I've thought about this blog post for a long time. I've read countless others' experiences and joy, including many of my friends. The query process is tough, no doubt, and a few make it with ease while others suffer and yet others throw in the towel. I almost quit several times, but the words and the stories kept coming, thrashing around in my head until I caved and gave them an edited draft. I think my muse almost pimp slapped me the last time I thought I could quit. That's what a true writer is. They don't write for fortune and fame. They write because it's their heart and soul. Quitting is not a realistic option.
I wrote many books over the past few years, and when I go back to look at them, I clearly see the progress. Maybe that's what I needed. Maybe the querying process forced me to take a long, hard look at my writing. What was I doing wrong? And it forced me to read a lot more. In the process, I met some amazing people, authors, editors, publicists, and readers. My writing improved dramatically, and some books even made it to print.
I vaguely remembered Veronica Roth saying you have to write what's in your heart. Don't get me wrong, I love sci-fi and fantasy. This time, for the first time, I wrote something cultural, emotional, and based on my life events. I literally cried writing scenes in this book. I cried when I edited. I cry just thinking about it. Because it's so close to my heart. I'm certain a rather large and unsettling part of me would die if this book didn't find a home.
I needed someone to say they LOVED it. Well, someone did say those exact words to me, more than once even. Yep. I woke up early last week because my phone beeped to tell me I had email. I thought, before I ever opened my eyes, it's October. My favorite month, my favorite season, and it's going to be darn good.
Why? Well, The Walking Dead is back, duh. I can finally drink a pumpkin spice latte and not feel weird. Pumpkin everything, really. I love autumn colors. I like leaving the heat behind and getting into my scarves, boots, and coats. I knew I'd hear back from a lot of important people this month.
I opened my eyes and smiled. It was going to be a good month. I saw the email that woke me up was from an agent from one of my top agencies. I wasn't going to feel hurt this time because I was in a good mood already. I expected to see the words "unfortunately, not quite right for me" at any point. Instead, she asked to set up a phone call the following day to discuss possible representation.
I smiled some more. I didn't flip out like I always thought I would. Maybe those past few years of rejections and lost hopes humbled me to the point where I can relax about it all, and if something great happens, that I'd be happy and grateful, and if nothing happened, I was chill enough to not let it bother me (as much).
It could've been a revision and resubmit request, although I think that should be stated in the email. I've heard of it happening. It could be a way of telling me I SUCK and never to write anything again, although not likely. Or, it could be THE CALL. One of the most anticipated calls in the life of a writer. Someone loves my work and they want ME.
I didn't get all anxious and excited. I played it cool. We set it up.
Tomorrow came. It was going to be a good day because I had a pumpkin spice cupcake that I'd bought the day before and my milkman was going to bring me pumpkin cheesecake muffins, pumpkin breakfast cookies, and pumpkin cookie dough that day. All was good. I told myself it's probably an R&R. That was better than a rejection.
I answered the phone at 8 am sharp. Dream Agent loved my book, and she wanted to rep me.
I smiled. Big time. Ahem, hecks to the yeah.
We talked and we clicked and she was excited and I was getting excited. I'm very reserved and quiet, even around people I know and am comfortable with. But with Dream Agent, I might've babbled and maybe she needed to interrupt me at some point. Then I spent the next half hour sending off emails to all the agents who had my material. I knew I would go with her, but I had questions and she had answers.
That day, my friends, family and author friends who'd gone through this were hyped, more excited than me. They told me I should be more excited, but I kept my cool because I learned not to expect the great things they were doing. I'm happy to make it this far, and I'd keep reaching for my dreams. It's not a race.
I'd compiled a playlist that inspired and enveloped the emotions of this book. I told myself I wouldn't play it until it found its place in the world. It did find an agent, and that was cause for celebration. So I played that forbidden playlist…and I almost cried.
The songs are linked to such strong emotions, the same that made me cry in the book. I teared up because I was excited, anxious, elated. Landing an agent is only the beginning. There's a long road ahead of me that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. There will more rejections, more editing, more revisions.
I knew I wanted this agent from the moment I found her. I have her now, and that's a major milestone.