The Weirdest Book Acceptance Story Ever

This is not a dignified tale. I wish I could say I acted professional and composed after getting my acceptance letter, or that I even had a little celebration dance, or ran outside and bugged the neighbors with a few whoops and hollers, as I’d always imagined it would go down. I certainly didn’t anticipate the explosive reaction that a lifetime of waiting, hoping, praying, and repeated disappointment would elicit in me. And I don’t know if anyone ever shared the long-awaited news of their publishing acceptance with other travelers at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere.

We were driving home at the end of our vacation in the Rocky Mountains a couple weeks ago. I had crappy cell service most of the way through Wyoming, but I got a faint signal while we ate at a rest stop out in the prairies. Just enough for some emails and texts to come in while I sat in the car waiting for Lia and Emily to finish up in the restroom. The first email I saw was the one from the publisher I’d wanted for Cobalt since the beginning: Xchyler Publishing. I would have psyched myself up for the feeling of crushing disappointment I’d grown accustomed to when I was sending out The Moongate, except I saw the email header: Welcome to the X!
I sat uncomprehending for a second, then launched out of the car shrieking. Eva thought there was a bee or something in the car (we had wasp and bee problems at the resort, including one wasp that was NOT happy that I rolled over on it in bed), so Eva ran out right behind me and didn’t realize what was going on until she heard me screaming at my mom through her car window. My poor mom, she was so stressed over the problem of finding a motel for our last night on the road; she caught on but stared at me kind of shocked, until I turned and ran flapping and yelling up the trail toward the restrooms, Eva hot on my heels and screaming even louder.
People stared. I didn’t care.
Emily said she and Lia heard us coming and wondered if we were just on our way to tell them to hurry up because we needed to go, but they didn’t know why we were screaming. I burst into the restroom and found a confused Emily standing near the sinks. The exchange went kind of like this:
Emily: “Wait. Cobalt got accepted?!”
Lia (from the stall at the end): “What is happening out there?”
And that’s the story of how I celebrated the acceptance email from my dream publisher with my kids and strangers inside a rest stop bathroom.

Our Vacation: Dying Cars and Frisky Wasps

The story is even more awesome to me considered what we went through at the beginning of the Most Stressful Vacation Ever. I won’t say Vacation From Hell, because it turned out really nice in the end, but boy did it have more than a few glitches.
We caravanned out from Boise with the intention to stay overnight in the mountains in Utah, then continue on to our family reunion at the Winding River Resort in Colorado. Just after making it into the beehive state, my step-dad’s car broke down. After attempting for hours to urge the disabled car out of the wilderness at least (big costly mistake), the girls and I went on ahead and got a room at a scary motel in downtown Ogden. My parents finally got their car towed to a mechanic and they got a room at another (and nicer) place, since ours was now fully booked.
The next day we were supposed to have arrived at the resort, but we spent the day at a public park, many of us in tears, as we tried unsuccessfully ALL DAY to find a rental car to continue the trip. My mom was resigned to staying behind with my step-dad in Ogden while the rest of us drove up to the resort, but we didn’t want to go without her. She’d planned this trip for over five months, and my brother’s girls were so looking forward to seeing their grandma. Meanwhile, my step-dad’s car needed a new engine, and as of this moment is still at the shop in Utah waiting to be repaired. Defeated, we got another hotel room that night and went to bed not knowing what we were going to do, but pretty much certain our vacation was ruined.

The next morning, my mom made a few last calls and found a rental. Once again on the road, we made it to the resort that night. We had a wonderful time with family we don’t get to see very often, and I got some pictures like these:

A wild Lia. Sneaking in for a closer picture might have been dangerous.

The adorable cabin I stayed in with three of the girls
Partyin’ around the campfire
My brother and Lia jamming

Emily and my mom 😉

A rustic writer’s setup (I didn’t get any writing done)

I’m Not Looking For An Agent Anymore!

No, I didn’t find an agent. Did I getcha? But after reading this blog post, this guy‘s posts regarding agents, and this kitty’s blog (my kitty should totally get a blog too), I think I’m going to shelf my agent list (at least for now) and concentrate on compiling my list of small press and indie publishers who accept un-agented submissions.

I’ve been querying agents on and off for over 2 years. The “off” periods included pulling my MS for revisions, and just getting tired of the rejections and needing a few weeks to lick my wounds and cry into my pillow.

During this time, I’ve amassed 70 rejection letters. A small amount to many authors who’ve had over 100, but I think this is a respectable number. I can brag about it! Out of this entire mess, I’ve had one request for a partial, one request for a full (from a New York agency! That was cool, and it was a very close one, she loved it but not quite enough), and only a handful of very kind personal rejections. The rest, of course, were form letters. Not that I have a problem with form letters – at least they’re better than the “no response means we don’t want ya” kind.

The rejection that hurt the most? The one that began, “Wow, Kristin!” My immediate thought was, “I have an agent!” But continuing to read, I realized she said wow because my query had gone to her spam folder, she’d just found it, and was feeling bad it had taken her so long to reject me. Ouch.

I’m so done. I’m sure I’ll get rejections from publishers as well, but at least I’m cutting out the middle man. I don’t really think The Moongate is a “Big 6” kind of book anyway, but I can definitely see it getting some love with a great indie press.

Hey, if my favorite bands are indie, why wouldn’t it be good enough for me?

One day I might dust off that agent list and start again, but after 2+ years I think it’s time to try a different approach. What do you guys think? Any advice for an indie author? How to market, how to find publishers to submit to, anything else I need to know?

Oh, and I still have my list of agencies who accept YA (info in the tab at the top of my blog) for those who are interested. I know that having an agent is still the right choice for many authors, and in the future, it might be for me. Who knows?