|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!|
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
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!