I’ll be completely honest with you guys: I never, ever thought I’d be able to say those words. Allow me to share a
long little story.
In November 2011 (yes, during NaNo), I wrote my first full-length YA manuscript, a thriller entitled ONLY HUMAN. After a few months of revisions, I decided the book was perfect and its genius was ready to be shared with the world.
I was such an adorable newbie back then. I would pay good money to make sure that query never sees the light of day again. Actually, I’m not even sure you could call it a query; the letter was more of a synopsis. After some input from an author pal, I whipped that letter into an attention-grabbing pitch. And I was getting requests! Partials! FULLS! But the best pitch in the world will only get one so far when the manuscript is positively dreadful.
That’s okay, though! Because in late 2012, I had a bright, shiny, brand-spankin’-new manuscript that was query-ready. While writing KINGDOM COME, I just knew it was different. This would get me an agent. This book would be my breakthrough. And…well, we all know how well that worked out. *points not-so-discreetly to the KINGDOM COME tab*
While waiting for release day for my little-book-that-could, I knew I couldn’t sit around, twiddling my thumbs. I was beginning to look like this:
There was an idea I’d been wanting to write for a while (a few years, actually), but the concept scared the ever-loving crap out of me. You see, this idea hit way too close to home. I couldn’t write about THOSE mistakes. I couldn’t share THOSE feelings. But then I did. And PLAY ON was born.
This is where things get a little depressing. I received more full requests for this manuscript than ONLY HUMAN and KINGDOM COME combined. I had such high hopes, but you know that whole “subjectivity” thing people are always going on about? Ohhh, it exists. While one agent loved male POVs, another hated it. One agent praised the voice, and another hated it (and ouch). That’s a downfall of writing a book so close to your heart: every rejection hits you right in the feels.
But I was okay. I was. I kept pushing. In early July, I decided to throw my precious book baby into a blog contest, and I was incredibly honored to be selected. However, when agent/editor request day rolled around, do you know how many requests I got?
0. Nada. Zilch. Goose egg.
It didn’t matter that I still had fulls out with a handful of agents (including Agent-Awesome). With that one day of rejection, my spirits were shattered. I lost hope. And that’s when I flat-out told my husband, “I quit. I obviously suck at this. My stories suck. I’m a hack. I’m not cut out for this.” I still loved my manuscript, but when those seeds of doubt begin to grow, they can sprout a full-blown tree of self-loathing overnight. Of course, this isn’t where the story ends, because that’d be sad. An hour later (yep, one measly hour later), my inbox dinged with an enthusiastic full request. And that request gave me the nudge to try just one more time.
The next day, a PitchMAS session was going down on Twitter. I hadn’t planned on participating, but if you’ve followed me on Twitter, you know there’s never been a pitch contest I could turn down (um, sorry about that, by the way). I threw a half-arsed pitch into the game around lunchtime, but got no bites. Then I tweaked a little here and a little there, and…I got requests. LOTS of them. At first I was like:
Then I was like:
One request was from Agent-Awesome, who still had my full manuscript. I sent her a super-awkward tweet that went something like, “Um, hi. You already have this, so what should I do?” She asked me to shoot her a reminder email, which I did.
<fade to black>
If you think there’s more to this twisty tale of fate and flailing, you’re absolutely, 100% correct. Unfortunately, I can’t share all the amazing details just yet. I CAN say that I’m now represented by the oh-so-lovely Lana Popovic of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth.
And I. Am. THRILLED.