Monday, January 08, 2007

Okay, Now it's Officially, Officially Official!

Well, she made her intentions very clear last week, but today she is sending me a contract!!

I am hereby, officially represented by Jodi Reamer of Writers House.

She is preparing a submission list and plans to send it out as soon as I finish this round of revisions. (probably in about a week)

So those of you who read this blog regularly may be bored by the rest of this post, but I have to do the obligatory "story" post. So here goes.:)

I finished this book at the beginning of December of 2005. My friend Stephenie, who's first book Twilight had just come out a few months earlier, asked if she could read it. Well, she loved it and asked if she could give it to her agent, Jodi. (Ha! Like I was going to say no.) So I sent off my baby and really started counting my chickens. She's going to love it, she'll get back to me soon with an offer, we'll shop it, it'll set for an exorbitant amount of money, etc, etc, etc.

Fast-forward six months.

I e-mailed Jodi (for the first time, I was way patient) and asked if she remembered me, basically.

No response.

So I wrote it off as a rejection. After all, there were so many more fish in the sea for this perfect, fabulous, all-hallowed novel. *rolls eyes*

I'd racked up about 50 rejections by this time, but those were easy to dismiss. My query didn't work for them, they just weren't quite the right agent, etc. The perfect agent was waiting just around the corner. On top of that, I'd had two agents request the full after reading the partial so I was feeling pretty cocky. I did get several rejections on partials during this time, so I decided to see if I could get a few betas from absolutewrite.com to look it over and see if it might need just a few little tweaks. I had a couple of people volunteer, so I e-mailed off my book and waited for the praise to roll in.

Only it didn't.

One of the guys thought it was okay. Loved my world and my magic system, but wasn't really taken by my main character. Well, that was okay, because his main character was very, very, very different than mine so clearly he just didn't like my type of hero.

Then Glenn's response came in. He had several nice things to say and said them right up front. Then he proceeded to tell me everything that was wrong with my book. Down to minute detail!

I would like to say I was crushed, but I was still to high on my horse to feel that way. What the heck did this guy know? He wasn't published. He'd never had a NYT bestselling author read and recommend his book. Who was he? Nobody! I wrote him a nicely-worded thank you for his critique, but dismissed his thoughts without consideration.

Fast-forward three months.

I reached triple digits on my rejections. I had sent this sucker to every agent who might possibly be interested in representing fantasy. Every single one had come back a rejection except for the two fulls which had both been out for at least four months with no response. This was my low point. I finally had to admit to myself that there was something wrong with my book.

So I got out Glenn's critique and read it with new eyes. I spent two months revising what I thought had been a perfect manuscript. I actually ended up putting my first and second books together and cut almost 75,000 words by the time I was done. I took a lot of inspiration from Caitlin Kittredge during this time because she talked about how long and hard she worked polishing her manuscript (which sold like a hotcake, by the way.:))And when it was finished, I had a manuscript that sparkled. . . and I was completely sick of it. :)

I got out my spreadsheet and looked to see who I could send it to again. I picked six agents who had only seen the query and two agents who I really wanted a second chance with. I also e-mailed one of the agents with the full and asked if she'd like to see the revision.

Then I held my breath. I didn't expect anything expect anything at this point; my book was really long for a first-time fantasy (140,000) and I knew that would hurt my query. But I tried to be hopeful. I did get rejections, and this time it was hard. I really felt them, even if it was just those first five pages. But I had a couple of bites and was happy about that.

Then came November. I was just sitting at my desk and I check my e-mail and I have a message from Jodi. I'm like, what the . . .? So I open it and skim it expecting the same old not for me but thanks for considering our agency, blah, blah, blah. But the words I was skimming didn't make sense. Then I caught the words "enjoying" and "immensely." Well, that wasn't right. So I went back to the top and started reading again slowly. First were very long apologies for the huge delay (10.5 months) and then that she was halfway and done and enjoying it so much she was already starting to think of where to send it, and thought she should check if it was still available.

Still available!?!?!?

So I took a very deep breath and e-mailed her back to let her know that yes it was still available, but that she might want to see a revision. She wrote back and said that some of the things that I mentioned I had revised were things she was going to suggest so please send the revision right along by e-mail.

About a week later she called me and had lovely things to say. Then asked if I would do some revisions for her. Everything she suggested was absolutely spot on and just hit my gut and being exactly what I needed to do. (And what an experience that was, let me tell you . . . like sharing brainwaves!) So I finished my revisions and sent them in just before Thanksgiving.

A little word of advice. Never send stuff during the holidays!!!:) You just have to wait and wait and wait and wait. It is so maddening! But finally she e-mailed me last week with responses to the revisions and a few more notes. She made it very clear in her e-mail that she intended to send it out after this round if things looked good, and so I felt comfortable announcing to my very small blog audience that I had an agent. But not confident enough to announce it to anyone else.

We arranged a phone call to brainstorm a bit over the last set of revisions (it's going to require two new scene . . . about 3,000 words) and right before she hangs up she says, "Oh, by the way, I'll e-mail you a standard house agreement. Let me know if you have any questions. Okay? Bye."

By the way?!?!? I've been waiting for you to say those words for almost two months!

But she did say them. And so now it's officially official and I am telling everyone and their dog, "Hey, guess what? I have an agent!"

*Sigh* Hopefully the next couple of months will be very interesting for me. And exciting, I hope.

Ciao!

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOOO HOOOO!! CONGRATS!! CONGRATS!! Thanks for sharing your story of how you found your agent :) It's very encouraging :)

Fourteen Year Old Writer said...

I already said this on your AW thread, but congratulations!

ORION said...

Yeah!!!!

Maprilynne said...

Thanks so much all! I am so stoked. All I need now is a deal like Pat's. *wink*

Maprilynne

Algebra Angel said...

Congratulations!! I noticed you over on Miss Snark's blog and your writing is fabulous! I really hope things continue to work out for you because I can't wait to buy your books!

Simon Haynes said...

It's so nice to read a success story, especially after such a struggle.

I hope you raise a glass to the person who suggested changes - sometimes crits like that are incredibly hard to take, but fresh eyes on a manuscript can really pick out the problems.

Anyway, well done and here's looking forward to an announcement about a publisher ;-)

brian_ohio said...

Wow! What an inspiring story. A true example that persistance is a huge part of this writing thing.

Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

That is AWESOME news! And I'm sure such a load off - now you know where things are going and can continue to be so excited about the process! Huge congrats!

So my question is, what are you working on now? :)

-Anon Atty

fat larry said...

Great story. You hear, or read, so many like this. Although I am struggling with many other issues, you point out what I think is the most important thing for an aspiring writer to have. Perseverance.

Anonymous said...

YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! CONGRATULATIONS! I'm so excited for you! This year will be a great year for you!

KC

andracill said...

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing your story...it's a good reminder that it really does just take the right one -- I hope that one exists for me too :)

Anonymous said...

congratz!!!!! :}=

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm not "really" anonymous, as I go by the name Pisarz on AW. I just wanted to wish you a heartfelt congratulations--you've really worked hard and it shows! I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful writing career--to paraphrase Casablanca ;).

I also wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration. I saw your hook and pages over at Miss Snark's. Not only did I find your writing very impressive, but upon reading your opening pages, something clicked for me. I had this a-ha! moment of "THAT'S the way to establish voice!" I have since revisited my MS and (yet again) I am now tweaking it. I'm trying to nail that same a-ha! quality in my own writing. So, thanks for sharing and for literally setting a good example for the rest of us!

Levi Nunnink said...

Wow! Congratulations! Do I hear champange corks?

Steve Prosapio said...

Maprilynne,
You're my new hero! I linked through Miss Snark and love your writing. I enjoyed reading your lit agent adventure almost as much as your opening pages and pledge to buy the book as soon as it's out. If (for some absolutely insane reason) the book does not get published, PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME as I will give up any hope of ever being published.

You rock!

~Em~ said...

I saw this on AW and I just wanted to say congratulations!

Cheryl said...

Congrats!

I've heard that Jodi Reamer is a really great agent, and very successful. I met her at a conference once and sent her some stuff... but she ended up passing.

I found your blog from AW, by the way.

Manic Mom said...

Congratulations! As someone who just got an agent too, I can appreciate your story and wish you the best of luck! It was fun reading your blog and finding out more about your novel, and then reading the chapter, which I really liked, and I don't know if I'm a fantasy reader! LOL.

Congrats to you!

Anonymous said...

Good luck. I had a very similar experience with Jodi. But then she never sold my manuscript. I wrote 2 more and although she promised me comments, she never sent them. I don't know if she bites off more than she can chew or what it is. But the lack of communication is pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from South Africa! I read your blog. You have inspired me. I'm mailing my query letter and first 10 pages of my completed novel to Jodi Reamer. Commercial fiction, actually. Well done and congratulations! All best, Otilia

Massey said...

I seem to be in that boat you were in. I've sent my query out to something like 50-60 agents with very few bites. I know the only way to get this done is by plugging away at it. Reading your story tonight was a great inspiration for me to continue sending. Actually as I type this I'm putting together a query for Ms. Jodi Reamer. I've only ever heard fantastic things about her. I, like you were, am expecting the worst, but nothing will happen until I get stuff out. Its like I tell my students, you can't hope to pass without answering all the questions. I can't hope to succeed without plugging away. Congratulations to you!

TeacherWhoWrites said...

Congratulations! As a middle school teacher, I require my students to query editors in an effort to get short stories, poetry, articles published, and we're just starting that in my class this year. I am thrilled to have run across your blog because it demonstrates perserverance in a great manner! It will allow me to show how hard work and never giving up really do pay off! Thank you for sharing your story.

Julie said...

Wow, that is an incredible story! I am getting ready to submit query letters right now,and Jodi Reamer is number one on my list. Do you have any suggestions?

Aprilynne said...

Hey Julie!

Search "Jodi Reamer" on my blog and you'll find a post I did about a month ago entitled "Querying Jodi" in which I outlined some preferences Jodi has for queries. Good luck!!

A.

Julie said...

Wow, thank you! I was about to send out the letter, but then I read that blog entry... heh! Is there any way to calm the nerves and feelings of regret now that I've got it all sent? I'm freaking out here... I keep saying, "oh, why did I say it like THAT?? Why didn't I do that?"

Nichole Giles said...

Congratulations on your upcoming novel publication! That's a wonderful accomplishment, and that you've landed a wonderful agent is a beautiful compliment to your writing ability.

Best of luck for huge, enormous success!

By the way, I believe--not positive--but I think we met last year at the LDStorymakers writer's conference...maybe. Hope to see you again this year.

Nichole

Anonymous said...

I cannot find Jodi e-mail. How can I contact her?

Thank you in advance

Jenny Tonks said...

What an awesome story! Your good news and incredible success is inspiring me to keep going . . . querying can take its toll on my resolve at times, but I read stories like yours and think, "keep going!"

Thanks! :)

Genevieve said...

Wow. That's fantastic. I'm just about to email Jodi to ensure she got my query (which I sent 7 wks ago). I enjoyed your re-run of the selling process ... sounds exactly like mine! So ... what I want to know is ... how do I find this Glenn???? :)

rscully@highwizardofsilvinesh.com said...

Congratulations, fellow fantasy writer! I have just had the pleasure of releasing my first novel, The High Wizard of Silvinesh, and know how you feel. I have taken your experience and put together a formal letter to Jodi. After doing research, she is the best, hands down. I have done everything solo up to this point and have realized that I need experienced help to truly succeed. Good luck with everything, and I can't wait to read your stories. R.A. Scully

Emily White said...

Oh my goodness! This is a great story! I know I'm really late in offering my congratulations, but I just happened to find this post.

Really, though, this is just so inspiring. :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Gives me the encouragement to make mine 'perfect' before sending it in!

Anonymous said...

After reading that, all I can say is I am sooo excited and happy for you inside my heart! it wanted to jump out and almost made me cry... Congrats and hope to hear more of you.