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.