The Hated Prologue
If you're reading this you're here for the long version of the story. I went back and forth on posting this because it all felt so me-me-me-me-self-centered. And I'm really bad at talking about myself. But, as my lovely critique partner, Valerie, pointed out, this is my blog. Plus, I loved reading these stories when I was querying, so I hope you'll feel the same. Yeah, if you follow this blog or follow me on Twitter then you already know how lucky I am to call the fantastic Miss Molly Jaffa (Folio Literary Management) my agent. And if you didn't know that, then-- SURPRISE! Anyway, if you're really curious or really creepy (yay, creepy!!!) here's a breakdown of how it all went down.
*I plan on doing a blog post about what I did differently from MS1 to MS2, so this post will just focus on the querying process for my second manuscript. That being said, I received 50+ rejections on my first manuscript-- many of those from agents whom I received offers from (including Molly! If you're reading, Hi Mojo Molly 1 of 2!). So, I get rejection you guys. I really do.
WARNING: As with all my blog posts, poor grammar ahead... and foul language, too. For one of those things, I am sorry.
Chapter One: The Query Shuffle
I started dipping my toes in the query pool sometime around the first week of February. I wasn't 100% sure of my manuscript, but at the same time I was at this point where I didn't feel I could take my MS any further on my own. And, too, I was scared of over-editing and losing my voice. So, know when to query. But, above all, don't query too soon. Because I've done that before, and it's bad news bears.
So, I received a handful of requests and a couple rejections, too. Things started to feel like they might be getting serious, so I decided to examine my list of agents to see who I had yet to query. I didn't want to leave any stone unturned. On that list of un-queried agents was Molly. And, full disclosure, I almost didn't query her. Mainly, because, even after putting one manuscript to bed, I was still terrified of rejection. And, well, from what I'd seen on Query Tracker and on different forums Molly seemed to be really selective and I had always admired her and I didn't want to have to highlight her name in red on my nifty query spreadsheet. In fact, I couldn't ever really remember seeing any recent requests from her. And if I got rejection from Molly with this MS, well then that was it. So, I figured why bother? I didn't see the point in adding another rejection to my stats (which is really freaking stupid). But, then I started chatting up my critique partner and another good friend, and we came to this conclusion: WHY THE HELL NOT? I had already done all the leg work, all the internet stalking, (ya know, the dissecting of every word of every interview you can find), and had already trolled her bio page on the Folio website. (Read: hit F5 68,000 times to see if her bio had updated for whatever reason. Creepy, I know.)
Okay, anyway, on Monday (2/20) at like 1 in the morning, I grew a pair and queried Molly.
Chapter Two: Wear Your Best, Because You Got a Fucking Request
That chapter title made no sense. Roll with it you guys.
I woke up a few hours later, after sending my query, and pretended like it didn't happen so I could just function like a normal human being at work. Then, later that afternoon I pulled out my phone and that goddamn light was blinking. EMAIL. EMAIL. EMAIL. I took a deep breath and told myself it would just be a stupid email from Sephora or something. But then I opened my email and it wasn't from Sephora or Petsmart or Amazon or any of those things you should really unsubscribe to before querying because every time that light blinks you go into cardiac arrest. It was most definitely a reply from Molly, and in less than 24 hours. Molly replied using my first name and to my querying friends you know what this means. It usually means good news or at least a semi-personalized rejection. But it wasn't a rejection, it was a full request, saying she was "captivated". Well Holy Pangea, y'all.
So I got home from work that night and sent that bad boy off. All the while, I was participating in Cupid's Blind Speed Dating contest, Miss Snark's First Victim's Secret Agent Contest, and Operation Awesome's Secret Agent Contest, which was B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Molly sent me a lovely confirmation email upon receipt of my manuscript. She said it would be a couple weeks. So, I prepared myself for a long wait.
Footnote: Let me go slightly off topic for just a minute and say, Molly was so lovely in her emails. A lot of times when I've received requests, in the past, I've had this feeling like the agent was doing me a huge favor just by thinking about maybe looking at my manuscript. Now, agents are obscenely busy people, OBSCENELY, and I don't expect for them to fawn over me-- not in the least, but Molly genuinely made me feel like reading my manuscript was a priority for her and she expressed real interest.
Chapter Three: You've Got Mail
Okay so back to the waiting. Alright, sent off my full on Monday (2/20).
Thursday. By Thursday 2/23, I had received a few more requests since Monday (and if I recall, some contest results had begun to trickle in which I received requests on as well). And around 5pm, I was headed to an author event in North Dallas with some friends. (Breathless Reads Tour!!!) We were stuck in this horrible bumper-to-bumper traffic and thankfully I wasn't driving because my phone effing beeped. It was Molly. She couldn't put down my manuscript and she would "love, love, love" to talk to me about it.
OMG. You guys, I tried to get out of the car because I was so freaked out. Bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway.
I screamed. I couldn't even talk. I had to show my friends the email because I could barely breathe. Then I called my Ian. Then I called my mom nineteen times before` she picked up, and when I told her she SQEEEEE'ed big time too. I went to the author event and proceeded to live on Cloud 9 for a couple hours, but then I started to think "Okay, what if she just wants to talk R&R?" (*non-writer friends R&R=Revise & Resubmit) Which, by the way, would not have been bad news. Just a different kind of news.
So, we arranged a phone call for Monday morning-- exactly a week from the day I had sent my initial query.
That weekend was hell. I was so nervous I thought I might swallow my tongue at any moment. Then Monday came, and I woke up at some hideous hour because I was too excited to sleep. I kept telling myself not to make any inappropriate jokes... because 9 out of 10 things I say are usually inappropriate... or not to ask any intrusive questions... because if I ever want to know something I just ask, whether or not I should.
Chapter Three: People Still Talk on the Phone?
If you're still reading this, you're a freaking champ. Seriously, go get yourself a wine cooler.
It should be said, that I am horrible at talking on the phone. HORRIBLE. So, for this phone call, I was especially petrified.
Monday morning came and Molly called right on time. I had done my homework and made a list of questions I would ask, should she offer. I had also stood in front of a mirror for hours trying to talk about myself and my work, for practice. Unfortunately, I am not kidding.
We talked. We normal talked. We book talked. We food talked. We Texas talked. And we career talked. Molly answered all my questions, without me ever really having to ask anything at all. We talked about my book and about me as a writer.
Molly talked about me and my work in words I never knew I always wanted to hear. I had never put much thought into what I wanted people to say about my writing, but when she talked, I had to stop myself from screaming, "YES THAT!!!" She used words that I had only ever used to describe my favorite authors and their books. And this is important you guys, because when it comes down to it, whichever agent you end up with is your advocate. And how they talk about you and your books matter.
Then she said, the magic Candy Land words, "You can consider this my formal offer of representation." Or something like that, I really don't know. I was in shock and my heart kinda like fell into my butt.
That's it for Part I! I'll have Part II up in the coming days! I'll be talking about the fourteen requests, along with some unanswered queries, I still had out when Molly offered, and what I though my "dream agent" was!
Feel free to leave a comment in the good old box! (Don't make me beg!) Questions, non-questions, links to cat videos-- whatever! *Cat videos preferred, obviously.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway for THE LIST by Siobhan Vivian! It's my first giveaway, so if you don't enter I'll be heart broken and I'll probably never get on the internet again.