So this one time a writer finished a book she thought was just dripping of awesomeness and, because she figured those silly old rules about letting the story sit and the very real need for multiple revisions and advice about maybe hiring an editor all applied to Writers Less Incredible Than She, the first set of top agents had said writer’s query in their inbox faster than you can say “Rookie Mistake.” Oh, and the one agent — named Michele Martin from MDM Management — that she was referred to by a pretty friend never actually got a query, but instead got a simple email stating that Tiffany Romero had referred her.
Of course, she got turned down. By all five of the agents she had queried and had assumed were going to make her the next Exception to the Rule. BASTARDS! Didn’t they know WHAT KIND OF TALENT THEY WERE DEALING WITH?
The writer shook off the rejection (it MUST have been a glitch in How The Universe Operates, after all) and started researching the next five agents or so. And lo and behold, there was an email from the agent she had emailed on Tiffany’s referral. The agent wanted to talk.
On. The. Phone.
With me. (I mean…oh screw it. It’s hard writing about myself in third person without falling into a fit of girly giggles, so I’ll stop.) So yeah….the agents wanted to talk with me! Maybe she was going to sign me! Maybe I was the exception to the rule. Maybe…
Maybe I needed to keep querying and slow down and practice not squealing while speaking with Michele the following day. Of course, there was no contract to sign after our conversation. There were suggestions to tighten the manuscript and how to make things work better and where I needed more and why this area needed much less and Just Cut That Part, Okay? So I sent out another few batches of query letters and tightened my work.
After the next batch of rejections, I figured my query sucked and wasn’t getting past round 1 at the agencies they were going to, so I took a query workshop and came out on the other end with a query that sucked so little it was positively pretty.
So I sent that bad boy out to even more agents while I worked on making the manuscript Not Suck with Michele (turns out what I thought was literary gold was no more than first draft dribbles..who knew?). All told, she probably worked with me for three months before gently bursting my Bubble of Happiness by telling me that I had talent but the manuscript just wasn’t ready. She suggested an editor and invited me to resubmit after I had revised. A Lot.
I told her to bite me (in my head) and thanked her for her time (in an email).
That’s when I pulled the plug on queries and put my manuscript in a forgotten pile and went on with my life by keeping busy with the strangest hobby which involved writing more and submitting my work to Other People. I know, sounds strangely like work and building a platform, but don’t let yourself be fooled. I was actually just pretending the book I had written didn’t exist and this was just one way to stay crazy busy enough to do just that.
And then one day I found myself being offered a featured blogger spot at Lissa Rankin’s Owning Pink.
Another found me giggling like a school girl in front of an ice cream truck when Leah Segedie asked if I wanted to be an editor on Bookieboo.
The email inviting me to bring some funny to An Army of Ermas had me at hello.
And I guess all that got me enough confidence to start submitting individual pieces and that’s when Hippocampus Magazine accepted an essay and Funny Not Slutty decided I was worthy and THE POINT IS I FINALLY GOT OFF MY ASS AND GOT TO WORK!
Somewhere in all that craziness I also put my ego away and reread my manuscript. You know, the one that Michele had said showed promise but wasn’t ready? Yeah, funny thing. Turns out she was right. I mean, it not only sucked, it also S-U-C-K-E-D. So I took her advice, hired Brooke Warner to edit, and busted my booty turning that manuscript around.
Eventually, I found myself at the Point of No Return. My manuscript was ready to go out into the big wide world or back into hiding. I decided to put on my big girl panties.
That’s when I got my pretty new(ish) query out and sent it off to five agents. Right after that I emailed Michele.
And on Valentine’s Day I was signing a contract to be represented by Michele Martin of MDM Management, who was originally referred to me by Tiffany Romero of Bloggy Bootcamp and Other Social Media Awesomeness and also now represents Lissa Rankin, who runs Owning Pink, and the synchronicity of the whole bit tells me that some things are just meant to be.
Moral of the story?
It’s entirely possible that my query letter still sucks. I wouldn’t know. I got my agent with an email.