Taking a break from the Q/As today to bring you a real life example of how tenacity in this business can really pay off. Some of you might peruse the hilarious musings of Manic Mom over on her blog, and after a looooong agent search, she landed an agent! Whoohoo! Send her good vibes because her ms is out on submission now. Here, her story...
How many agents did you query before you found one?
I queried approximately 152 agents.
Did you ever feel like giving up?
I did feel like giving up plenty of times, but someone from a writer's loop I belong to wrote that it takes Talent, Persistence and Timing in this biz. I pasted this little note on my computer desk that says TPT--Talent, Persistence, Timing and I look at it every day. Also, underneath it, I found a quote I wrote down too: "A published author is an amateur who doesn't quit." I had said to myself, "I'll quit at 100 agents" but then that came and went and I didn't want to give up.
How did you sustain the belief in both yourself and your work? How many drafts of your ms did you go through? Did certain agents give you feedback and if so, did you listen to it and incorporate it into your drafts?
Sustaining the belief: I think because I received great feedback from the very first query I sent out, and kept getting the queries that made suggestions, and that kept me going. In terms of how many drafts, I would say about three or four times I made major revisions, and most of these revisions were inspired by agents who didn't take me on but offered great advice, which was invaluable to me (is invaluable the correct word? LOL). So, yes, the feedback I got from other agents I totally took to heart. One suggested it be cut by 100 pages. I did that. She was absolutely right. Others said there needed to be more conflict. I amped up the conflict. Many said they weren't too compassionate toward my main character, or she wasn't believable--some of that type of stuff I just let ride, because just like how one person loves war movies, another one may hate war movies, so I knew that some things couldn't be changed to make everybody happy.
How did you know that this agent was the one?
I knew this agent was right for me because she called me! LOL... seriously though, she has a great background and comes from a well-known agency, she has sold six-figure non-fiction deals, but she is just now getting heavy into selling fiction, so it might have been a risk, but no matter who a writer goes with for an agent, there's always some risk involved...
And in terms of the wanting to give up... when I told my mom I got an agent, she said, "I thought you were going to quit searching after 100 queries." Then I said to her, "And if I had quit, mom, I wouldn't have an agent now!"