The Long Version (with bonus Star Wars reference!)

So go here in case you missed this exciting little announcement. For everyone who wants to know the full story, read on, my dears. Read on.

Where to begin? Where to begin?

Spring 2010, I wrote a story about a feisty girl with a penchant for space-time continuum shenanigans. It was the first time I hit The End and thought, "Oh, goodness. I think this might be the one." After a break from it, I revised it. And revised it. And revised it. By January 2011, I (and my love-em-so-much-I-could-puke-glitter writing friends) thought it was time to query.

It was not.

I'd done my research and sent out a small number of queries to agents who I thought would like my voice and enjoy my story. There was one in particular--Victoria Marini--who I thought would be a great match. I loved her quirky sense of humor from her blog and based on what she said she was looking for, I thought she'd lurv my story.

I was wrong.

She (and everyone else) passed. I don't blame them in the least. The query sucked.

And it was actually that rejection that made me push the pause button. I'd blown my one chance with some amazing agents. Something was wrong, but I didn't know what. I couldn't see my story anymore. In March, I was scheduled to go to a writing workshop. I decided to hold off and see what kind of editorial feedback I got there.

The editor I met with really liked it. She told me later I was a bright spot of her weekend. Which made me feel all happy-glowy inside. She also gave me feedback that blessed me down to my booty. But her suggestions required a total rewrite. Not a revision. A rewrite. Like gut that tauntaun and pull out the innards so I could stuff Luke inside. (thanks for the jawa catch, Liz!) That kind of rewrite. I called Hubbykins from a San Jose airport bathroom stall in tears when it sank in what exactly it would entail. (To my defense, I'd only had something like 4 hours sleep the whole weekend. Emotionally, I was a wispy wad of cotton candy waiting to be licked.)

I also came home with my own personal Rock Star Squad of new beta reader/writer friends.

By late October, my manuscript was ready to go back to the trenches. My query got the sparkle treatment, too. (Thanks, Kristin!) And this time? Requests! Lots of them. Yee!!!!

In November, my glitter-puke-inducing writing buds sent me a link to Miss Snark's First Victim's Baker's Dozen contest with a "Do it! Do it! Do it!" note attached. To be honest, I can't remember who was goading me the most. I'll buy them all chocolate to cover my bases.

I hemmed. I hawed. Then the last day of entries, I caved. With that many agents, I thought at least one of them would want to read a partial.

Didn't happen.

Instead, four of them asked to read the full. Squee!! Including, to my delight, Ms. Victoria Marini. A second chance!

A few weeks later, I got an R&R from a non-Baker's Dozen agent. Yippee!! Then, that very afternoon, another non-BD agent asked if we could talk on the phone. The PHONE! I knew she had to like it, but I braced myself for another R&R.

Nope. Turned out she didn't just like it. She loved it and wanted to offer rep. She was lovely. I notified all the other agents. And thus began one of the hardest weeks of my life. (And just FYI, when the Pea was born, he was a week overdue and weighed ten pounds. Just sayin'.)

I couldn't sleep. Couldn't eat. Could only eat chocolate. I hit 5 days out and...blarg. I really liked Lovely Agent. She has a great reputation. But I didn't feel at peace. Why would I be having any reservations?

And then I got another e-mail. It was from Victoria. She loved my story, wanted to talk that day, and made me an offer of representation.

I didn't even have time to be nervous.

We talked, and I walked away saying, "Wow. She gets my characters. She gets my story."  Ironically, the revisions she proposed would be harder than the other agent's. They would also be deeper. Truer. They resonated down to my bones.

I was at peace.

Two more agents ended up throwing their hats in the ring, but there was zero doubt in my mind. Victoria was The One. Hitting "send" on that acceptance e-mail was one of the best writerly moments I've had so far on this journey. And then, the Pea and I had a dance party in the living room.

Hubbykins and I let the Pea pick the restaurant for our celebration dinner. Steak'n'Shake. Because we're fancy like that.

(I also need to add a side note. I am blown away that I got a second chance with Victoria. HOWEVER, I am NOT saying that you should re-query agents. I had a very unique experience. Learn from my mistakes. Get your manuscript and query sparkly enough before you start querying.)

18 comments:

  1. Yay! So happy for you.

    But it's a tauntaun you gut, not a jawa. ;)

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  2. Karen, I'm so happy for you! Congratulations!

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  3. Karen, this is so great! I have no idea what any of that means, but it sounds really tough/awesome/challenging/hard!!

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  4. This is such a great story! So happy for you!! :)

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  5. Congratulations!! :D Victoria's a fantastic agent -- I'm jealous you get to work with her!

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  6. This was one the best/funniest agent stories ever. I must know you better. :)

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  7. What an amazing story!

    So happy for you.

    Shelley

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  8. You hit the lottery with our Victoria! But I do beg to differ---you CAN requery agents IF you have done a major rewrite, and with a new MS. And I have a funny funny story. The summer I signed with Victoria, I realized, like a dip, I'd queried the same agent twice, a few days apart. The first query came back as a reject, and then, I noticed after I'd let too much time pass, the second query for the SAME WIP came back with request. Crazy, huh? All water under the bridge because signing with Team Marini was the smartest decision I ever made. I'm so happy to see her reputation rise and rise.

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  9. Love this! You should send it to MSFV. She loves success stories from her blog.

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  10. Very cool story! Thanks for sharing! :o)

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  11. This is so great, Karen! Was your BD entry LOOP? I loved that one! Not surprised at all that you had four offers (though I totally understand the stress). Good luck with revisions and can't wait to see it on the shelves. =)

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  12. LOVE reading these stories. Thanks for sharing. Funny story, I told my husband about this and referenced you as "the one that you chose her first kiss story". He was all "I knew she was talented". Such a guy thing!! lol Very happy for you Karen! :)

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  13. First of all, SO sorry that I missed this news when you announced it! #lame blogging friend! But SQUEE!!! This is such great news!! And what a unique story!

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  14. Congratulations! What a terrific story.

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  15. What a wonderful story! Good for you for being persistent and willing to see how to make your MS better during that low point last year.
    Yay!

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  16. I missed this, but congratulations! Good luck to you on submission. :)

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