Spring Has Sprung! (and other shit)
While redesigning my website (hello, things I do instead of drafting my WIP) I realized I haven't posted this year! Not once! Oops. Okay, I should be drafting right now, but you know what? This blog needs an update. *blows dust off blog*
Because things have happened since my bittersweet, goodbye epic trash fire 2017 post!
Many good things, and some not-so-great things I'll omit because this isn't a diary, no matter how much I want it to be. Let's start with the best, the brightest, the most awesome news: I signed with my new agent! Read on!
To recap: Pitch Wars ended in November, and I did okay in the agent round. Not bad, not good, just okay. I won't lie: I was disappointed with how my manuscript "showed" because, with 180 entries far more interesting than mine, it got overlooked. (I say overlooked because many of those agents later requested fulls when I cold queried them.) But that's the nature of agent rounds and flashy contests. It hurt at the time, oh it stung. So, I began querying. Because the slush pile works, my friends. With pretty decent results, light-years better than when I queried my first book.
In December I received an email from an agent. For a phone call. More than anything, I was relieved, thinking my rough year might have a happy ending. I prepped and awaited that phone call anxiously. At the end , I found out it was for an R&R. To be clear, I am not knocking R&Rs, but when you have the call, you hope it’s THE CALL. Even though I was initially disappointed, I completed the R&R pretty quickly because I have zero chill and a hyperactive work ethic. I rocked that R&R and my manuscript was for the better. In early 2018 I sent it out. And waited. Sent out more queries. Twiddled my thumbs, played video games, started—and stopped—a few WIPs.
I queried widely and had a high request rate. But I was nearing the end of the line. So far, my R&R was met with radio silence. Any other feedback on fulls was subjective, not revision-worthy. Other than a few agents who were currently closed, I didn't have many others I really wanted to query, just a small list remaining. I had quite a few fulls/partials out, but I was trying to find a way to let go of the manuscript.
I sent out a few final queries to those still on my list, which included a brand new agent I had this good gut feeling about. Soon after, said agent requested the full manuscript. I sent it off and strapped in for the long haul. The agent said they'd get back to me ASAP, but in publishing ASAP might as well mean six months.
The next morning, a Friday, I woke up early to an email from that agent. Great, I thought, when I opened the email, seeing a complimentary paragraph of things the agent had loved about the manuscript. In my half-awake mind, I jumped to conclusions: the agent read a few chapters, had some nice things to say, and would wrap up the email with that infamous "But unfortunately, I'm going to have to pass at this time..." because I'd gotten many of these emails. The good ole compliment sandwich.
I skipped to the end of the email—and, wait a second—the agent wanted to set up a call for that upcoming Wednesday!!! I was elated! But, oh my god, that was in five days. Cut to the longest five days ever; I played a lot of video games, talked endlessly about how I'd be okay if it was another R&R, and laid on my floor groaning like Tina from Bob's Burgers. (Just kidding, I wasn't that dramatic.) After the R&R in December, I was wary of phone calls with agents. I didn't want to get my hopes up, only to have them smashed. On the following Wednesday, I had the call with Jennie Kendrick. After some chitchat about revisions, Jennie offered representation.
I had an offer. I wanted to laugh. Cry. Scream a little. You know, process the entire emotional spectrum. Instead I asked them four bazillion questions, hung up, and danced around my living room. I knew right away Jennie's offer was going to be hard to beat. I joked to my boyfriend I was going to have a moral crisis if I received another offer. Not only did Jennie get my book, but we'd clicked. I wanted to accept but right away... I had a buttload of queries out and over twenty fulls/partials with other agents. So. Commence The Offer of Rep Nudging! Ultimately, I went with my gut.
I'm happy to announce (a little belated, sorry neglected blog) that I signed with Jennie Kendrick of Lupine Grove Creative (now of Red Fox Literary)! Jennie's new to agenting, savvy as hell, and is very familiar with the YA community (she writes and edits for Forever YA, an awesome blog, check it out here) and is a part-time bookseller in—GET THIS—San Francisco. My heartland. The setting of my book. How perfect is that?
I knew BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN would be in good hands with the bonkers-enthusiastic agent who read the whole thing overnight. Working with Jennie this past month has been a dream, and I couldn't be happier. I finally feel as if I've found my partner to weather the publishing storm with.
Fun Fact: this time last year, March 2017, I was drafting the very first iteration of BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN. Now I'm revising with my agent, getting it all sparkly for editors. I love the full-circle-ness of this timeline. It makes my heart happy.
That's my BIG(mouth) news. But 2018 has been pretty great to me in other ways.
I'm mentoring for Author Mentor Match (Round Four) and I'll get to work one-on-one with a chosen mentee to revise their manuscript. I'm so unbelievably excited for this, and I love the AMM community. I'm also co-mentoring TeenPit, a pitch contest for teen writers! While I've toyed with several WIPs, I've (hopefully) locked down a solid idea worth pursuing. My goal is to get a draft zero done during CampNaNo, which begins in April. This is the same drafting setup I used for BIGMOUTH, and hey, that turned out pretty well.
If you're reading this and still querying, hang in there! A lame sentiment, but an important one. Set a goal for how many queries you want to send out/rejections you want to receive, and then move on to your next book if you hit that milestone. Letting go is tough, but essential for survival. Look into mentoring programs like AMM, don't put all your self worth on querying/how well you do in an agent round, celebrate the little things, and keep writing words. We get better with each book.
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