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Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Saw It Through and Got My Stuff Out There

No use beating around the bush. I have signed with Becky Vinter at Fineprint Literary!

That's not me, but a friend of mine cheering on another friend about to cross the finish line. Yay for not getting sued for copyright infringement!
This is all thanks to the awesome Michelle Krys and Ruth Lauren Steven who put together the Xmas in July query contest. The whole experience has been a whirlwind. Truth be told, I had never written a query before. I had never gotten to that stage before. The last two manuscripts I'd worked on never made it past revisions. I kept telling myself that my writing wasn't good enough, that it wasn't agent quality. Another year would pass, but I would be stuck in the same place. I would read the standard "I Got An Agent!!" post from dozens of writers. Enough was enough. For 2012, I promised myself that I would see this WIP through and get it out there.

I'd been working on my latest book for a year when I heard about the Xmas in July contest. I had just read about another blogger I follow who got an agent through a contest. I said the heck with it. It's time to start getting my stuff out there. Let others say no. If I wanted to be a writer, I'd have to get used to rejection. My favorite piece of writing advice is from Meg Cabot: You're not a hundred dollar bill. Not everyone's going to like you.

So I dashed off a query, revised it a bunch, and officially sent my book into the world. It's amazing to think that I have zero connections in the publishing world, and yet I could still find an agent. Slush works! In the film/TV world, if you want an agent, then you need connections. It's only about who you know and who can get your stuff in front of the right people. (Amy Tintera has a great post on this.) In fact, most big agencies don't accept unsolicited submissions. But for publishing, it's all about the writing. (though I'm sure connections help, too)

A few weeks later, after sitting through a five-hour meeting at work, I got back to my desk and saw an email from Becky. She loved my book and wanted to discuss. *cue Carlton Banks happy chair dance*

After almost five years of writing YA, I can now add my How I Got An Agent story to the blogosphere. Ok, that's enough talking about myself.

I feel very lucky and fortunate about how this all turned out, and my heart goes out to all writers in query hell. There are a few contests about to start like GUTGAA and Pitch Madness. Definitely take advantage! Get your stuff out there. Frankly, even if you're not sure if your book is up to snuff yet, use these opportunities as motivators to set writing deadlines, polish your query, meet other writers/potential CPs, and gauge interest in your story. (But don't enter if you only have half a first draft or something.) Don't let fear hold you back. Honestly, the worst that happens is someone says no.

And Just keep swimming!

19 comments:

  1. Phil, you have absolutely made my day! Your story should be heard by every struggling writer who thinks there work isn't good enough. I love that Meg Cabot quote...so true! Congrats to you and your agent! And now comes the fun part of going on sub:) Oh to be a writer!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'm preparing myself for the cold, harsh world of sub. The writer's journey never ends.

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  2. Hooray! Another Xmas in July success story!

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    1. Thanks! I LOVED your How I got an agent post -- Never give up! (never surrender)

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  3. This is fantastic news Phil, huge congratulations to you. :-)

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    1. Sarah! You're alive! :) Thanks so much. I hope to see you out and about on the blogosphere soon.

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  4. Yaaaaaay! You know how incredibly excited I am about this but I'll just say it again here - yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! Your book sounds amazing and I could not be more excited for you. When Michelle tweeted yesterday that XMas in July writers had been getting agents basically my first thought was, "Phil. Definitely." So glad to be right, and congrats to both you and Becky on a wonderful new partnership!

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  5. Congratulations, Phil! That is tremendous!

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  6. Congratulations !! I'm so excited for you! You best believe once your book is out I'm sending my copy over for an autograph (then hawking it on ebay) I wish you allllllll the success in the world.

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  7. Congratulations!

    Interesting in that it seems that with YA, you really need an agent to get published, but with other genres, you don't.

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  8. Well done Phil. You dont know me, But your story is very inspirational. I am struggling to find an agent/publisher for my work. Been told by my critiques that my work is good, but its never easy is it? I love hearing success stories like yours. Never give up I say. Given up once before, but never again! Good luck for the future :-)

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    1. Hi Jean. It may sound trite, but perseverance is key. You can hear 'no' 100 times, but you only need to hear 'yes' once. And yes, it's not easy, but that's what makes it worth it, right?

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  9. Woo Hoo!! I couldn't be happier about this. I so wanted to nab your entry but Michelle got her mits on it first : D

    I can't wait to start buying up the Xmas in July books. I'm going to love it when you all start getting published, love it.

    Huge congratulations to both you and Becky!

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    1. Michelle has cat-like speed! Thank you for hosting the contest!!

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  10. Congrats! That is amazing news! So happy for you! Thanks for sharing your success story.

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    1. Thanks! You're next! Your energy and focus are great motivators for me, and I'm sure tons of other aspiring writers.

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  11. Oh my goodness, I come back and see this wonderful news! I realize I'm late to the party but this is fantastic!! Congrats! I want to hear abou the book!

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