It’s been a couple of days now since I sent out the first batch of queries. It just so happens that quite a few of the agents in my first round of queries had super fast response times, so I’ve actually heard back from quite a few by now. And yes, I’m not going to lie, even though you’re not supposed to talk about your rejections on your blog. Yes, I have received rejections! (Gasp!) More excitingly, though, I’ve actually gotten requests. From agents. That sell books. To real live editors. Wow.
Right now, the requests outnumber the rejections. It’s probably not going to stay that way, because if nothing else, no book will be the right fit for EVERYONE. I’m cool with that. But for right now, I am all smiles, and I plan on hanging onto that feeling for as long as I possibly can.
It’s Thanksgiving. (BTW.) And even if it is totally trite and cliché, I’m going to just stop for a little while and talk about the people I’m thankful for, and everything they’ve done to help me get this far. I know I’m not all the way up the mountain yet–in fact, the peak is still pretty far off, and it’s half-covered in clouds, and the air is getting pretty darn thin. Sometimes I kinda feel like this guy.
But I have come a long way since saying “Hey, maybe I should actually finish one of these novels and give this a whirl,” and I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for these people.
So if the thought of reading this makes you throw up in your mouth a little, feel free to skip on down to the next post in your reader feed. Go ahead, it’s okay. It’s also a super long list, so don’t feel like you have to read it all. It’s totally a shout-out post. And if you’re not on it, it’s just because I’m the most absent-minded person in the universe. I actually left off a couple of really important people while writing this, so if I’ve left you off, don’t take it personally. It’s just my brain.
First and foremost I’m thankful for my parents. They gave me so many books when I was a kid that they took up a whole wall in my bedroom. They’ve taken me all around the world, and don’t bat an eye when I write novels in my travel journals instead of, you know, travel stuff. When I told them that I wanted to quit my job and move in with them, all in order to attend a writing workshop for fantasy writers, they said, “Sure! That sounds great! You should do it!” My dad actually sat me down when I decided to get part time work and asked whether it was going to distract me from my writing. They listen to me explain in my best superior, condescending voice How The Publishing Industry Works, and they’ve never once rolled their eyes at me. Well, not where I can see them, anyway.
Then, of course, there is Amie Kaufman, my friend, housemate, and CP. She’s read every single draft of TIW, every single draft of my query letter, and every single draft of my synopsis, and has helped me revise each of those things half a dozen times. She’s listened to me talk for hours (no joke) about the latest agent I’ve fallen in love with. She’s also listened to me talk for hours about whether or not to cut a single scene from the book. The only reason I don’t feel horribly guilty for abducting her life and turning her into some kind of query/manuscript-reading slave is because these positions are going to be reversed in a few months when she starts querying one of her amazing books herself.
My sister, Josie, has been a tremendous help over the past few months. She double checks my science (such as it is) and read three versions of my first chapter in about as many days. She has also never rolled her eyes at me. Not about my writing, anyway.
Sarah Maas, Julie Eshbaugh, and Kat Zhang, all of them from Let The Words Flow, have been totally awesome. They read stuff for me and listen to my ramblings and insecurities. Sometimes you just need someone to smile and nod while you fret about the importance of one tiny word in your query letter, and whether or not it’ll be the difference between rejection and offer. Also writerfriends like Caroline Richmond and Sarah Billington. They never batted an eye when I contacted them out of the blue to ask some questions, and gave me wonderful advice on my query letter, and tidbits about what it’s like to be an agented writer on submissions.
Odyssey, for teaching me about craft despite my arrogant (and naïve) view that I already “knew how to write.” Jeanne Cavelos and Susan Sielinski are amazing. And I’m thankful for the community I’m a part of now as a result, full of writers at every stage in the journey, all cheering for each other.
Kim, for designing me the most beautiful web site EVER–which the rest of you will get to see in due time–despite having a full time job to worry about. And Michelle, for helping me with hosting and not killing me when I fail to understand things until the fifth or sixth explanation. Also she makes amazing tea, and lavender cupcakes.
Blogs to help writers like Websites like Adventures in Children’s Publishing, Query Shark, and others, for teaching me how to write a query. My very first draft of my query letter started with “In a world where. . . .” Seriously.
Agents like Tamar Rydzinski, Sarah LaPolla, and Natalie Fischer, who offer up query and manuscript critiques. I know a lot of agents do this, but these are the ones who have helped me personally, and I’m so thankful for it.
My blogofriends, who comment and cheer for me even when I post sporadically or ramble at length about neon post-its on my wall. I love reading your comments and discovering your own blogs. Right now I’m especially thankful for Angela, Pauline, and Josh for reading my completely incomprehensible synopsis at the last minute, and super fast, when I realized suddenly that I didn’t have one.
Most of all? I’m thankful for this crazy community of writers here on the web. We come from all over the world and we write wildly different things but with shockingly few exceptions, every interaction I’ve had with a new writerfriend on the internet has been amazing and awesome. I love you guys. And I’m so thankful.
I guess the point of this post is that I’m not really like that lonely guy up there, halfway up the mountain all by himself. In reality, I’m one of these guys:
And I’m really thankful to have everyone else here with me.