So, my daughter and I have been querying our debut novel, The Last Princess, for about three months, now. Plus I’ve entered it into half a dozen querying contests in hopes of getting more direct access to an agent.
The querying has been mostly blind queries, based on manuscript wish lists (#MSWL) tweeted by agents, or other comments made by or on behalf of agents seeking MG novels similar to ours. MSWL or not this still puts us in the slush pile, and that is a very competitive place to be. I’m not surprised we haven’t found an agent yet. Disappointed, but not surprised.
The contests have been fierce, too. Way more entries than could possibly be selected for participation in the actual contest. Maybe not as competitive as your average slush pile, but still pretty cut-throat. The secondary reason for entering these is to get feedback, which is sometimes part of the process, and to see what entries do make it through for comparison. We haven’t made it into any of these, either.
One could get discouraged by such a turn of events. Or utter lack of events, as the case may be.
Last week #KidPit was held, which is one of those pitch parties on Twitter where you have to condense your entire novel down to something like 125 characters. If you really want to have a shot, you have to do it four different ways (there’s math and stuff; you can post a total of 16 times but Twitter won’t let you post the exact same tweet more than once, so you can move the hashtags around, but to get 16 total you need four basic tweets … assuming you have 2 hashtags …. Are you still reading this?) Anyway, like #PitMad in March, I got a request to query from an agent.
Actually, I got two. But one of them was from the same agent that requested a query from #PitMad, and she passed on that query.* But the other was an agent I hadn’t queried before. If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I just rewrote much of chapter one based on what I’d learned from these contests and also some independent feedback. So I sent off a query and first three chapters to this agent, with the paint barely dry. And two days later she replied, saying she very much enjoyed the concept and the characters and wanted to read more.
All of it, in fact. She requested the full manuscript.
This is our first request for a full from an agent. Our first request of any kind from an agent after a query. We are, of course, understandably excited and feeling just a tad vindicated. It’s the fourth best feeling in the world.
What are the other three? Well, let’s not jinx it, okay?
*Yes, I sent it to her again.