This post is part of the Creative Process series, in which I will whine, cry, and philosophize about my life as a fiction writer. In the worst case scenario, fellow struggling artists will be heartened by my constant failures. In the best case scenario, a best-selling novel just might be written.
After briefly agonizing about the possibility that my novel is an abomination, I can now say that I’m not the only one who thinks I’ve written a masterpiece. Har har, just kidding — my book is far from a masterpiece, but I believe in it and it feels amazing to have found someone else who believes in it too. So, without further ado, let me introduce you all to my awesome agent, Irene Goodman.
Actually, I found Irene by a complete stroke of luck. I had already sent out queries to my ideal agents and I didn’t know who else to look for. On a whim, I googled “University of Michigan literary agent” and ended up on Irene’s website. It turns out that she got her B.A. and Master’s from Michigan and I used this as an icebreaker in my email query. Obviously, she didn’t agree to take me on as a client just because I’m a Wolverine. In fact, she emailed me back, saying that while she was attracted to a fellow Wolverine, she was more attracted to my good writing. Then, the magical words: “Can you send me the whole thing?” Of course, this is where I started screaming and jumping up and down and then lying on the floor as if I were having a heart attack (I kinda was).
The next day, I crossed my fingers, made some last-minute changes to my manuscript, worried that I wasn’t supposed to do that, attached the word document, and pressed send. In the meantime, I appeased my neurotic tendencies by putting myself to work like a draft horse. AgentQuery.com informed me that the average time for an agent to respond to a full manuscript was two to four months. In their cruel words, “If you’re not a patient person, become one”. I almost set my hair on fire — my impatience is a raging dragon that breathes flames down my neck. I spent the weekend trying to convince myself that four months was not a long time (and failed miserably).
Fast forward to Tuesday morning. I woke up at 8:00 am, rolled over, and checked my email on my phone. As I scrolled through spam, certain I’d be disappointed yet again, there it was: a long ass email from Irene. She explained that she’d read my manuscript over the weekend and remained very interested. In fact, there was an editor that was eager to read my book and Irene had already sent it to her. Finally, Irene said that while she couldn’t predict the fate of this particular novel, she thought I had great promise overall. Somehow, I made it to class without tripping over myself in shock.
Fast forward to today. Yesterday, we finally heard back from this editor, who decided to pass on my project because it wasn’t “romancey” enough for them and it was too “literary”. Essentially, my novel wasn’t Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey. Which, you know, is what I want! God knows America doesn’t need another trashy romance novel. Fortunately, Irene agrees with me and she’s already sent my manuscript off to seven more editors. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone will take the risk on something original.
If all goes well, several editors will offer and we’ll hold an auction in which publishers will bid for my book. In Irene’s sage words, “Anything is possible”.