If you’ve read my blog profile, you know that one day I hope to have novel published. I’ve been writing and studying writing for years. In order to get published, you almost always need a literary agent. Publishers rarely slog through the “slush pile” (the name for unsolicited manuscripts) because they no longer have the resources to do. So, you need a lit agent unless you’re going to self-publish/vanity publish or go with a very small publisher.
A few years ago, I got very close to “landing” a literary agent. He loved my young adult novel. But in the end he turned it down because the agency determined the book wasn’t commercial enough to worth their time and money. Very sad.
But, ever the optimist (my family terms it stubbornness), I continued writing. It’s probably not stubbornness or optimism that keeps me writing, but the addiction of putting characters together, watching what they do, and sharing their story. Next, I wrote an historical fiction for adults. Then, I found out that historical fiction wasn’t selling at the time. So, that too was put in a drawer. And I started another young adult book. I completed Screwing Up Time. Then I edited and edited and edited. I queried lit agents. I got several bites, but no fish.
I took a class taught by a woman who was a former editor for some of the major publishing houses. Much to my chagrin, I learned that very small mistakes (e.g., using a word/phrase/gesture now considered cliché can get your manuscript rejected within the first page). Sad, but true.
Guess what? I had some clichés. I did another edit and de-cliché of the manuscript and began sending query letters. A couple of weeks ago, a literary agent asked for a “full.” In other words, she wants to see the whole manuscript. So, I’m waiting to hear from her.
On Monday, another literary agent I contacted emailed me and said that she found the first couple of chapters “fascinating” and was very excited to read the rest. I sent it off, and I’m waiting to hear from her now. I know the economy scoffs in the face of debut authors, but I’m hoping (remember, I said I was stubborn).
My kids are hoping too. I’m 16 thousand words into a sequel, and they want me to finish it. But I told them that if I can’t get an agent let alone a book deal, there’s no point in finishing the sequel. But, I have to admit, I’d really like to work with Henry, Miranda, Kate, and Peter again. I love Henry's snarky sense of humor and how Miranda can put him in his place. I'm amazed at how Kate's character has grown. And, of course, I want to see Peter (the villain) get his just rewards once again. In the sequel, I’ve put them in an impossible situation, and I’m desperate to make it even worse and then help them get out of the mess.