me out at times over the past few months. Now, however, it all seems meant to be. The little improvements to the manuscript, the relationships I made along the way, the slightly roundabout path to get my book in front of the person who just got it.
As a writer it’s easy to feel like you’re spinning your wheels. You never know, they might be spinning in the right direction.