Wow, It’s hard to believe that last post was in September. Now that many moons have passed, it’s a good time to take a look back, see what I’ve accomplished creatively and look at where I go from here. Let’s see…there was:
September, in which I gained a mentor and lost a stepfather
One of the many benefits of #PitchWars is that I got a mentor (Yay!) Even better, she’s a super-awesome writer of middle grade fiction who lives in the South. (Like me!) Her name is Lisa Lewis Tyre and her book, Last in a Long Line of Rebels, comes out this Fall. I can’t wait to read it! If you like to read tween/teen stories or you know middle school or upper elementary readers who do, you can pre-order it here now. Anyway, Lisa loved my story and was so encouraging, while still giving me lots of feedback and suggestions for adding flavor to it. I was thrilled to work with Lisa.
But often when one hand giveth, the other taketh away. At the same time this exciting thing was happening with my writing, my stepfather was fighting for his life against a brain tumor. It came out of nowhere in August. By the end of September, he was gone. I spent more time with my extended family in that month than probably in the last five years combined. And every minute was worth it. There are some things that are more important than writing, and it’s a good thing to remember that, especially when you are living in rejection-ville, as happens when you are querying.
October, in which I learned how bad I suck at queries
You’d think that putting together one short paragraph that hooks the reader and gives them the basic concept of your book would be easy, especially when you’d already written a whole book. You’d be wrong.
I wrote, got feedback and rewrote those three paragraphs approximately 8,332 times and finally settled on something. But you never really know for sure until you throw it out there.
November, in which I got two full requests(!)
So maybe I wasn’t so bad at queries. I wasn’t great but I ended up with a couple partial requests from PitchWars anyway (Yay!) And, I got another outside that, too (Yippee!) Then, I got a rejection (Boo.) But then…I got two follow up requests for full manuscripts. (Yahooo!)
December, in which I read a lot and tried to pretend I wasn’t waiting for anything
The header says it all. The waiting stinks. And, as you hear of others landing agents even during the holidays, it’s hard to convince yourself that you just haven’t heard anything from agents yet because they just haven’t opened your email. But it was good to read a lot just for pleasure. I haven’t indulged in that nearly as much as I’d like in the past year.
January, in which I stopped waiting and jumped back into the race
I started querying in earnest but slowly. And I started getting requests, especially when I included sample pages, which means hey, my writing doesn’t suck. But the process of finding an agent who is just the right fit is often a long one.
I’ve gotten more rejections and I’ve gotten more requests. I’m sticking with it, listening to the encouraging feedback I’m getting from agents and fellow writers, and improving my work.
I have to give myself credit for all I accomplished. I…
1) finally finished the book
2) did well in a couple contests and got some notice
3) got a fabulous mentor
4) learned how to revise and produce a polished end product
5) got some agent interest
And what got me these accomplishments was: to just keep doing the work, step by step, and find the joy in that. To make my writing the best it can be and keep putting it out there. Slow and steady wins the race (I hope!)