Friday, April 6, 2012

Do I Have What It Takes?



Couldn't talk about this for a couple of weeks. Well, I could, but it would not have been appropriate. I wrote a quickie synopsis of what's involved in Getting Your Book Published on my Fans Of Mama Pajama Tells A Story group on Facebook:

1. write the damn thing
2. revise the living poop outta it
3. send it to your Beta readers (oh yes, I am talking fancy writer-speak. Impressed?)
4. get it back from the Betas and revise all over again
5. have a little break down. or two. three is a nice round number.
6. (here comes the fun part)
7. begin to query agents. LOTS of theories on this, if you're an unpublished writer with not a lot of writing credits, maybe it's best to start querying young, hungry, new agents, or what the heck you can start at the top with NYC agencies. you send a query (type of book, word count, synopsis, your writing bio, first 6 - 10 pages).
8. expect the rejections to come in at 4 - 6 weeks post query
9. IF IF IF IF an agent likes your query they MIGHT MIGHT MIGHT request your full manuscript.
10. and then say "No thanks" and you start all over again

My excitement came a couple of weeks ago. Foolishly (and not living up to my name) I queried two agents. BIG time NYC agents. Presidents of the agencies, not some hot to trot brand new need some clients young 'uns. Nope. And here's the dorky part. I knew my book wasn't ready. But I queried. I figured I'd get rejected, but maybe the big shots would have suggestions for my query.

I've read that THREE out of 10,000 queries end up with a request for a full manuscript. One out of 80,000 ends up published.

So, I figured, what the heck.

And the day after I emailed my query, I got a reply: they wanted my full manuscript.

Oh. My. God.

I'll skip the part where I was at lunch at work when I checked my email and saw the request for my manuscript and started to scream and cry and called Bill who thought I had accidentally killed someone and said right away, "We'll get through this, Patience, no matter what it is," (oh how I love him), and I finally got out the part about them wanting the manuscript, and then he started to scream and cry.

Oh my God, they wanted my manuscript!

And I knew it wasn't ready.

My name is Patience. The name of this (my) blog is Patience-please. Every time someone says my name I get a reminder: patience, patience, PATIENCE.

I worked for six hours on the manuscript the next day and then emailed it to the fancy president of the fancy literary agency. Knowing it wasn't ready.

For two weeks I didn't get a rejection. I knew one was coming; of course one was coming. You've no doubt heard of the SIXTY rejections over the THREE AND A HALF YEARS of revising of the NYT best seller The Help. I couldn't sleep. In my little heart of hearts a silly voice would sing, "They're thinking of what a great movie it would make!" I had fantasies about the book tour in my (imaginary) motor home with Bill and all of the dogs. I told Bill, "It will get rejected. I will not go into a deep depression. I will soldier on, continue to revise, and keep querying. My God! I got a request for a manuscript on my first query! It's all good!" And in my little heart of hearts that silly voice whispered, "They won't reject. They'll offer you a contract. It is this easy."

The rejection letter came yesterday, an hour before folks started to arrive for Bill's opening. It was a personal, kind, lovely letter and it even included suggestions! That is huge! The big fancy NYC agent actually read the whole manuscript, and then she took the time to write a personal note and she included feedback. HUGE.

"Bill, it has to be okay with you, and with me, if I give up on this book and live my life as a normal person. You know, go to work, play with my dogs, go to movies." We were lying in bed, after hosting a couple hundred people in the house and gallery for the show. Food and wine were served, clean was the house, spruced was the yard. Bill and Patience were pooped.

In the morning - this morning - Bill held me and said, "You won't give up."

"But it has to be okay with both of us if I do."

"Yes, but you won't."

hug your hounds


  1. You have a very kind and wonderful husband and he's right....don't stop now!!!! Your writing is fabulous!!!! R

  2. Wow! I don't know what else to say, just wow!

    Hug you husband!

  3. You must keep the faith. Do you stop showing a dog when you know he/she is good just because some silly judge who knows way less about whippets than you do didn't give you the win? Of course not. Bill is right -- soldier on!

  4. Print this out and put it over your computer.

  5. No, no, NO...don't give up, Patience! I predict it
    will be published.
    (And I am VERY good at predictions!)

  6. Oh My Goodness!!!! That is so freaking exciting Patience. That really is huge to get that type of response from the get go. That tells you there is something there - they don't waste their time reading a manuscript if it doesn't have serious potential.

    please Please PLEASE don't give up.

    Sue & HotRod

  7. Francarrich from WWApril 6, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    If you've got his far there's no way you will give up. You couldn't live your life with a huge big "What if......if only..." hanging there in front of your eyes each time you sat at a keyboard or looked at a computer screen. You just take on board what the agent suggested, give it some thought & put her recommendations to work to improve what she obviously thinks is a book with potential.

    A good night's sleep & a loving Bill will show you exactly what to do - so get on with it. LOL

  8. Of course you have what it takes. Even fancy presidents of fancy literary agencies make silly decisions. Be proud of getting it read, and know that somewhere out there is someone in publishing who will recognize its humor, appeal, and just plain brilliance!

  9. Thank you so much! You all are good for my heart and my soul and my (slightly screwy) mind.

    I do know that I have hit the multi-bazillion lotto jackpot in the husband department.

    I will keep the self-publishing on the burner, no doubts there. Do I need to "be published" to feel like a real writer? Maybe???

    Will that stop me from self publishing? No. And Linda that list is most encouraging.

    Brenda your prediction made me do a little happy dance all by myself around my computer room, which I am so glad no one but the dogs witnessed... grin.

    Even when my mouth was saying "I might be DONE" my brain was already working on rewrites.

    Sometimes I just feel so old, and so tired, and so very foolish. But when I do, I'll come back to this page and read all of your encouraging comments :-)

    hugs to you!

  10. I understand this blog very very well -- having been through it several times and finally decided that I'd rather just blog. But, yes, I think you do have what it takes and the opportunity opening up to you is a rare gem, deserving of careful mining. Patience. Yes. And congratulations.

  11. Of course you can do it! Look at all of the great writing you have already done.
    So glad I re-found your blog, thought you'd given it up. Hug those hounds-I love the new pup.

  12. Martha,P-Doggy and Che RE!April 9, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    that Bill.ddfinitely "pick-of-the-litter, BIS" :D..keep on keepin' on..if you write it,they will come..eventually,maybe,but they WILL!

  13. Yee-haaa Patience! Look how far your book got! So proud of you.So close!

    Bill is golden.


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