Thursday, February 21, 2019

Collecting No's Pays Off

James Coburn preparing for a scene - Hard Contract (1969)
Hi folks,
I was planning to write a post about staying positive while collecting "no's". I've been sending out query letters to agents who rep biography since last November, and I've collected a bunch of them.

They have been in the form of jaunty form-letter rejections, or brief words, although a couple have been a bit more personal and encouraging. I got one referral and then the no from that was very kind, probably more in deference to the referrer than me. I only had one really brusque no, and their brief feedback as to why feels perfectly logical and useful.

I've even had a couple of requests for the full proposal (more on that later), and about half the people sent no reply at all, which after a certain time (usually specified on their websites) is a tacit no.

I didn't feel bad. I researched each agent thoroughly - read their sites, determined whether they were a good fit for the book, were open to new authors or any submissions at this time, customized my query letter. I sent out a few a day in what was two batches over a couple of weeks each time, then settled down to wait. I was collecting those no's, because every no was one step towards the ultimate yes.

I guess I hadn't been at it very long to become actually discouraged.

Then a kind of miracle happened. A friend of mine who is a writer referred me to his agent. She was certainly not on my radar or in any of the guide books. Nor is she a bio specialist, but does have some experience with the genre, and knows everyone. I talked to her, and she requested my proposal, and read it the next day, and came back to me with an offer of representation - which is unheard of. That is super fast. I was lucky that I caught her in a few free days - she actually read my sample chapters while she was on a family trip.

She's lucky - she can read in a moving vehicle. The main thing is she said she believes she can sell it.

So as things stand, there are some contract details being addressed with the James and Paula Coburn Foundation, and I may soon be able to say that I actually have an agent for Dervish Dust. To follow more on this particular journey, please Like my Facebook page for the book.

But the great thing, for which I will be forever grateful, was that she took time out of her vacation to give me some valuable and awesome notes about the proposal (OMG too long) and sample chapters (just some tweaks!). It was so exciting to have real feedback from someone who knows what they are doing about this proposal.

I hope she will also be interested, in the fullness of time, in my upcoming fantasy YA series, the Mermaid Lake books. The first one, Mermaid Summer, is in rewrite stage - the tough part.