Friday, February 4, 2011

Going All the Way

            First, an update:  Last December, I had a referral from my friend to her literary agent.  Respectfully obliging her client, the agent, who received my query through my friend, requested I send her my full manuscript.  After having it for nearly a month, however, she politely declined.  I was hoping for some feedback, but I understand she is a very busy agent and most likely could not afford the time.  I am still very grateful for the read and opportunity.
            Yesterday, I began the long process of querying for an agent in earnest.  I sent out 11 queries (10 email and 1 snail mail.)  I was a nervous wreck the entire time, checking and rechecking the addresses and the salutations to make sure they matched, confirming I had the proper materials within the body of the email or attached them as requested, and just generally making sure each email was professional and touched on the reason I sent it to that particular agent.  Each time I hit that send button, my gut twisted into knots.  But I made a good start for my first week and I felt good about it, no matter my nerves.
            I walked out of my office and got cleaned up to go to the post office so I could mail my standard query.  When I was leaving, literally walking out the door, my phone chimed, announcing I had a new email.  As was usual for me, I opened the email, which was sent to my Gmail account, the same one I use to send out queries since my Hotmail account screws with the formatting. I saw that it was from one of the agents I had just queried.  I opened it, expecting to see either a confirmation of receipt or, more likely, a rejection, though since it was only an hour after I had sent it, even that would be unusual.
But low and behold, it was a request.  For a full manuscript, no less.  Well, my first reaction was to scream and jump about the room like a complete lunatic.  My seventeen-year-old son thought I was being murdered or something.  I know it seems silly to react so, but it was a request for a full after only one hour when this agent’s website noted to expect replies in 6-8 weeks.  So I was a little happy.  Go figure.   
            Now, I respect this agent more than you could know.  That’s why she was included in my first batch of queries.  And while I realize this is an astronomical long shot, it felt really good to have a response to my query.  It told me that it was a decent query, one that sparked the interest of a very important agent.  I can only hope and dream that there will be others who respond likewise.  Honestly, it was quite a shock to have a response at all, especially from someone who has been so influential in the business.  I am quite humbled by it.  Especially, again, since it came only an hour or so after I sent it. 
I can’t help but wonder what it means.  Was it the query itself?  Did she read my synopsis or included chapters?  What piqued her interest exactly?  I don’t know.  I wish I did.  But I am just grateful to have another set of eyes on my manuscript.  I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground, knowing that it is not at all likely that she would ever choose me, but an aspiring writer can dream.  
Now I have to keep plugging along and prepare my list for the next batch of agents to query.  Every time I hear that chime, I will wonder if it is someone sending me a rejection, which, from what I hear, is the most likely response.  I know from reading all the writer blogs and talking at length with my friend and writing soul mate extraordinaire, Lisa Regan, that I will likely receive hundreds of rejections and perhaps a few requests for partials thrown in.  I’ve been trying to prepare myself mentally for this long, arduous and challenging process.  I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks and months will bring, but at the same time, I am terrified because this is the biggest dream I have ever held for myself.  This is not about making money; writing novels does not lend itself to this purpose.  I just want someone to read my book, to enjoy and remember it.  Just having written it is an accomplishment and I am proud of it, but I want more.  I want to go all the way!

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