And by the way, before I continue, you've probably heard me mention Dr. Arnzen before, so let me clarify. Dr. Arnzen is just one of these professors that you would kill to have. *snicker* And if you did in fact kill someone to get a spot in his class, he'd probably ask you about it and then possibly tell you how you could have done it better. Hah.
Ok, back on topic.
So the pitch was the most nerve-wracking part of the entire residency (at least for me). Doing my oral defense (basically reading parts of my novel and then answering questions about it) was just fine and dandy. I was excited and got into it, as I'm sure anyone who attended could tell you. Hehe. Then there was the teaching component. Also not worried. In fact, I quite enjoyed that. I had a great time and could easily stretch one part of my little 50 minute lecture into a 3-hour module and have a great time doing it. (so Dr. Wendland and Dr. McClain, if you ever read this - the second I'm published, I'm all for joining the team). Anywho, my pitch was less than stellar (and I screwed up a second possible hit later on, but have learned from it and don't really plan on going into that here today), but ultimately it didn't matter too much because:
A.) Del Rey doesn't take unsolicited manuscripts. Basically, you need an agent before you can even think of submitting to them.
B.) Due to A. I can think of it more as practice as anything else. More like a "what not to do" when pitching to someone important.
C.) Having an agent is handy anyway because even though they get a little cut of your book's sales, they handle all the business goodies to get you the best deal and keep you from getting screwed over royally.
If she wanted a manuscript, as the editor-in-chief she probably could have made an exception and taken one, but I don't think any of us had an awesome pitch so doubtless nothing really struck her fancy. They're likely swamped with manuscripts as it is. 99.9% of editors are these days.
So, The Pitch: Fail.
Secondary spontaneous pitch to agent later on that day: Fail.
When I got home, almost immediately (that is to say, a few days later once I'd managed to save my dog from almost certain death, but that's a whole other story) I started to send out query letters to agents. I started with three and eventually branched out to five.
I got my first rejection after 24 minutes. *lol* Now, unlike a lot of writers, rejection doesn't bother me. I've been dealing with rejections since I was in high school. Solid writers know that rejection is pretty much inescapable. It might as well be "Death, taxes, and rejection" for us. Anywho, in some ways I was impressed. It meant my email was promptly examined and responded to. That's more than what you can expect from a lot of places. Who knows, maybe I hit the send button at just the right time.
But that's not the news I've been talking about in my other blogs.
The news is that one agency I queried emailed back and asked to see some pages. *squeal*
Now, for those of you who don't know, when you send a one-page query letter, you have to make it kick as much ass as possible in order to show the agent that you have a book worthy of their time and ultimately publication. You have to do that in one page. Trust me, that stuff is hard. I think I revised my query letter three or more times. Some agencies will ask to see pages along with a query letter - it all depends. But generally, it goes like this:
- You send a query letter made of awesome.
- If they like what they see, they ask for pages (anywhere from 10-50).
- You have a small party by yourself and oblige.
- If they like the pages, they ask for the entire manuscript.
- You have a bigger party by yourself and skip around town and cross your fingers and send them the manuscript.
- If they like the whole thing, then they call you and you basically have landed yourself an agent.
- Now you can throw a party and include people (note: you can't throw a really big party until you're actually published, haha)
Yes. This is an actual picture of my printed manuscript.