I am on a journey as a writer. That journey includes narrative non-fiction in the form of this blog and the seeds of the books I hope to grow from it later. It also includes fiction. I have written two novels, and only very recently completed them. I started sending query letters to agents on the first one, Leaving Annalise, in February — 10 queries. I got a full manuscript request back within a month. I started sending queries on the second one, Going for Kona, in mid-April.
Yesterday I heard back from the agent who read Leaving Annalise in its entirety. She asked for a full manuscript on Kona, and she asked me to resend Annalise to her with some quick revisions that are already working themselves out in my head, and are very do-able and an obvious improvement. She was kind, she was gentle, she was complimentary, she used the word love several times and she also used multiple exclamation points. She made points about the book using my character’s names: Nick, Katie, Annalise. She talked about the plot from beginning to end. She did not offer to represent me, but she offered to spend a considerable additional amount of her time reading and considering my work. This represents several days of her time. I am humbled.
Pinch me. If it never got any better than this, I think I might be satisfied. I did a literal happy dance around the house last night for hours. My heart is still dancing away, but I’m headed out to give a speech for my day job now (“2010 Legal & Legislative Update” at Gulf Coast HR Symposium in Houston).
And, truth is, it may never get any better than this. I know the odds. Five percent of slush queries (which is what I fall under, “slush,” as a first time novelist) result in manuscript requests, and five percent of those result in an offer of representation. And, uh-oh, not all of those get offers of publication. Many very, very successful books took many years to reach publication because of multiple rejections and rewrites at each step along the way.
So, I know the odds are stacked high against me, and I am grateful for the unbelievable speed with which I have received such positive feedback. Every nugget of positive feedback fuels us, doesn’t it? I can feel my engines revving today!
Final editing of Kona is underway in my “spare time” as I prepare to send it off with a wing and a prayer on June 6th for its scheduled appointment with an interested agent.
Kona respectfully requests your prayers and good wishes.
p.s. If anyone would like to help me with the final edit, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can always use another set of eyes.