This year I did not take on as much photography projects that I normally do – but for another passion that is near and dear to my heart – I focused on my storytelling, my writing.
See, as I mentioned in my previous posting – I wrote a manuscript and I have been editing it like crazy and sending it out on submission. It is a harrowing task (believe it or not) – preparing the query letter, a single page letter that will entice an agent to ask to read your page and possibly represent you. One that started for me back in November of 2014. Rejection is a part of it, but so is learning – and if any of you know me – you know I picked up the pieces and continued on. But I am not going to lie, it was hard.
Authors – or really any artist out there will tell you that they have experienced doubt- and it can be oh so crippling. It can take over your mind and influence your work.
As an author, I emailed or text my writer group buddy Tiffany and asked her to pray for me – or talk me down from the ledge as I prepared to toss my manuscript off of it and run away. Or call my best friend Sam for a bottle of wine and chocolate cake to get me through the process.
I have found amazing friends – and an awesome community thanks to my writer’s group and twitter. I now know that ever author experiences moments like that. I am so thankful for friends lifting me back up after those crazy thoughts and helping me pick up the pages.
Okay…this post has a point…I promise…announcement time…
It happened. I officially have an agent! I have representation! It’s for real. Finally!
As I mentioned before, this journey of querying started in November 2014 for me. And it’s nearly been a year, but I am glad for everything I went through.
I had taken a break from querying during the spring of this year to focus on finishing the second manuscript for the series and editing on the first manuscript after feedback from beta readers and agents who eventually passed.
Late Spring, I had won a full manuscript read/critique from an editor I had gotten to know on twitter and was awaiting her response. Summer approached with me editing, editing and editing. In July there was an update on MSWL (manuscript wish list). I stalked the MSWL hashtag feed on twitter (you can follow me on twitter HERE) and the MSWL website. I made a list of a few people I felt my story catered to their wishes and I decided to query again.
One of those wishes belonged to Rebecca Angus. She stated she was looking for fantasy with strong female characters who aren’t afraid to save the world on their own.
My heart fluttered. I looked her up, a relatively new agent – developing a client list and working for Golden Wheat Literary.
On Monday, July 27th I went ahead and sent her my query.
That Friday, I had taken a half day from work to further prepare for the shoot I had the next day (for the manuscript) and as I was sitting at table in my kitchen with my husband, Cody, my phone started blinking, signifying I had an email.
A G-mail email.
From my author email account.
Another rejection. I sighed as I opened it and skimmed over the first few lines.
My heart stopped and I think I made a weird face because Cody stopped talking and asked me if I was okay.
Nope, not okay. My heart had stopped.
She wanted the full manuscript. The FULL manuscript.
I immediately ran to my laptop and emailed her back and we corresponded a few times afterwards within the hour. She was from Texas but had moved away. She had lived in College Station and actually knew where Huntsville was when I called it Prison City and mentioned SHSU.
I starred her on twitter so I started getting pings every time she sent out a tweet.
We corresponded about our love for David Tennant and certain songs on Spotify. I liked her. And did some mad research (aka stalking) on her and checked out a few of her clients on Twitter – who only had wonderful things to say about her.
I went to my list of questions I had been gathering for quite some time to ask an agent (if I ever got one) and revised them.
I waited – and I know it takes time, but as time went on, my heart dropped just slightly each day.
Then came August 18. It was a hectic day at the cubicle job and one of my lifelong best friends (and co-worker) asked me lunch. While riding over, my phone started blinking again. When I saw it was from Rebecca, I will admit, I was nervous – and almost didn’t open it right away.
But I did. It wasn’t a rejection letter.
But it wasn’t a let’s make a phone date letter either. Still, I was excited…
I read over it countless times during my lunch, not saying much to my friend (thankfully another co-worker was with us so my silence didn’t effect lunch). I got back to work and read it over – again and again.
She wanted to work with me. She had some revision suggestions. Was I open to that process?
It was an R&R request – and truth be told I was excited about it!
I had always assumed that agents would have revision suggestions or edits they would request their clients to make before sending it out on submission – granted I didn’t know for sure – as I am not an agent. But I was open to feedback and making my story the absolute STRONGEST it could be.
But I won’t lie – I was nervous. I didn’t want to get overly excited and nothing come from this. I discussed it with my best friends, Sam, Stephen and my husband Cody.
And later that evening, I responded yes to her email.
She was quick to respond and would get some chapters back to me by September 13th. Rebecca wanted me to review her suggestions…and let her know what I thought.
During that waiting period we corresponded on twitter about life, doctor who, busy work days and in-laws. One day I mentioned how I was reviewing the photographs from my big conceptual shoot I did around the manuscript and working on editing the second manuscript of the series.
Oooh! What? she asked.
Okay maybe she didn’t exactly look like that – but I was hoping she was excited and curious. She said she would email me by the nights end – on September 7th.
And that she did. I was just finishing a TV show with my husband before we went to bed and bam – there was her email. She wanted more details about my plans for the book and characters. So of course I stayed up all night drafting a response.
The next day I reviewed the response on and off at work.
It was nerve racking. How much was too much or how much was too little to share? Should I just send her the book…no, no it is a rough draft – seriously my thoughts were EVERYWHERE.
So at lunch, I finally sent the email. Would she love it – would she have more questions, would it make her hesitate?
So. MANY. Thoughts.
Then we scheduled a conference call. (*cue insane happy dancing*)
I was basically no help that day at all at work, filled with excitement and nerves – and I had writers group that night. I hadn’t shared anything with them since mentioning an agent requested the full manuscript. I was scared borderline terrified and I wondered if any other authors out there in the world felt like this…and that we need to create a support group…
I only shared with a handful of people – and asked a few others for prayers and happy thoughts while I waited for Sunday to approach.
Well, I personally think my body hates me because on Wednesday my neck started to hurt and I thought I had pulled a muscle in my neck.
But Friday morning, my neck looked like a frog and my cheeks were so puffy I looked like a chipmunk harboring nuts…
I basically looked like a crazy person who had been stuck by a bunch of bees…
But no, I had an infection in my lymph nodes that caused my whole neck and face to be inflamed. Joy.
(Also, never, ever google your symptoms when you are sick. Seriously. Just don’t.)
I went into that Doctor’s office saying YOU HAVE TO MAKE ME BETTER! I HAVE AN IMPORTANT MEETING IN A FEW DAYS! I BEG YOUUUUU!
Well, Sunday came and I was on some heavy pain meds and antibiotics. The swelling had gone down a bit. I had curled my hair – which is EXTREMELY hard to do when you have a swollen neck and can’t turn very well. I burnt my ear, but my hair looked sort cute and masked the insane, bulging lymph nodes on my neck. I kept begging myself not to say anything stupid…
I was nervous…
I was upfront with Rebecca about my sickness but told her I wanted to persevere.
Our conversation lasted a little over an hour and I may have lost my train of thought towards the end due to the meds, but Rebecca was so kind, and I felt like I had made a dear friend! I took lots of notes, we discussed some revisions and how to make my manuscript stronger!
I was beyond thrilled when she said she was going to send me a contract! But I tried to keep my cool and that with a mixture of the pain meds, probably had me looking like this:
I sent the remainder of my questions and a few contract questions to her after I started to feel well (which was actually almost a week later and she was then sick too!) :/
During this time I actually told a few more people about our meeting and that she offered. I didn’t even tell my Mother until one of my drug (prescription) induced random texting (I wasn’t allowed to talk for a few days due to serious inflammation on my face/jaw. It was hard y’all).
I really think that swelling of my neck had gone to my head…
Because I had DREAMED of this moment. I had longed for it – ever writer does! And now my dream had come true – and I was so scared it would flutter away (let’s blame the drugs and my swollen lymph nodes for my moment of self-doubt).
Because I was freaking ecstatic!
When the drugs started to ware off, and my body felt like it was sorta coming back to its normal self, I reviewed her response to my questions, did some research – and signed the contract one day on my lunch break! I had my writers group that night and was so excited to share the news with them!
So yes! I have officially signed with Rebecca Angus at Golden Wheat Literary! I have an agent – and I am so excited to see where The Halves of Us goes! I can’t wait to share it with the world!
This one is for you Sam:
Series of shout-outs to my writer’s group members, Tiffany Dawn Biagas Munn and Robert Allen for pushing me and helping me along the way. Also, our most recent addition to writers group, my Mum for her advice on the characters and all the beta readers! To my Twitter writing folks – you guys are amazing and I am so glad I found people who inspire me to keep going. And to the folks who started and handle MSWL – thank you for introducing me to Rebecca Angus!
Authors out there – don’t give up and surround yourself with people who will be truthful, but also uplifting to you.