Thank you so much to KAM for hosting me today!
When I finished my first novel, ANABEL UNRAVELED, I was excited and petrified. I had written a book—actually written a book. But now what should I do? Should I find an agent? Should I self-publish? There were so many questions looming and I didn’t know which way to go.
After much internal debate, I decided to attempt to go the agent route. I found list upon list of literary agents and I began sending out my query letters. I’ll be honest—that was an uncomfortable task for me. I struggled with putting myself out there (and besides, I had just become a mom and it was hard for me to feel like a professional, a real writer, when I spent my days covered in spit up), and I received rejection letter upon rejection letter. It was a bit disheartening.
After afew months of this, I decided that maybe I wasn’t all that talented. Maybe I was a terrible writer. And so, I gave myself a deadline: If I kept getting rejection letters through the end of the year, I was going to give up.
Then, one day, I received a rejection letter that wasn’t a form letter, like so many of the ones that I had read before. The woman who wrote it was the founder of a rather prestigious literary agency. And while she didn’t want my novel, she had taken the time to give me some good, honest advice.
I will never forget what she said:
“I see what you’re trying to do here, and your novel has potential…”
She then went on to tell me what she thought I needed to do to make it a better work, and after mentioning that she no longer took on novels, wished me the best. So I took some time off from writing query letters, and revisited my manuscript. I hacked at it. I polished it and buffed it and in the meantime had another baby, but I still kept working, because I knew it had the potential to be better.
And then in 2012, two years after I had started querying, I got a contract. I had decided to bypass the agent thing and had instead started looking at small press publishers, and I found mine through another writer that I had met on Twitter. The following February, I got to hold a print copy of my book in my hand and as I held it, I thought how glad I was that I hadn’t given up, and how grateful I was for that game-changing rejection letter.