Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here's the Skinny

I wasn't planning on writing this post - but some friends asked me to share more about the hoo-ha that has been going on around here.

I chose this photo because the path is not even or straight or perfectly lit. I thought it fitting to our individual journey's as writers.

OK -

Here's a very brief rundown for the three people in the world who might be vaguely interested.

wrote manuscripts and many rejections....over many years.

wrote this manuscript

met editor at conference last summer. she requested full

ignored by said editor

sent status query to said editor

ignored some more

entered Miss Snarks First Victim Secret Agent contest

won honorary mention (invite to submit)


ignored some more

entered Miss Snarks First Victim Secret Agent contest the next month (this was before her site was super busy and I could re-enter w/ a different page)

won honorary mention again (invite to submit)


ignored some more

had thought "Hmmm, why don't I research agents myself?"

researched agents (using querytracker - props to them!)

picked four agents that I really liked

queried same

got request for full from said agents

got rejection #1 (agent did not connect w/ book...felt characters were not developed enough...ultimately just didn't love it)

got rejection #2 (agent said book 'too religious' for agent's personal taste. well, there is a travelling preacher in this book...but it is not about religion. whatever.)

began to question this manuscript. decided to try the beta reader route to help me see manuscript more objectively

found beta on absolutewrite

had horrible experience w/ same. she couldn't read past chapter two...just said it was too terrible and painful and why would anyone be reading books like this when they could be reading twilight?...honestly, that's what she said.

felt uber depressed

read manuscript and thought this is complete and utter trash, what was I thinking submitting it to agents???

considered prozac

reached out on two new betas (thank you, Lady Glamis and Lotusgirl!!) who gave encouraging and helpful feedback. Angels, those ladies are.

thought maybe it's not complete crap after all

got e mail from agent #3 saying more time was needed w/ manuscript

got e mail from agent #4 (who was actually #1 on my list) asking if we could set a time to talk

had telephone call with said agent. discussed book in general...what he thought needed work...what his vision for it was...etc.

Representation offered.

thought about it. contacted agent #3 who still had it out...was told it was too similar to something they already represented but would I please consider sending her other work of mine.

decided I wanted to go with someone who 'got me' and this work

contacted agent who offered rep and thankfully accepted. In this second conversation, we discussed expectations of each other, how the work would flow, reviewed contract details, etc.

got contract in mail

signed same

I expected to be dancing and singing and buying everyone chocolates...but really I just felt grateful

and somehow cautious (this is just one step out of many, after all)

and - if I'm honest - a little scared....

could I make the changes needed? Would we be able to place it with a publisher? Would I be exposed as a fraud after all? How would my friends react to the news?

Crazy thoughts....but real all the same.

In the end, I am so happy to have found someone who understands and appreciates the story I was trying to tell and who is easy to talk to/work with.

Not everyone liked or got this novel. Hmmm...where have we heard that before?

OK, enough of this jibbering. On with more interesting discussions....


Danyelle said...

Excellent post, Tess. Thank you for sharing. It's good to know about the Miss Snark's First Victim Contest. I haven't heard back from the agent that invited me to submit since November, despite an email nudge.

*stops feeling sorry for herself*

You're an amazingly brave person, you know that? I'm so sorry about your beta experience over at AW, but I'm glad Glam and lotusgirl were there for you!

You're an awesome person--I hope you never forget or doubt that!

Litgirl01 said...

Wow...thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! Very inspirational! :-)

Corey Schwartz said...

On with more interesting discussions? What could be more interesting than that???? :)

B.J. Anderson said...

Woo hoo! Congratulations, Tess! When did this all happen? It's always good to hear when someone gets an agent. Keep us up to date on how it all goes. And so sorry about that beta reader, but there's always going to be people like that in the world. Good for you to keep going strong.

Wendy said...

Tess, you had me at hello. Completely kidding...but I did love how you wrote this post. I am excited for you that you are at this point of the journey and that you stuck with it. I think it is important to go w/ an agent who "gets" your work!
Fun post & CONGRATULATIONS once again!
~ Wendy

Tess said...

Danyelle - really, you were ignored after placing in that contest as well? What the heck? Why would an agent go through all that and then not even respond...I still don't get it. Maybe we should kindly let Authoress know of our experiences????

Litgirl01 - thanks, friend. I was and is quite a journey.

Corey- I can think of lots of things....

BJ - all happened just barely. And, thanks for the kind words. That first beta experience was pretty awful.

Tess said...

Thanks for the giggle Wendy :D

Janice said...

I personally am thrilled for you. Wonderful news.

Cindy said...

Tess, thanks for sharing. These experiences are always encouraging and serve to help other writers realize that challenges are a part of writing but perseverance can bright a more positive outlook.

Crystal said...

Tess, I am just AMAZED at your tenacity & perseverance. What an awful experience with that first beta reader! But I'm glad that two much better ones came along. And that Secret Agent contest? Yes, maybe Authoress should be told . . . Wow. What a journey you've been on! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story. I AM INSPIRED!

Scott said...

Way to go, Tess.

Writing's not the easiest road to travel. You've hit some bumps, and will hit some more, but perseverance (and a little bit of faith in yourself) pays off. And, forget the fraud part. Puh-leeze . . . : ) Keep on writing . . .


Karen Amanda Hooper said...

As we all know. Reading is subjective. We can't tell you not to be scared but we will toast to you when the publishing houses battle over your story at auction. :)Congrats again.

Robyn said...

Tess, I'm happy for you. The waaaa in my other post was just my way of joking around, but I wished I'd never done that. Truly it has been a rocky road *Mmmm ice cream* but you can see the end. I hope you know how thankful we are that you shared this with us. Thanks, girl and good luck with your agent. I hope you at least had a box of YUMMY chocolates or one of those HUGE Hershey bars at CRACKER Barrel. :)Mmmm, must have chocolate!

quixotic said...

Great post. The path is truly never straight or smooth. Glad to hear things are working well for you.

Tess said...

Thanks, friends. Believe me, I am fully aware that this is a good news story. It is a long and sometimes bumpy road and not everyone will 'get' our work, but if we keep trying, learning, improving our craft, good things happen :)

and, Robyn - no worries,girl! I got the humor :D

Lynnette Labelle said...

This was a very interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Maybe other readers don't care about your writing experiences, but other writers do. I love to hear stories like this.

Lynnette Labelle

Lady Glamis said...

Tess, you need to email Authoress about your journey. I was chatting with her the other day and she's very interested!

I'm glad you put this up. Everybody's path is different, and it's amazing to see all of them intertwine. I'm so glad I could be a part of you realization that your work is splendidly amazing!

I know you will go far. :)

Davin Malasarn said...

Thank you very very much for posting this. It's an inspiring story, really. I'm afraid I'm at the stage where I've decided my book is utter crap. But, I'm going to submit it anyway, in the hopes that I'm wrong. :) I really appreciate you putting this story up for us to read and learn from.

Natalie said...

Tess, thank you. I'm kinda in the middle of that long winding road, sometimes considering giving up. Seeing how hard you worked and where you got gives me hope and strength to push forward.

Dave said...


I liked reading the play by play of how it came about. It is inspiring to see how things can go from one extreme to the other.

Weronika said...

You brought a tear to my eye! What a lovely, inspiring story.

CONGRATULATIONS, Tess! And good luck. There is never a better feeling than knowing that someone out there sees a piece of art like you see it.

Keep us updated!

BTW, who's the lucky agent?

Weronika said...

Oops, never mind--found the link to the agency. He looks fabulous, Tess!

Congrats again!

scott g.f. bailey said...

Tess, congratulations! Finding my agent was much easier than this, because I skipped right to the "maybe I should research agents myself" stage. I queried only eight agents. I got no response from two of them, was rejected swiftly by five of them and was offered representation by the one I most wanted (who had agented a couple of books I really like). Are you doing revisions now? I just spent three months on a rewrite and I'm waiting now to hear back from my agent.

Enjoy this moment. You've earned it.

Tess said...

Welcome Natalie, Dave, Weronika (love that name!)and Scott.

Yes - we are doing some edits...but only a few. Interesting how one agent said it wasn't developed enough and the very next said it was 95% there. He expects to have it out on submission in another week or so. I can't get over this turn of events. So interesting to me.

Alex Moore said...

this is an amazing...and encouraging...story. thanks for sharing. it's a tough road to walk alone, but it's nice to know there are other writers out there making the same journey.

kudos to you for your tenacity and perseverance. i am truly happy for you!

LexiconLuvr said...

I'm so very happy that you went with someone who you have a comfortable fit with and who feels the same way about your work. I'm so happy for you it's ridiculous! Way to go, Tess! Way to go!

Shelli said...

I just got mine too! congrads! :)