Hitting Send

Posted: November 11, 2015 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

dont-make-me-hit-send

I did it.  I hit Send.  God help us all.

On September 11 my daughter and I received an e-mail response from our dream agent, who had requested our full manuscript a week earlier (we wrote a middle grade contemporary fantasy novel, The Last Princess). The agent asked for a Revise and Resubmit. On my birthday, November 5, we sent back the revised manuscript.

The significance of those two dates did not escape us. One, a tremendously bad omen, and the other hopefully a good omen.  Do opposite omens cancel each other out?

In any event, it is done.  There are a few other agents and an editor with one of the Big Five publishers who have expressed interest in the same manuscript we originally submitted to our dream agent, and they are aware of the R&R. They each invited us to submit the new manuscript to them.  However, despite there being nothing in our agent’s letter indicating she wanted exclusive rights to the manuscript revised to her specifications, we feel we should hold off sending it out to other interested parties until she’s had an opportunity to see it, first.

I see three possibly outcomes.

  1. She hates the revised manuscript and decides to pass on the whole thing.  This seems the least likely, since agents only ask for R&R’s on manuscripts they like a lot already. R&R’s are common, and I’m given to understand they usually result in an offer.
  2. She likes the revised manuscript, but it still isn’t quite there, yet. and asks for another revision. I imagine this happens, but probably not too often.  I just don’t know.  But if it does, she must really want this manuscript to succeed, or why would she put so much effort into it with an untested pair of writers?
  3. She loves the shiny new manuscript and almost breaks a nail in her haste to type up the contract.

Naturally, we’re hoping for door number three.  But even if we end up with the first outcome, we have a number of other people already interested in the book who will happily look at a revised version.  So we have that going for us.

Now we wait.

In the mean time, I thought it would be as good a time as any to look back at how we got here.

It took us about a year and a half to finish the first draft — from March of 2013 to November of 2014.  Then we went through a round of beta readers and started entering contests.  I don’t actually know how many contests we ended up entering, but quite a few.  Over a dozen.  Some were quite big and well-publicized (so huge competition), and some were more intimate.  The only contest we ever “won” was where we put our name on a list to receive a free query critique, and we got one.  Our first, I think.  In other contests, we made it past the first round of rejections and into the slush pile for the final round, but never made it past that.  In one contest, we were rejected by the editor who would have given us a free complete manuscript evaluation and worked with us on revising it for the agent round, but sent us such an amazing and encouraging rejection letter that we were completely floored.  She ended up offering our manuscript to several people who each asked her for the full.  We have also entered a handful of Twitter pitch contests, which resulted in a few requests for partials and fulls.

We sent our very first query out in February of 2015.  As of this time, we sent out 22 queries.  These resulted in a grand total of four requests for the full manuscript. Two of those have passed.  One is our dream agent, and another is one who hadn’t gotten back to us yet, but would like to see the revised manuscript.  Plus two other fulls out with an agent and editor via the agent who “rejected” us.

Most of these fulls, etc. have come in the just the last few months.  Because if nothing else, all of these contests have given us unparalleled feedback and advice, and the work of others to compare ours to.  Why did this manuscript get chosen and ours did not, when they are so similar?  But the most important part of these contests is the contacts we made.  There is a huge writing and querying community on Twitter, and being a part of it is very empowering.  Through our contacts we got invited to join a fairly exclusive online community of speculative writers, for a summer workshop specifically for those with full, polished manuscripts.  Probably the thing that pushed out manuscript over the line from Rejection Junction to Sudden Interest was the revisions we made to our opening chapters during this workshop.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nobody writes alone.

We’re just waiting, now.  Until we get more notes or an outright rejection.  But for the first time, we feel like we’re close to  being able to put that final period on this manuscript.  We’ve gone back to our notes for the sequel, and are ready to dive in.

Stay tuned.

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Comments
  1. Norma Berkowitz says:

    Really enjoyed reading all the rehash. very interesting and I love it that you hit the send button ….atta boy. love mom

    Liked by 1 person

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