Thursday, May 31, 2012

Introducing: Punch My Query!

Querying is scary. Scary in the 'being-five-years-old-and-watching-The-Shining-for-the-first-time-and-realizing-what-REDRUM-means' way. Okay, maybe not that scary. But it's disturbing - disturbs your sleeping habits, your angsting habits, and most importantly, your refresh-my-inbox habits.

Fear not! I'm here to make things less scary. Querying is only scary when you have a less-than-stellar query. With a great query comes great confidence!

Allow me to introduce a new segment original to this blog; Punch Your Query! Volunteer queriers submit their queries to me.

What I'm doing;

1. Critique the query to help you queriers know what works and what doesn't.

2. Giving the query a makeover! I rewrite the query as if I was querying the project. The author is free to use this query however they wish, or not at all!

Why we're doing it; To help queriers everywhere learn how to shorten, tighten, and make a fabulous query to bolster request rates and hopefully land an agent! Also, we know how hard querying is. It's hell, in the literal 'hot-fire-scary-horned-guy' sense. I want to do everything I can to help out fellow queriers.

My qualifications; I don't claim to be a query expert. I'm only recently agented, but I queried nonstop for three years with five books. The book that landed me my wonderful agent got a 28% request rate! (For comparison, the average request rate is somewhere around 2-5%). This is not me bragging - just trying to let you know that you're in good hands.

How to submit; This query crit is entirely for free. If you wish to submit a query (I accept Young Adult queries only, as they are my speciality), please click the CONTACT ME tab at the top and find my gmail address. Send the query in the body of the email with any email title you wish!

When it happens; We'll be doing this every Friday! Stick around for the first post tomorrow!

Friday, May 18, 2012

How I Got My Agent (SQUEE edition)

Three days before I got The Call, I was crying.

All writers cry. If you're like me, you cry about Game of Thrones, your day job, your general existence, and the fact your F key is slightly sticky so when you try to vent your anger to your pals it just comes out as a long string of "UCK EVERYTHING"s. Writers; if you aren't crying about your manuscript, how awesome a scene you just wrote was, or a full request, you're doing it wrong. Or you're just tougher than 99% of us.

But that day I was crying about rejection. The big R. The dreaded R. The R-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. A wonderous agent had picked my manuscript out of the slush and emailed me back and forth that night while she read. Ultimately, she asked for a time to call. My face was something like this;

We arranged a call time via email. I went to bed hysterical nervous. The next morning we had a great talk, I made a huge fool of myself stuttering over my words, and she suggested revisions. I threw everything I had into those revisions, knowing a fantastic agent was waiting for them. I poured over every word, every sentence, tweaked and re-tweaked for a month. I took a day off work to make a three day productive final weekend, forgot to eat, and stopped only for tea.

When I turned the revisions in, I was so confident. So, so confident. It made the fall that much harder. After twelve days of anxious waiting, Agent 1 turned me down. The revisions just weren't working. I thanked the agent for her time and proceeded to cry my eyes out again. It was never going to work, was it? This was my sixth book, and it was going to fail like all the others.

After my angst reduced from a hot-boil to a just-as-hot simmer, I revenged queried. I sent out a huge slew of queries to everyone, anyone, knowing that Agent 1 had only been my second query. There was a whole world out there that hadn't seen Book 6. I had no hope, though. No real hope. Hope had dive-bombed off the roof of my heart after the revision rejection.

One of my writer friends directed me to Agent 2, who tweeted she was open for queries that weekend only. I queried her for the heck of it. (OH GOD SO GLAD I DID.)

And then magic started happening. Sunday - two requests. Monday - two more. Tuesday - two more. Wednesday - one request and Agent 3 emailed me to arrange a call time next week. I didn't celebrate. I kept my poker face and thought it would never pan out. Hope started to pick itself up from the cement. My writer friends assured me this was great news, and it was, but I still had my cautious mode on full blast. I wouldn't be let down again. Not again.

Thursday - three requests. The sheer amount in such a small time was starting to scare me. My other books got maybe, MAYBE, four requests.

And then Friday came, and delightful Agent 2 called me out of the blue. No email to set up a time, just a straight call. I was (embarrasingly) on the toilet. I heard my phone ring in the other room and was like; SIGH. THESE TELEMARKETERS. NO PEACE EVEN ON THE CRAPPER.

When I came out I tapped the voicemail, and listened, fully ready to delete it. Telemarketers call from New Jersey all the time. My eyes bugged out. It was an AGENT. I called her back right away.

She read and loved it, and I fangirled over her. There was laughing, a little bit of tears, and happy shouting. She offered.

Everything from that point on became a fantastic blur. I nudged agents. Got four other offers, four calls with four seperate and wonderful agents. I had a week to decide.

FINALLY, I called Agent 2 today and told her I chose her.

But really, we chose each other.

I'm proud and flattered and a million other things to announce I'm now officially represented by Jessica Faust of BookEnds LLC.

So, to the past me sitting there crying over the revision rejection, just know, in your alternate past reality, that things worked out, that the revision did NOT lead to failure, but rather, TAKEOFF. With the support/help/time of a million other people and several other agents, you got to where you are today. It's been three years and five books long, but you've finally made it.

Thank you, readers.
Thank you, supporters.
Thank you, whoever you are, for reading this.

Yes, you.


Books written before The One: 5
Queries Sent for The One: 67
Form Rejections: 23
Revise and Resubmit: 1
Requests: 18
Offers of Representation: 5