And because the lovely fairy godmothers recommended it, the clueless writer joined the land of MFW where wonderful writers visit. She was intimidated by all the published writers at the meetings. (What the heck was a genre?) But she read and asked questions and started to understand their discussions. And she took on-line classes. And joy of joys, she joined critique groups and learned even more about writing.
The clueless writer entered contests sponsored by the great and powerful RWA chapters. And she began to final. So she entered more contests because it made her feel good. Finally the writer, no longer as clueless as she had been, entered the big one—the Golden Heart. Nothing happened the first year, but the second time she entered she got the call. She would be a princess for a week – a Golden Heart Finalist. And lots of her friends from the land of MFW were princesses that year, too.
The writer was still a little shocked because the book that finaled had only been in one other contest. She furiously revised the book and began querying agents. And she got requests! (Yippee.) And rejections. (Bummer.) And two of her princess friends from the land of MFW won the Golden Heart and became queens! (One in her category. Joy and bummer.)
But no one handed the writer a publishing contract. So she kept writing and revising and got lucky and finaled the next year with a different manuscript. She would be a princess for a week. Again. (Joy!) But she had to revise her manuscript before she sent out her queries. (So much work!)
She got an email from an evil agent. The evil agent requested a two-week exclusive on her book. And the writer was ecstatic and sent her a full manuscript. And heard nothing.
So right before the conference, the writer sent out more queries. And got her first phone call rejection from a lovely agent. And that didn’t sting quite so much because the lovely agent said she would like to see more of her work.
But then the writer ran into the evil agent during the conference and they talked. The evil agent got the writer excited because she seemed to understand where to take the writer’s career. The evil agent offered to represent her, promising to send her a contract after the conference. And then the evil agent wished her luck on winning the Golden Heart. (Which seemed odd to the writer, but maybe the wine had made the writer clueless again.)
So the writer didn’t pitch her book to the editor she liked because she was going to be represented. She did hurry home and sent out all the agent requests she had gotten from the conference, because she still wasn’t officially represented.
After the conference, the evil agent didn’t send a contract. She sent a letter rescinding the offer. And the writer was sad and embarrassed. And back to feeling clueless.
Then a good fairy agent, who had requested the writer’s manuscript at the ball (in the bar after the award’s ceremony) called to reject the writer. This was the second book she’d rejected. And they talked for a long time about what genre the writer should concentrate on. (And the writer now knew what that meant.) The good fairy agent didn’t want the writer to stop submitting manuscripts. So the writer sent her a third manuscript, which the good fairy agent also rejected with a kind letter.
The writer decided to rewrite another book. It finaled in a couple of contests and an editor requested a partial. By the next national conference, the writer had almost completed the rewrite, so she pitched that book. (And actually kind of stalked the good fairy agent. Thank goodness there aren’t stalking rules at the national conference.) Although she already had four editor/agent appointments, the writer worked hard and came home with eight different requests for three different books. And one of them was from the good fairy agent. (Who has always been on her A list.)
One evening, the good fairy agent called to talk about the fourth book that our no-longer- completely-clueless writer had submitted. And they talked and talked. The good fairy agent wanted to make sure that the writer would be okay if the book was submitted to e-publishers if the print world didn’t snatch up the book. And the good fairy agent waved her magic pen and offered the not-quite-clueless writer representation.
The writer, trying not to swoon, said yes, yes, yes.
And now the writer is represented by the good fairy agent. And she is still getting rejections. But she knows that it took her four books to convince the good fairy agent to work with her. (And the not-so-clueless writer was one of only 13 writers the good fairy agent signed in 2012.) So the writer knows that rejections can lead to good things. (Hopefully a publishing contract.)
The moral of this fairytale: If at first you get a rejection; submit. Again and again and again.
Nan is now represented by Laura Bradford. The Bradford Literary Agency.