Aug 4, 2011

How I snagged my agent AND crit giveaway!!

Today I’m joined by the lovely Becky Wallace, an aspiring author repped by Jenn Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I’ve been following Ms. Becky’s blog for a while, caught by her upbeat, positive attitude in the midst of raising three young children at home…including an adorable new baby. Her book, Saw it Coming, a YA paranormal romance, is currently out on sub and to keep her mind off this terrifying/mind-blowing exciting fact, she’s willing to crit the first 10 pages of YOUR MS. You lucky ducks! To enter, please do three things: be a follower of this blog and post a link of this opportunity to Twitter or your blog. Then in the comments, post your name, genre, title and email address. Becky will pick a random winner!

How long were you seriously writing Saw It Coming before you decided it was time to query for your agent?

I’m a super sloooooooooowwwww writer. It took eight months of real, hard-core writing to get through the first 30,000 words. Then I participated in NANOWRIMO and wrote 35,000 words in November and the first two weeks of December. I was very, very, very lucky to find a critique partner who believed in the story as much as I did. She pushed me to write three chapters every day. It was insane. I was insane (probably still am a little). I ordered all my Christmas gifts from Amazon and fed my kids grilled cheese or mac n’ cheese pretty much every day. Then I spent two months rewriting, revising, beta-ing, and rewriting some more.

And this will probably sound crazy-masochistic, but I’d do it all again.

Well, we writers are all about masochism enjoying the creative process.

How did you know your MS was ready for querying?

I don’t think a manuscript is ever actually ready. I wrote six drafts, read it aloud a half-dozen times, sent it to five different betas, poured over every word. When I got to the point where I was quibbling over adjectives (or debating whether or not to rewrite the entire thing) I decided it was time to query.

How many drafts of your query did you do? Did you use any sites for feedback or just beta readers?

When I say I wrote 27 drafts of my query, I’m not kidding. The craziest part: the query that landed Jennifer Laughran was almost identical to the very first one I wrote. I posted my queries on AbsoluteWrite, Nathan Bransford’s forum, and on Writer’s Digest.

What were your query stats? Did you ever go back and revise your query based on those stats?

I sent out 35 queries, had a lot of form rejections, ended up with ten requests for fulls, and six offers of representation. I sent out two different versions of my query. A really, really short one (180 words total) and an average length one (256 words). I got three requests from the short query, but also the majority of rejections. Then I sent out the longer query and had much better results.

Good to know! I’ve heard the best length for Qs is right around 250 words…

To enter Becky's critique giveaway, please do three things: be a follower of this blog and post a link of this opportunity to Twitter or your blog. Then in the comments, post your name, genre, title and email address. Becky will pick a random winner!

Check in tomorrow for part deux!


Becky Wallace said...

Thanks for the opportunity! I'll answer questions if anyone has any!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great interview so far, Melodie. I know some of this from reading Becky's blog, but it's great to have it so succinctly in one place. Looking forward to the conclusion :)

tawdra said...

Always good to hear other authors' experiences and ideas! Nice job, Becky and Melodie!

Deana said...

Now this is the kind of interview that I love! Thanks for this:)
I would love to win this crit!

Deana Barnhart
Ripple Effect

Carrie Butler said...

Great interview! It's always so inspiring to hear how others are making their dreams come true. :)

Follower of this blog = ✔
Tweeted about opportunity = ✔
Name, genre, title and email address: ✔

Carrie Butler
Paranormal Romance

Bree Dayley said...

Excellent interview! This is a minor quibble, but Jennifer Laughran is an agent for Andrea Brown, not Hurst.

Melodie said...

Ooh, good catch!! Many thanks *frantic editing* Fixed!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, very useful info! Would love the chance to win a critique! Link RT'd (@sharonmorse)

Name:Sharon Morse
Genre:commercial women's fiction

Julie K. Wise said...

Thanks for the insights. I could definitely use a critique.

Julie K. Wise
Young Adult contemporary
Title: Inside the Circle

Donna said...


Donna McBroom-Theriot

Cameo Renae said...

Wow! What a great interview and opportunity! :)
Thanks so much...

Cameo Renae
YA Paranormal Romance

Laura C. said...

I can't believe your stats for requests. I feel lucky if I'm getting 1/10 and you got 1/3 WOW!! You really had an incredible story idea or you can really write queries -- or both! Thanks for all the humorous and essential info, Becky!

enewmeyer said...

Thanks for such an honest peek into your experience as a writer!

Elizabeth Newmeyer
Romantic Suspense
Redemption For Liars