There's an allegory in here somewhere, of persistence in the face of adversity , considering it's taken me over 2 years, 4 books, and well over a hundred rejections--some not so nice--to finally land a break, but I'll spare you those gory details and move on to the happy stream of vignettes that blossomed into my acceptance.
First, I sent out an e-query to Kim for NOCTURNUS back in October 2007. She emailed back with a request for a partial on January 28, 2008. Just goes to show that even if you don't hear back from an agent within a few weeks, it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't interested. This is a very busy business and agents have a lot of pressure and a lot on their plates.
So, I sent my partial snail mail and had just received my self addressed stamped post card on March 7th indicating she'd opened it when I fell into my awesome new critique group (posted about in my April 5th blog--here). Well, one night at crit, one of my writing buds (Linda Castillo) asked who all I had sent NOCTURNUS to, as that was the particular project I was bringing to group at that time. When I named off Kim Lionetti, Linda said, "Oh my gosh, I know her! She was my editor at Berkley. Do you want me to send her an email and tell her how much I like your writing?"
Well, BOOYAH! Linda did, and Kim, who had already been reading the partial, emailed me later that day and told me she liked what she'd read thus far and wanted the full, along with whatever else I might be working on at the moment. So, I emailed her a partial and short synops for FORGOTTEN SILENCES along with my vampire MS, assuring her I anticipated being done with the ghost story by mid April.
As you all know, I finished my ghost book a little over two weeks ago (April 21st). Having not heard back from Kim yet, I emailed to check in. She'd been reading NOCTURNUS and said she loved my voice, but for some reason that story didn't seem to move her. But she'd read my FORGOTTEN partial and was really enjoying the more romantic aspects of it. When I told her I'd finished it and asked if she'd like to be the first one to look at it, she was thrilled. I sent her the full on April 29th.
On May 7th, I received an email from her saying she'd finished the ghost book, really enjoyed it, and wanted to talk to me about it. She asked if she could call me on the 8th. HECK YEAH! The rest, as they say, is history. She wanted to sign me with just a few minor changes in the book--I agreed with all of them, they were great suggestions and will make for an even better read--so I accepted her offer.
NOCTURNUS is on the back-burner at the moment, but I'm not too concerned about it. It will have its day in the sun. Right now, FORGOTTEN is the priority. Just to give everyone a sense of how much I NEEDED this validation from the publishing world, I had just received rejections not too long ago from two agents that had shown A LOT of interest in my work in the past. I was at the lowest I'd ever been. One afternoon JUST LAST WEEK, my hubbie came home unexpectedly at lunch to find me bawling my eyes out with "Nickelback" cranked up on the sterio loud enough to wake the dead . I was almost ready to throw my hands up and say "That's it. No one's ever going to get me. No one's ever going to love my stuff. It's TOO DIFFERENT."
My voice blurs the lines between commercial and literary. Not an easy thing to ascribe a genre to. But Kim GETS me. She even said she LOVES my writing. LOVES it. That's phenomenal. I always told myself, that above anything, I wanted an agent who believed in me. And now I've found her, and the feeling is ... indescribable. Which is really something, considering descriptive writing is my forte. :)
All this to say, DON'T give up! It can happen for you, just like it did for me. BE PERSISTENT, NEVER LET THEM BEAT YOU DOWN. Most important, believe in your work and stay true to your voice. Ever heard that saying ... all it takes is one yes? Well, let me tell you, yes is a beautiful word.
Now begins the next leg of my journey. Trying to find a publisher that likes my story as much as Kim does. I might still be in for a lot of rejections, but at least now I have affirmation. I have an agent that believes in me. And that's all the incintive I need to hold my head up high and keep the faith.
I'll try to drop by everybody's blogs later today to see how you're all faring. I promise to keep you posted on everything, step by step along the way from here on out. For now, I'm off to revision land.
Happy writing, everyone!