Yeah, it’s fun to daydream sometimes. And it’s fun to think you’ll be as cool as a cucumber when your inbox shows you’ve got mail. Especially when the email starts with: “I am pleased to tell you…” You’re not going to
run waddle down the stairs in your pajamas, doing a silent squee because everyone else in the family is still asleep, and pump your arms in the air ala Rocky Balboa style. An imaginary crowd roars cheers in your ears (really, it was only the blood rushing to your head, but who cares, right? It sounded like a cheer.)
No, you’ll be an uber cool dude, and no one–I say, NO ONE–is going to find you doing a cross between the chicken dance and Elaine’s dance because you are such a professional.
What? You want stats? I don’t do stats, but I’ll try my best.
I started querying around the end of March–which was very poor timing on my part. People were just coming back from the Bologna Book Fair. I sent out a few queries (like 3) and waited, and waited, and waited. It was also the earliest version of my query. Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, I decided to send out a few more with a newly revamped query. And the waiting continued.
Lesson #1: Be patient.
Rejections finally came in. *sting* But as they were based on my query, it didn’t hurt too much. I knew I needed to work on it. Enter Agent Query Connect and its awesome band of writers. I had all my query versions numbered in a file. My first full request came, and I thought I was going to faint. I was so nervous I messed up the page numbers in my file submission and had to re-send a new email with the corrections. *facepalm*
Lesson #2: Learn to calm down. Double check everything. Don’t be hasty.
For most of April, I sent out intermittent queries. At the same time, I worked on my query, even asking BBC’s Query Cat to do a Saturday Slash on my query. I stayed up late writing query drafts. I dreamed about writing queries. Also zombies. And a handful of vampires (no, they weren’t sparkly). I also had to deal with a lot of medical stuff and lab tests. It wasn’t the best of time for me. Did I feel slightly down while the crickets in my inbox created an orchestra to rival the New York Philharmonic?
Yes, yes I did. But I kept on going.
Lesson #3: Don’t give up easily. Hope is a beautiful thing.
I’ve been following numerous literary agents on Twitter, even those I had no plan of querying (just because I already knew they weren’t a good fit for me, personality-wise, or that they did not represent my genre). I followed them anyway because it’s always good to get oneself educated about the publishing biz.
Ms. Fabulous Agent was on Twitter giving out #querytips, #writingtips, and #pubtips. They were helpful tips, and sometimes downright hilarious (the most recent one is from a sample where the author likened a pancake to a coffin. 😀). I
stalked checked out her website. She sounded wonderful. I held off querying because I wanted to make sure my query would stand a chance of being noticed.
Lesson #4: Trust your writerly instincts.
I sent off my latest query to Miss Fabulous Agent, and one other (also a lovely agent). Then with fingers and toes crossed, I set off for my 7-month prenatal appointment. While waiting in the lobby, I checked my email (confession: Having an iPhone is both a curse and a blessing. I will not tell you how many times I check my email every day, but you can probably guess it’s a good substantial number.)
She said my query intrigued her.
She said she wanted to see the first 50 pages.
I wanted to go home and send it off right away, but I needed to see my doctor first. And take a nasty glucose drink to test for gestational diabetes. Which meant more waiting at the clinic. My palms began itching.
The minute I got home, I sent off my partial with a little prayer. (Apparently, I forgot lesson #2. I was THAT excited.)
I woke up extra early, and nearly fell off the bed when I checked my email on my phone and found out Ms. Fabulous Agent read my partial first thing in the morning. And she wanted to see the rest of the manuscript. Holy moly. She was lightning fast. The crickets in my inbox must have developed laryngitis or something. I couldn’t believe it.
I sent her my full, and prepped myself for a long wait. In the meantime, I got another full request from a different agent. I decided to send out a few more queries.
Lesson #5: Query widely. Just do. If I had stuck to my list, I would never have found and queried Ms. Fabulous Agent.
She. Loved. It. All of it. My book Hidden. Loved.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe I did both.
I sent out notices to the other agents I have queried or had my full submissions that I had an offer of representation. I could have signed with Ms. Fabulous Agent right then and there (I liked her THAT much), but I had to be courteous. Six other full requests invaded my inbox. I was stupefied. I gave them 10 days to get back to me.
Possibly the longest ten days of my life. Some of them came back with high compliments and very positive feedback, some missed the deadline. I then informed Ms. Fabulous Agent I wanted to sign with her. I don’t think I slept very well that night–I was too hyper. 🙂
She emailed me the Agency Agreement for my preview. I was in a complete daze. And I truly adore her.
You must follow her on Twitter: @jawlitagent. You won’t regret it. She’s made of awesome, and I’m so glad she’s my agent. *happy sigh* Not only does she handle everything so professionally, but she has an impressive educational background and work experience. Plus, did I already mention that she LOVES my book? My dream agent has always been someone who would be as passionate about my work as I am. And I have found her.
Now excuse me while I go
dance party celebrate. I’m still in a daze but it’s slowly sinking in. Finally.