Friday, December 16, 2016

The Process of Not Giving Up

I first started querying for publication when I was fourteen-years-old.

I'd read one of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' books and decided that if she could do it, so could I. Of course, what I didn't take into account at the time was that she had connections. Big time. But I learned some valuable publishing lessons early because of this. I learned about predatory publishers. I learned about vanity publishers. I discovered there were these things called agents.

And rewrites.

The point is, I've been at this for fifteen years. Fifteen. I've written book after book, queried hundreds of times. I've queried most of the books I've written and I was rejected over and over again. You'd think, after all of that, I'd give up.

And I have. There were a couple years where I wasn't able to do anything. Where I stopped writing but instead buried myself in reading. I spent a year living on a friend's couch after college because I couldn't get a job. I was diagnosed with a form of anemia that causes me to be fatigued very easily. I fell into depressive episodes.

It was hard. It sucked. But it was also during this time that I made my first headway into the publishing industry with an offer from a small press. Which I leapt onto, clung to and prayed would take me to greater things. Five years later I had to request rights back for failure on their part to, well, pay me. It sucked. It hurt.

But during the time that this was happening I had a string of unusual happenings. First, I reunited with my awesome CP Kaitlin after a hiatus brought on by my Grandmother's death. I tried out for #PitchWars. I didn't make it in, but I got some great feedback. Then #PitMad came up and nothing came of that. Not to be discouraged, I tried for #PitchSlam...and got in.

But before #PitchSlam, quite soon after #PitchWars, I was querying again. Researching, sending out cold queries every day. And out of the blue, I got a full request followed by a Revise and Resumbit (R&R). A couple days after I got into #PitchSlam, I got another full request.

I sent off the R&R, got it back, had a phone call, and started at it again for another resubmit. (This revision process was actually pretty awesome).

I should say, it was at this point that I was becoming pretty invested in this agent. She was enthusiastic on the phone, really seemed to understand what I was aiming for and more importantly--she could point out my weaknesses.

#PitchSlam results came out.

I ended up with ELEVEN requests. I hyperventilated a bit, bathed in congratulations, called my mother, thanked a bunch of people and...

Researched. That's right, I got out my spreadsheet, I put all of their names into the spreadsheet and found out who they were, how they wanted a submission and moreover, if I thought they were the agent for me. My full MS was still with my eager beta reader Courtney at this point. (THANK YOU!) I decided I would query Friday/Saturday and let the chips fall where they may.

Plans went a bit sideways, but I sent out requests on Sunday, and then that evening a partial request came in from a cold query. It was a deluge of requests. More than I'd ever had for any manuscript, period. 

Now we're in the waiting.  A lot of waiting. I'm still hoping to have an offer before the end of the year, but I'm not expecting it. Amongst the waiting there have been rejections, there has been another R&R and a even a few partials upgraded to fulls. None of this would have happened if I'd given up.

No matter what happens next, I know without a doubt that I have what it takes to make it the next realm of the query process. I just...have to be patient.

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