Category Archives: Agents

Very Cool Prize Won and Some Musings…

Current Facebook Status: woke up thinking it was Saturday. She nearly cried when she realized it wasn’t. Not really, but was very disappointed. 😉

Plus posted this pic today:

Currently playing in the background: NCIS, season 6, next to last ep [whatever number that is] and my DVD is skipping…

There it was.  Nathan Bransford’s 1000th blog post.  He was offering a critique of the query letter and first five pages of the manuscript for the 1000th commenter.  So I joined in the fun.  Lots of Princess Bride quotes and Star Wars questions – along with a few [dozen?] recs for Castle [and Nathan Fillion!].  So I made a few comments, possibly a few new friends and then it said 970 comments… Could I get two more in?!  ‘Eek!  Who will it be?’  And the next page said like 1014 comments!  I’d missed it!  Or had I?!  I went back a page and… voila!

That did it!  Comment 1000!  So I am now the proud winner of a query letter/5 pages critique by super cool agent Nathan Bransford – who also had the distinction of being my first rejection ;).  Now to fret over them a bit before sending them to him.

Seriously, as I’m getting ready to send queries out to the agents that I really, really want to work with – this is huge!  Thank you, God.  It’s a total God thing!

So that was the cool prize, now the musings…

After a rough end of the week last week, I read this blog post today in Novel Journey’s author interview with A. K. Arenz:

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

In the mid 90s I took a class called Creative Writing in Fiction at a nearby university. One of the things I walked away with was that if you truly wanted to write, if it’s what you felt you were called to do, you had to trust your gut. Sometimes relying on critiques and such can stifle you—but that’s something each individual has to decide.

Wow.  Trust my gut.  I so need to do that.  [Yes, Jan, I know you said it the other day, too!] Additional confirmation from those you love – and who love you – and trust is always awesome, but sometimes you just gotta go with your gut.  Like Gibbs.

In all seriousness, that’s making light of the ‘gut’ thing.  It’s also that still, small voice.  It’s the voice that told me to pack everything in the van two hours before my water broke with Emily [Matt thought I was nuts].  It’s the voice that told me when the pregnancy tests would be positive – and when they’d be negative when the docs were trying to decide if Em was going to stick around.  It’s the voice that told me to put myself on virtual bedrest when I was pregnant with Christopher, because even though his due date was Aug. 24, he was going to be a July baby [July 25 to be exact].  It’s the voice that told me surgery at 4mos was the right thing to do for him.  It’s the voice that told me to have the ambulance come to the surgery center and take him to the hospital after his tonsils/adenoids last month.  I didn’t listen then and he ended up turning blue at home.  Twice.  And then got the ambulance ride anyway.

So it’s that still, small voice that’s telling me I can do this.  I have talent.  It may need work, but I am good enough.

How ironic that the post that was going to be just ‘musings about when to ignore critiques’ comes the same day I win a critique from an agent?

Or maybe it’s just a God thing.

So – time to trust my gut and get those pages to Nathan.

The ‘In Crowd’

It’s September.  That means it’s time for me to send out the serious queries to guys like Steve Laube and all of the agents at Books and Such and so on.  Of course, today there’s a post by Michael Hyatt on his blog [Top Ten Posts of August – hits wise] and there’s a link to a post he made with all of the agents he’s worked with who work with Christian authors.  There’s like 40 of them!  While that’s much better than my list of *six*, I wish I’d seen it earlier in the summer when I could have queried the non-first choices earlier.  Ah well.  Back then my query letter wasn’t as good ;).  Just ask Erin.

I’ve been looking around at blogs and Facebook pages and see a number of the authors I’m discovering are ‘friends’ or ‘fans’ of each other.  I long to become a part of that group – even if the relationships are superficial at best.  Just a sign of support for a fellow author with no real relationship [I don’t know that that is the case, of course, and it seems that more than one have genuine relationships but as a ‘worst case’ kind of thing].  I see not just the Deb Raneys or Karen Kingsburys who have dozens of books out but those like Megan DiMaria and Candace Calvert who have two or three and wonder if I really have what it takes.

I know I’m insecure about myself and my abilities.  Mostly.  Every once in a while, I have a shining moment of self-confidence where I know – no, I know that I know – that I can do this.  That I have talent as a writer.  That someone besides me will find humor in what I find humor in [and not just like Melissa who laughed as Mandie loves Andy’s Frozen Custard and St. Louis Cardinals games – like I do! Or Penny when Mandie and Liz’s mom eats dessert for her appetizer – just like her mom does!].  That someone else will cry as I have when writing my characters in difficult situations.  That someone else will be so entranced that they’ll grin from ear to ear like I do when romance finally finds the hero or heroine.  I can do this.

Will the road to author-dom take me to a major publishing house?  Will I find that an agent is a rare commodity indeed and that, even with persistence, I’m just not quite that good?  Will I end up, a few years and several more Nanos from now, self publishing and hoping to sell 25 copies to friends and family while keeping that slim hope that one copy will someday find it’s way into the hands of Chip MacGregor or someone at Alive Communications?

I don’t know.  But I know I’m going down this road.  This is something I’ve longed for on one level or another since Jr. High or earlier [and I have the /shudder/ stories Chrissy and I wrote to prove it!].  I’m going to pursue it.  If Unbreak Her Heart doesn’t end up being my big break, that’s okay.  I’ve got at least two plotlines I could work on for Nano this year and then query next year.  I’ve grown and learned this year.  I’ve handled my three rejections [and a number of other no responses] well.  The ones that will come this fall may be a bit harder to deal with, but I can.  I’ve been clinging to the verse

For I know the plans I have for you, saith the LORD.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans for hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

I looked up Jeremiah 29:12 tonight because there is no period at the end of verse 11.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Jeremiah 29:12

He will listen.  Verse 12 is on my bathroom mirror.  I’m claiming it.  But verse 13… “I will listen to you“.  The Lord of all creation will listen to me!  ME!  How cool is that?  He knows the desires of my heart.  He hears me when I pray, when I ask for His will but knowing that I hope His will and my desires are lining up.  Isn’t that the best ‘in crowd’ to be in?!

He knows I’ve never truly been a part of any ‘in crowd’ – not as far as I was concerned anyway and it’s likely that even if I were to sell millions of books I would never feel like I’d ‘arrived’, but it’s nice to dream.  And all the ladies I’ve had contact of any kind with have been nothing but gracious.  I hope that, someday, if there’s some other hopeful author out there who contacts me, I can be just as kind.

Wouldn’t that just be cool?  To be seen as part of the ‘in crowd’?  Ah… a girl can dream!

God’s Sense of Humor? Or Timing?

I’ve been working on queries again this week.  EEK!  I sent out one email one last night.  I fully expect it to be a rejection but at least it didn’t bounce like it did when I sent it a couple months ago – you know, before I made a bunch of edits to the book itself.

This morning I was working on my query for Steve Laube – my top choice for an agent at this point.  Why?  Because he’s well respected in the industry.  He works with some great authors.

And he lives in Phoenix.

Where I grew up.  And where, if he’s my agent, I may have to visit sometime.  You know.  For business ;).  Yeah.  That’s it =D.

Seriously, though, he’s a top choice for many other reasons, but gets a + for location.

Anyway, I was going through the submission requirements and one of the things his office wants is: If this is a Christian novel and you had to choose a scriptural foundation for the book what verse would you use?

I was talking to Jan, my ‘mom’, and was feeling a bit down.  How do I really know this is what God wants me to be doing?  What makes me think that I will get an agent and contracts and everything else?  Me out of everybody in the whole wide world who’s written a book?  I hadn’t really though too much about the scriptural foundations.  Nate and Mandie are Christians.  They go to church.  They believe God has a plan even if they can’t see it.  They read their Bibles and pray, but it’s more of an overt overtone than a quoting scripture verse every other page type thing, so this was something I was prepared to agonize over.

Then it hit me.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I pasted it to Jan in the chat window.  Even as I thought it, I knew that it wasn’t just meant for Nate and Mandie, but for me, too.  I may not know what the plans are, but I know the Lord has them for me.  Plans to prosper [whether economically or otherwise] and not harm me.

So, I have a verse for Mandie and Nate.  I have a verse for me.  So the sense of humor?  Or timing maybe is a better way to put it.

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the memory verses from my Bible study group this summer.  And probably the only one I actually remember at the moment ;).

And on the ‘prosperous’ note – today, I’m writing that check to pay off that student loan!

Edit: My pastor’s wife posted the same verse to her daughter on Facebook today!  Think God’s telling me [and Rebekah?] something? 🙂

Rites of Passage

Today is the day I (sort of) became an official author.

I got my first rejection!

Yesterday, sent my very first query ever to agent extraordinaire Nathan Bransford and, as expected, he rejected me today.  He doesn’t rep my genre, but he has a fun blog and says that he loves query letters.  One post is even labeled, ‘When in doubt, query me’ – so I did.  He sent a nice, polite form rejection.

So today, I sent out 3 more email queries and am readying my first snail mail query – it will hopefully go out by the end of the week.

I also got my own blog.  For reals.  My fabulous friend, Ang, is working on my website sometime soon because that’s what she does and she rocks.

So today I feel like a real author.  Because today I got rejected.  And that’s okay :).  There’s more to come, but hopefully, there will also be a few requests for partials, some for full manuscripts and, eventually, a contract!  I can’t wait.