Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stranger than Fiction...HOPE!

Like most writers, when I was searching for an agent, I devoured every agency's website, I googled until my fingers yelled at me and endlessly scoured the writing boards and forums for info on agents until my head throbbed and my eyes wanted to go on strike. Why? Because that's what we have to do in order to land an agent.

I still have subscriptions from the forums, which alert me via email when someone posts on certain agency's threads---the ones that I was waiting for feedback from. Just this morning, I received an alert from one of those threads, because I new post had come through. The poster, a writer of course, was down because she'd received a call from this agency a couple months back. The agent she spoke with was very excited about her writing and told her she'd hear back from her right after Bologna, which sadly she never did, even after sending a few gentle email nudges she's gotten no response. Even though this post has nothing to do with me, my heart sank when I read it, because I've certainly been in her shoes. When you want something so badly, the waiting turns from nagging to all consuming. Even with family, friends, jobs, it's hard to think about little else.

Well...I have hope.

Some of you know, Craig Virden, Nancy Gallt's husband was my original agent. He was a wonderful man and a powerhouse in the publishing industry and it was a great loss to everyone when he passed away last year. Well, Craig was the agent I desperately wanted. You know what I mean...THE agent--the one. He'd had my requested full for what seemed like forever and a day (or about 6 months), I'd sent a couple email nudges hoping for an update, but with no response. Then finally a letter from the Nancy Gallt Agency arrived at my home. I nervously opened it, my heart beating like a rabbit's. What did a find? A rejection from Craig. Mind you, the nicest, most personal, genuine rejection anyone could ever get, but a rejection all the same. So there it was. What did I do? I immediately starting writing. He told me to send him whatever I had "moldering" in my desk that he might like. So I picked up the pace on a manuscript I'd been working on, finishing it about a month after his rejection--right after the 2009 Bologna, where he happened to be.

That's when I got the call. It was Tuesday. Just after returning from Bologna, Craig called me out of the blue. He'd changed his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about NIGHTSHADE CITY and wanted to represent me. He said he didn't care about the market and that my book needed to be published. The rest you know.

So, please, to this writer and to everyone else who's struggling to find an agent, keep having hope, even if you're down to your last agent or have subbed your third manuscript with no bites--keep having hope. Strange and wonderful things happen every day. Trust in whatever it is that forces you to be a writer. There is a reason why you're here.

xoxo -- Hilary

43 comments:

  1. Your story is quite inspiring! I'm still a ways off from querying, but it will certainly give me hope and free me from needless worry when I get there.

    Events in life are going to happen and we can only control what we think and do, but sometimes it all works for the best, huh?

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  2. Yes it does, j.m.! Just when I thought I was done for!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  3. Thank you, Hilary! I needed this shot of hope in my writer's arm.
    Winged Writer

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  4. Wow, great story! Thanks for sharing, Hilary. It certainly is a biz that beats people down.

    The nice thing about hope is that it keeps us all going, no matter what struggle we face.

    ;)

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  5. Wonderful story, thank you! They give me hope that I'll find that one agent who can't stop thinking about my work!

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  6. I needed this today...like AIR! Thank you!

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  7. Hilary, that story made me cry. As a writer, there's no experience like hearing that an editor or agent "gets" what you wrote and believes it deserves to be shared with people on a large scale. We try to keep a stiff upper lip as we read rejections, one right after another, but inside, we're in pain. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  8. Oh, Hilary, thank you so much! I had an agent tell me something similar and I've been working so hard on finishing the first draft of my WIP so I can revise and then get back to submitting. If I had time, I'd pop over and give you a hug and a cookie. :-)

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  9. Thank you for the inspiration! :O)

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  10. Donna Lean5/19/2010

    Thanks Hilary! You've brought a lot of cheer today :)

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  11. Oh yay! Excellent post. Thanks for the inspiration. =)

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  12. Thank you for that encouragement Hilary. It goes a long way!! :)

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  13. Sometimes I think YOU're the one who should have taken on the username hope. A lovely story, Hilary. Even better that it's true.

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  14. Thanks for a great post. Hope is so important in all aspects of life. I keep on clinging to mine.

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  15. Thank you for this post, Hilary. As you know, I had an agent and a book deal. Now I'm back where I started, looking for an agent and a publisher. I'll never give up. Never, I tell ya! lol.

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  16. Like some of the others said as well, I really needed this today! I'm ready to get back in the saddle and accomplish what I started. I'm hoping this summer will be when my luck finally turns around and my books find a happy home! Thanks for the boost of positive energy!

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  17. Wonderful story Hilary. This was what I needed today. I'm determined to keep going and hold on to the hope. :)

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  18. So, even if someone rejects you, don't believe them? LOL Great story, it really says a lot about how important it is to have that something special.

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  19. Thanks for this inspirational post. It filled my sails with wind :)

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  20. When I first got an agent I thought how embarrassing my road to publishing was! I thought, I'm NEVER going to tell anyone how many times I got rejected or that even my own agency rejected me at first! Now I think how can I not talk about it? It's almost like therapy! It's painful to be told "no thanks" time and time again and I wouldn't have been able to get through it without people like you guys telling me to keep going and sending virtual hugs and chocolates! It's so nice to be in such good company! Even now, every time I read on a blog or forum about someone's latest rejection I get that twinge in the pit of my stomach. I think I always will.

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  21. Awwwww.

    Such a sweet post. and nicer that it's `100% true!

    Never give up, never surrender!

    *fist bump*

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  22. Thanks for the inspirational bump!

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  23. I love that he couldn't stop thinking about your story. Encouraging post!

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  24. That is amazing! I haven't quite worn out my fingers with agent searches yet, because I made the mistake once before of submitting to an editor something that I myself wasn't completely in love with...but I'm really in love with a ms now that I just need to finish up some...so this post is very timely. I'm already feeling butterflies in my stomach, but I need to remember that everything will work out for the best!

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  25. That's so exciting! I can't imagine how thrilled you must have been :) Awesome.

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  26. Wow, that's an amazing story!

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  27. Thank you Hilary. What a great day that must have been for you. I've given up for the time being on querying but when I do, I look forward to my fingers getting worn. I love your determination! You're a breath of fresh air in this biz!!

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  28. Hilary,
    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and for encouraging all of us. You are a very kind author. I also love that picture of the cat & the rat! :)

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  29. very inspiring, thanks :-)

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  30. You're the second person I know who got signed by an agent who originally rejected the manuscript! I should be so lucky :D

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  31. Now tomorrow you need to give advise on how to get your lazy... fingers :) to start typing and get that manuscript ready to send out.
    Oh by the way... I thought of you this past weekend. I was at the barn and a chichen snake had a rat cornered in the tack room. I captured the snake and took it three miles down the road and released it in a state reserve... maybe it will eat those bad snakes there. I put out a live trap and caught the rat and took it to my barn where there is no saddles and blankets and expense other stuff. My husband wanted to kill it... it's a varment, he said but your little face popped into my mind... so you saved one rat this week.

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  32. Like most everyone here, Thank you, Hilary. I am so close to being ready for this heart-wrenching process and your words give me courage to head in at a full run. I believe in my characters and their story. I know there is one agent / publisher out there who will too!

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  33. MZ has had my full sub for 8 months now. Ahhhhh! :) But I'm almost ready to query #2 and that has kept me busy. Thanks, Hilary. You're posts are always so upbeat, I always come here for a smile.

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  34. Stumbled over your blog tonight after googling "scared of query letter" - because I am scared of mine. I am so sick of editing that thing. I fear opening it up and reading it again. 9 rejections thus far! It must be terrible.

    Anyway, Google linked to your query letter from 2009, which I read. And then, liking your blog, I read the latest post... which was exactly what I needed to read.

    Thanks for sharing this. I've had 9 rejections thus far, but you know what? Far, far better writers than me have had many more. And it only takes a few yes's.

    (What's the plural for yes, anyway..?)

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  35. thanks, I think all us unpublished writers needed that encouragement ;)

    -Aspen

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  36. This is an encouraging, inspiring post. Writers need to know that they will go through days, weeks, and months of waiting and rejection until they hear a resounding yes.

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  37. Sherri, I read a similar story when I was querying. I never thought the same thing would happen to me!

    StableGranny, I'm so happy you saved the rat! :)

    Victoria, you'll get there!

    CindyLou, Marietta is just the best and I know she's super busy, so please be patient. Trust me, I know it's hard! :)

    Jaimie! I love your story! I'm so glad you found my blog! :)

    Medeia, you and I both know how hard it is, but we did it! It still freaks me out when I think about it...still hard to believe! :)

    Everyone else, thanks for your comments--it inspires ME!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  38. That's pretty incredible. You must have just about died and gone to book heaven! Can't wait for your book to come out!

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  39. Thanks so much for this bit of encouragement. I am on that long road to finding an agent now and it seems to stretch endlessly on. I am glad you got yours--how wonderful. It gives me hope. (=

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  40. Thanks Hilary. I have my fingers crossed still. And I'm a trifle embarrassed about my typo of You're, not Your in my other post. That's what I get for trying to get in my blog addiction before I settle in to write for the evening. :)

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  41. Jojo, it's a long road, but a worthwhile one! You'll get there!

    Cindy, don't be embarrassed at all! I do the 'your' or 'you're' typo a lot! Even agents and editors have typos! :) Don't sweat the small stuff!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  42. Awesome post, Hilary. Thanks for sharing your story. Wow, I can imagine how excited you were! I'm happy for you.

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  43. I am inspired by your progress in writing. I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I have yours. Great insights! I am now a follower.
    God Bless, Bob West
    http://westbob.blogspot.com/2010/05/god-vs-science.html

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