Well, Mindy McGinnis (aka bigblackcat97 to those of us who run in the QueryTracker and AgentQueryConnect circles) has been chasing a dream. And this week she finally caught it by it's tail! A wolf's tail, to be exact. Mindy is now represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.
Here's Mindy's inspiring story, in her own eloquent and witty words.
Ten years ago my first rejection came in the mail, (yeah, we kicked it old school that way back then), and I cried. Cried like a baby that just found out that life isn’t fair. I was a long way from developing what one of my fellow moderators on AgentQueryConnect dubs “rhinoceros skin.”
Like a sense of humor and the ability to graciously accept criticism, rhinoceros skin should be added to the writer’s toolbox. It will develop over time, I promise. Those first rejections are a necessary part of the scarring process that will toughen you up and prevent the next wave of rejections from piercing through to your soul and killing your hope. Hope should also go into that toolbox… I subsisted on it for a decade, a genre jump, and three trunked novels.
That and Winston Churchill – “Never, never, never, never give up.”
So, the toolbox… humor, manners, rhinoceros skin, and Winston Churchill. A tip: don’t actually carry these things around. It will raise questions during routine speeding ticket stops.
A stroke of luck landed me an excellent job as a YA librarian and I thought – I’m immersed in the market, spending 40 a week with my target audience…. Hmmmm, guess I’ll stop writing adult fiction! I “word vomited” (that’s BBC terminology) a YA title in three months, and in my newfound glee, shot that query out to agents before really having any idea what a query was supposed to do.
A good example of a bad move.
Here’s a good example of a good move, and a shameless plug for an awesome writing community: I joined AgentQueryConnect. And learned. And learned. And then I learned some more. Never underestimate the power of a great crit group.
Even armed with my toolbox and the support of excellent writers and readers, I amassed a whopping amount of rejections. I mean whopping like Free Whopper Day at BK whopping (not that such a thing exists. If it does, let me know. I’m so in line).
So I trunked it, and said, alright girl… let’s trot out this next idea. It trotted on it’s own – what a wonderful feeling – and after some beta reads and a few tough love line edits from yours truly the queries went out. And the requests came in. After ten years of agent hunting, editing, hoping, researching, crying, and general pessimism with little peaks of hope popping through… I was agented within a month and a half of sending out the initial round of queries.
Am I high on life right now? Yeah. Am I deluded into thinking that it’s all mountaintops and no more valleys? No. But I do get to use the phrase “my agent says,” or, “I have to call my agent now,” so… all the scenery looks pretty awesome at the moment.
Thank you for sharing that, Mindy! And I hope you see nothing but picturesque mountain peaks from here on out. Good luck on your publishing adventure! This is only the beginning...
Visit Mindy's blog for updates as she makes her journey to the shelves. She also plans to post agent interviews and writer info along the way, to keep us all inspired.
I hope this can be an encouragement to those still seeking representation! Keep writing and querying and you'll one day find your perfect match, too. :-)