Baby Steps

Some of you might remember that back in mid-April I announced a hiatus, of sorts. I had good intentions, though it turns out that any effort to keep my mouth shut in blog-land is one destined to fail. Some of you might also remember I mentioned working hard to meet a self-imposed writing deadline as a reason. Well, that deadline was yesterday.

First, let me explain something here. It is considered Bad Manners and a Waste of Time to pitch a manuscript to an agent if said ms is not substantially complete. For instance, you want to avoid a scenario where an agent gets all excited about your ms and asks to see the thing, only to have you tell her it’s not done. Agents don’t appreciate that. So I’ve heard.

Oh, you want the short version of this tale? I pitched my book to an agent yesterday.

I think it went fairly well, given it was my first time and I was scared to death. I didn’t get sick. Or pass out. Words did not logjam in my mouth and refuse to exit. I was somewhat coherent. The agent asked a lot of questions, mainly about my book but also my career aspirations. I’m pretty sure I answered them. I’m almost positive I didn’t give in to the urge to laugh hysterically at the concept of a writing career. Then she said she really liked my idea and asked for a partial (the first 75 pages and a synopsis).

Now, before anyone gets all overly excited, let me tell you that, as far as I know, everyone who pitched yesterday was asked for a partial. So while this is very cool and very exciting, it did not happen because my fabulously wonderful talent for writing impressed the hell out of anyone. It happened because three agents and an editor participated in a Q&A panel discussion at our chapter meeting yesterday and each of them very graciously agreed to listen to pitches beforehand. I guess they figure that every once in a while it’s a good idea to scout out new talent.

But this is an opportunity. A huge opportunity to get my work in front of a highly respected agent.

And before anyone gets all impatient, the agent said there is no hurry to send anything. She’ll be traveling for a while and then Nationals is coming up. So I figure I’ll be sending something to her around mid-July. She said her turn-around time is roughly three to four months. At which point I will receive either a nicely-worded (I hope) rejection or a request to see the whole thing. And then I’ll wait some more. Publishing is a very slow business.

Actually, while I’m waiting, I’ll be writing the next one. But first I have to finish cleaning up and polishing this one, because I want it to shine. I still have to re-write the beginning. And tighten the middle. And make sure the ending has an emotionally and intellectually satisfying payoff. And try not to think about the infinitesimally small odds of a first book obtaining agent representation, let alone publication, after just one pitch. I’ve got my work cut out for me.

But I’m making progress. One foot in front of the other, one little step at a time.

And to those of you who have been taking turns holding my hand or giving me a shove in the right direction or standing there cheering me on, please know that if it weren’t for you, all of you, I never would have had the guts to do that yesterday. Thank you.


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23 responses to “Baby Steps

  1. Theresa

    Woohoo!!! Way to go, BCB! I’m so excited for you! And really proud that you made your deadline.


  2. Theresa

    Ok, I just noticed something. I’m physically in the Netherlands (meetings for work on Monday and Tuesday). When I posted my comment it took me a minute to realize that all of the blogger stuff is in Dutch.

    For example:
    Verplichte velden moeten worden ingevuld

    Al deze velden zijn optioneel


    Good think I know what all the buttons do, or I would have been lost.

    Ok, back to my usual last minute scramble to get ready. Argh.


  3. Jennifer Talty

    BCB – you know I’ve got your back. Good for you! You should pat yourself on the back. You are a “real” writer!


  4. McB


    You are a great writer. And every published author out there has had a first book accepted … why not you?

    Tell you what, you be all calm and I’ll get excited for you.


  5. Sheryl

    YAY!!! Don’t minimize the experience. It’s a wonderful thing to have finished a book and pitched it;even better to have a positive response to said pitch. Good for you!


  6. WapakGram

    YIPPEEEEEEE for BCB. You have a wonderful voice when you write. No wonder the agent responded..obviously a very astute person!
    We have a “I’m Proud of You” song in our house and I am singing it for you right now!
    Truly, when a dream comes true, (and I think coming face to face with an agent qualifies) it deserves a virtual margarita and a huge (((((((HUG))))).


  7. Margaret

    BCB, WAY TO GO!!

    We’re SO proud of you! Here you went and talked to a BIG SHOT, and you didn’t faint, or spew, or fall on anyone.

    I’m doing the happy dance just for you!



  8. GatorPerson


    Now I would love a post on what this meeting was for. A writing chapter, maybe? And a one-liner about your magnificent, lovely, and otherwise glorious novel? Humm. You need a tshirt that says “Lurking Pays.”

    Go, BCB!


  9. jenb

    BCN, Excellent news…had no doubt that you would be able to say and do exactly what was needed.
    Once that agent reads your ms they will know what we have known all along – You are one great writer/author.
    Looking forward to seeing a few pages. Anything at all you want to share.
    Really really proud of you!!


  10. me

    That is so great! It’s hard enough just to get face time with an agent, so that alone is good thing, but the positive feedbackis fabulous! Way to go!
    So, when can I buy it? 😉


  11. ZaZa

    Well, you may get your first agent read because everyone got asked for a partial, but, baby, that’s still an agent read! Wahoo! Best of luck on this.


  12. Lou

    BCB – that is soooo fab-u-lous!!! We are so proud of you – no brain log jam, answered questions, didn’t puke – I’m impressed!! Pretty soon we will have another published author to read (you). How could it not happen, you’re brilliant!!


  13. Conscripted Cherry

    Woot!!! Proud of ya and good deal- have it marked on my calendar to purchase mid to late 2008- but, uhm, it would help if I had a few more details- oh well, plenty of time


  14. McB

    Can I be your delta reader?


  15. Lori

    I’m so HAPPY for you. You done good, BCB. You done real good.

    I think I’m going to start writing your VH1 “Before They Were Stars” episode script…wait…is there a “Before They were Authors?” show?…heck, is there a VH1 anymore?

    Meh. Who cares? I’ll it up anyway. This is going to be good.

    Oh, I’ve decided you get no say as to how accurate it is.

    Alright, now I want your book to be published just so I can get this show going. I think I’ll get OH to help…if she ever comes back.

    JKJEQ: Just Kidding. Joking ever quickly.


  16. btuda

    That is fantastic news! I hope this is the first of many giant steps for you!


  17. BCB

    You all are so nice. I’m a little overwhelmed at all the support and enthusiasm for something that– well, honestly, something that might never happen. It’s a real long shot. I can’t even tell you how great it feels to know I’ve got people cheering me on.

    Never mind that we’re all a bunch of deluded fools, it still feels terrific.


  18. BCB

    Note to self: Do not ever tell Lori how to contact family members.


  19. Jennifer Talty

    BCB – it’s not such a long shot. Look at me. I’m dyslexic. I was told early on not to even try, it would never work out. Most people don’t get published. And the list goes on and on – but I never quit. I never stopped and in just a few days, I will have my first e-book published.

    It’s not such a long shot my friend. You are talented. You have something to say. I’m in awe of you. You amaze me.

    I’m proud to call you friend.

    I love you.


  20. BCB

    Awww, man, cue the Disney soundtrack:

    When you wish upon a star
    Makes no difference who you are . . .

    I think mine is a dark star presiding over a cold lifeless planet, but hey, I’m not picky. A star is a star and I’m wishing as hard as I know how.

    Back atcha, babe. I’m so very proud of you too.

    Hugs and love.


  21. Mary

    Wait a minute, Lori — don’t all BCB’s relatives hang out in Minnesota? It’s not that big a place, right? (All those thousands of lakes and millions of mosquitoes take up most of the available space, or so I’ve been told.)

    vbskg – Minnesotan for — well, I’m not sure what it really means, but all the Norwegian Lutheran flannel-clad farmboys blushed when I used it. Must have been my pronounciation.


  22. Lori

    I may have an idea where some of her Minnesota relatives hang out, but if she knows of any available Norwegian farmboys, she’s really been holding out on me.

    Oh well, I’m not above doing some loose research.

    pnlcehx: The sound loose research makes.


  23. McB

    Hi Lori! Miss you. Without any young’ns around to keep an eye on us we’ll probably turn into old fogeys.