Apr 22, 2011

the see-saw of submitting

Sending your work out into the world can be a bit like riding an off-kilter, unpredictable see-saw. There's the sweat and blood of writing and revising. Then more revising. And more. Then the sweaty fingertips as you type up query letters and send them off to agents, praying that your pitch will grab their attention. Then there's the waiting. For minutes, hours, days, weeks. Sometimes months.
Then the responses come. Inevitably there are rejections. It doesn't matter if they're form or personalized, the letter always stings. But there are some rejections that are much more crushing than others. These are the rejections that come after faint (and sometimes bold) glimmers of hope. An agent requested pages, wants to read more and loves your voice, but ultimately passes for some vague reason that is more often than not out of your control (Agents love talking about "chemistry" with a book. If they don't feel that spark then they don't bite.)
Last week, the see-saw decided to turn. It's funny that when bad things happen, they seem to take place all at once (your windshield cracks, your boss schedules you on days you need off, etc). Well, so do good things. On Saturday I entered a Twitter contest held by Maggie Stiefvater and managed to win a signed and doodled copy of her book "Ballad"! It's one of those things I always enter but never actually expect to win!
Then on Tuesday, after a day at the beach with my family, I logged into my email to get a message from an agent who read my full. At first I thought the email was a rejection, but as I read further my heart began to race and the realization set it. She wanted a phone call!
Phone calls with agents are a big deal. It means your manuscript stood out enough to catch their attention. It means they were in some way touched by what they read, enough so to take time out of their schedule to talk to the author. Sometimes, they also mean an offer of representation.
So, I have a few more days until the call itself. I'm catching up on my research, figuring out questions to ask the agent while I'm on the phone with her and refreshing myself on the manuscript itself (it's been a few months since I last worked on it).
I'll be back next week with more news of the see-saw. Hopefully it will be up!


  1. That's great! Good luck and I hope it goes wonderfully! :)

  2. I followed along with #askagent and found your blog through that. Best of luck with the phone call...and I hope it is THE phone call!

  3. Thanks erica and christy! I've been rereading my manuscript and researching questions to ask the agent. I'll post further news when I find out!