But I digress.
So, I’m blessed that my book (actually my three books!) has found a home with an awesome editor. I’m so looking forward to the next months/years getting to know Melissa and working with her to make my books the best they can be. I can never properly express my gratitude for her belief in me and my work.
All right. For those inquiring minds that want to know, here’s my story. If you really don’t care, stop reading now because, though the timeline is relatively short, I’m a writer which means, by definition, the story is going to be long.
First, let me say, I’ve read a LOT of author blogs about their road to publication. Many of them talk about their lifelong aspiration to write—how they knew they were destined to be a writer at age 5 when they started scribbling captions in their coloring books or writing plays for their friends and family.
That was SOOOO not me.
So, along comes my daughter, who’s an avid reader. I was thrilled that she took an interest in reading. And, being the diligent parent I am, I felt it was my responsibility to know what she was reading. I started browsing her books and found that I really enjoyed a lot of the YA novels she was accumulating. Then, in some unexplainable stroke of insanity, (maybe some kind of aneurysm?) I decided last July (2008) to do something special for her 14th birthday. I sat down and wrote her a 120K word YA thriller that I finished in October, in time for her birthday. I thought I was done—but my Muse had other ideas. I’d caught the bug.
I started my second novel (a realistic contemporary YA) in October and queried in January. I’d done a lot of blog reading and got that the road to getting published was nearly impossible. My true belief was that I didn’t have a prayer. So I was shocked out of my socks when five agents requested manuscripts. I got a lot of positive feedback, but no offers. Still, I was one step closer, and realized I must know how to write a query if I was getting requests. So all I needed was a really great book.
A few weeks later I went to the San Francisco Writers Conference, where I met some great people and heard about the Big Sur Writers Workshop. That workshop was in March. I had to send a writing sample to be critiqued right away, and all I had completed (that I was willing to show anyone) was the realistic contemporary YA manuscript that was out with agents, but I figured that ship had already sailed. So even though I was only eight thousand words into my first draft of Personal Demons, I decided to take a risk and send it.
The critique groups and agents there were awesome and I got some VERY encouraging feedback as well as a request for the full manuscript when it was finished, so I got serious and finished it. I sent 18 queries in June and July and got a lot of manuscript requests really quickly. (I'd share my query letter, but there are spoilers—things I thought necessary to capture agents' interest and show them my book was different than the multitude of YA paranormal books already out there.) But then everything seemed to stall. I tweaked the manuscript while I waited on agents, but didn’t want to mess with it too much.
In August I was on a business trip to Sydney and was surfing the web when I found a blog interview with a new agent at FinePrint Lit—Suzie Townsend. (Thanks Realm Lovejoy.) I sent my e-query to this new agent and one other agent at 10am on 8/29/09. That was a Saturday. I figured if she was fast, I might expect to hear from her sometime the following week. So I nearly fell off my chair when an email came at 11:30am THAT SAME DAY requesting my manuscript. Less than two hours after my query, my full manuscript was in her hands.
I already had eleven other manuscripts out, some since the middle of June, so I figured I was in for a wait. But another email came just over two weeks later in which she told me she was having some second readers take a look. Coincidentally, I had received a call from another agent that same day offering representation, so I emailed Suzie back to tell her and she sped up the process on her end, calling to offer representation two days later. I received two other offers and sat down with my options.