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?

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And Then I Will Find Some Food and Write Some More…

Well friends, I’ve started feeling like this again whenever I get a rejection:

My latest rejection last week was particularly hard. I know I’d said I wasn’t going to let them get me down anymore, and that I’m perfectly okay with a small print publisher or self-publishing. And I still am. I think what’s more upsetting to me is no longer “Am I not good enough?” but “What do I do now?” After I’ve gone through my entire list of agents to query, how do I put a quality book out myself? A gorgeous cover, effective marketing, and all that. I guess, once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. There are still 100 or so agents I haven’t bothered yet.

So now I’m almost back to being in this frame of mind:

So there! ;D

Now, guess what? I’m writing again, because my shoulders are feeling a lot better. Not 100% better, but I’m being careful with my online time and how I’m sitting while using the laptop. So I’m on a roll again with Cobalt. Whee…

Also, I got a couple of awards! Thank you to Jennifer and Donna for the Versatile Blogger Award and the Lovely Blog Award, respectively. I’m supposed to share a few facts about myself, but as I have some pretty bad allergies today and can’t think of any new facts, I’m going to post a link to one of my older posts with some interesting me trivia. There will be a test later.

One more thing before I go find something to cram into my face. (It’s 4:08 and I haven’t eaten yet today!) I added page tabs to my blog, with my book/WIP info in one of them. Before that, I’d had all my projects listed under the “about me” in the right sidebar. I’m not sure which I like better. Opinions?

Derpy Mistakes and Horrible Sisters

It’s almost 2 am and I should be going to bed right now, but instead I’m having a freakout. A freakout of the bad, but hopefully quite unnecessary, kind. I just submitted a query to an agent I’ve really been looking forward to querying for a long time. My hotmail was being stupid and saying the server was too busy. So I saved the draft and tried again a few minutes later. Every time, the font would screw up (I have it set to TNR 12 pt but it kept switching to some random font in super tiny). It’s like my stupid hotmail is trying to sabotage me! So I was freaking out already about getting the font right, and hoping nothing else got messed up either. After a few tries, the message finally sent.

I should have just quit for the night and tried again tomorrow. I checked the Sent Messages folder, and found out that it got sent twice! Ugh, now I look not only really desperate but really amateur. At least in my eyes I do. I’m sure we’ve all had some really derpy moments with some of the agents we’ve submitted to. But I was really, really hoping for perfection with this one! This is a good case for switching to Gmail…

So then Monday was also really lame and I didn’t post funnies. I have a few funny pics and videos to try to make up for it. đŸ™‚

I made a pet hamster out of our cat Crybaby’s fur! A hamster the other cats won’t try to hunt and kill! Then I stuck it on a dresser to see how long it would take the kids to notice. It took about 2 weeks before someone said, “What the heck is this?!”

We call this Emily’s troll face.

My new garbage can came with a stowaway!

We had to get out and take this picture as soon as we saw the sign! We got a lot of weird looks too, which I found baffling. I mean, look at the sign, people! It’s kind of obvious what we were up to…

Lia didn’t think she looked very much like Professor Trelawney until I made this comparison picture. The pic even shows up when you google Lia’s name!

And…well, I took this video the other day. Proof that we’re not winning any Family of the Year awards anytime soon…
BTW, you all need to know that scene was totally staged. They’d just done some wrestling and dance moves, Lia owned Emily in the middle of the song, and then Emily wanted to recreate that charming moment on video. Sisters…
So now that I’ve calmed down a little bit and I think I’m finally ready for bed, anyone else have any query letter horror stories to share? Anything really dumb, silly, or funny you did in your quest for publication? (Reassurances that I haven’t just totally blown my chances for this particular agent would be great too…)

An Agent Pitch Contest I’m Entering–Wish Me Luck!

Here’s an update of where I am now in my querying quest: 18 queries awaiting an agent’s answer; 42 rejections in total (3 of those were in the last couple of days). But who’s really counting, right? I set aside two nights a week to fire off query letters and research agents. The rest of the time I sit on the couch, cradling my laptop, chewing my fingernails to the quick, and obsessively checking my email every few minutes. No, not really! That was me two years ago. I only check my writing inbox two or three times a day now. ;D
So to break up the monotony a bit, I’m entering my second-ever contest! (The first was for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel award, and a massive fail). My awesome friend Jolene sent this through ANWA’s group. The agent, Victoria Marini, sounds like someone I’d like to have represent me. With my pervasive test anxiety and inferiority complex, I used to shy away from contests but now I figure I don’t have anything to lose. I think I have a pretty decent pitch, Jolene critiqued my query letter and told me it’s stellar (Jolene’s the query letter queen), and I have the completed and polished manuscript ready for any agent willing to have a look.
Here’s the link to the pitch contest. I don’t have long to wait: The winners are announced August 1st. Now to sit back, not chew my fingernails, take a deep breath, and keep on doing what I love best: listen to music and write!

Personalized Rejections Rock

I must be nuts for saying any kind of rejection rocks, but when you’re used to the cookie-cutter ones that don’t offer any insight into why the agent isn’t interested in your manuscript, it can almost make you downright giddy to receive a personalized rejection–even better if the agent tells you exactly what turned her off to your submission.

Sarah Lapolla of Curtis Brown, Ltd. was the first agent to request my full manuscript. I waited on pins and needles for just shy of two months (not far off of her estimated response time, and well ahead of many agents’ wait of three months or much longer). By the time her response came, I had talked myself through the inevitable rejection. Chocolate was consumed, but for once tears were not shed. Exactly the opposite of what I’d expected of myself from something so awesome as a full submission. I spent the rest of the day slightly bummed, but optimistic for future queries. Her very kind and insightful rejection gave me the feeling I might be one or two rewrites away from another agent’s yes:

I was able to read it last night and thought Nissa was a really wonderful character. You did a really great job with her voice and making her someone readers will want to follow. As you know, I also am a huge fan of this premise; however, I felt that as I kept reading, I was less taken with the writing than I was with your opening. To me, it seemed that the narrative voice changed to a more descriptive voice, rather than one of action, after Nissa entered Aronaur and lost some of its initial intrigue.
With that said, I am going to pass on this project. I hope you continue to search for an agent who will have a better connection to your work, and I wish you success in your writing career. Thank you again for the chance to read this novel.
Yeah, it was a little discouraging at first, and overwhelming when I realized I was facing the daunting prospect of another rewrite. I brought her letter to my writers’ group last night, and received some helpful feedback from my awesome writing friends. Matt Bayan, a bestselling author and excellent editor, had already slogged through my first draft a couple of years ago, and last month re-read The Moongate‘s latest version, so I was anxious to hear his opinion. I hoped he didn’t think I really needed to change the narrative voice, because in my mind that’s a huge undertaking. To my dismay, he more or less agreed with Sarah, but gave me some helpful tips on how to improve the narrative without slamming my head repeatedly into my desk.
So it’s back to rewrite city. But it’s okay, I know I can do it, yet again. To Sarah, thank you for the chance to send my first full. I’m closer to publication than ever before!

A glimmer of hope

*sparkle sparkle* It’s so beautiful!

I have this crazy routine whenever I get a rejection letter. I’ll script it for ya:

Me (seeing the notification in my inbox): I know it’s another rejection! I won’t get upset this time, it’s normal.

Daughter Lia: You don’t know that.

Me: Yes it is! It’s a rejection, it always is! But it’s okay.

Lia: Oh my gosh.

Me (clicking on it, reading it): See, I told you! *reads the rejection letter, mocks the lack of punctuation and overused cliches such as “alas” and “do not despair, another agent may be interested in your work”* I suck! What am I doing wrong?

Lia: You don’t suck.

Me (starting to despair): Yes I do! I’m a crappy writer and I’ll never get published! I need my rejection candy! WAAAAAAH

Lia: Shut up, you don’t suck.

Me: YES I DO!! They won’t even look at it because I don’t have a degree! *shoves away laptop and buries head in pillow*

Dennis: I’ll go get your rejection candy.

Me (perking up): Okay!

So last night I got two notifications at once. I immediately warmed up and started yelling “I suck” before I even clicked on the first one. Lia was getting ready to throw something at me, and then I bet her a rejection candy that the second one would also be a rejection. I was in mid-bawl by the time I clicked on the second email. Well, shock of all shocks, this lovely agent actually requested sample chapters and a synopsis! After 31 rejections. Yay! I’m happy to pay Lia her rejection candy. And I get a celebration candy!

I realize she still may decline to represent me, and I’ll probably have a long road of many more rejections ahead–but at this point I’ll cling to any positive news like someone hanging off the edge of a cliff. It was very, very nice to hear the word “maybe” instead of a “no.”

I still think I suck!

Working query, I want to tear my hair out!

*facedesk* Stupid query letter. Stupid, stupid search for agents. Darn competitive market.

When Nissa Moss finds an invisible gate in the forest that allows her to visit the land of the Fey, she thinks it’s a great way to relieve the monotony of her human life. But the ancient Faeirth magic hidden inside her has awakened, which is exactly the kind of power the demonic Dark Fey feed on to survive. And they’re close to finding her.
Nissa only has a few weeks–until the next full moon–to learn to master her powers. The magical, Faeirth-built Wall protecting the land of Aronaur is eroding, threatening to reveal the Fey to their enemies. Nissa is the only Faeirth willing to help repair the Wall, but her fledgling magic is dangerous and unpredictable. The only person who can properly teach her is one who would rather see her killed than reveal Aronaur with her presence. What started out as a series of midnight forays to a fantasy world has become an addiction Nissa can’t break–but if she ever stays with the Fey past sunrise, she’ll lose her humanity, and her family, forever.