At this point, I'm trying to learn as much about the industry as possible. I know, I know, I should probably have a finished manuscript before I even think about agent hunting and query letters, but I want to prepare myself as I go along. So, I went to querytracker.net and started looking around.
That's when I started to get pretty frightened.
There are so many agents out there. How does one decide who to query? How does one decide how many to query at once? Should I send out only a few at a time or do I send out tons to improve my odds?
Then I started checking out some of the authors' websites and I became intimidated. They all look so cool and young and stylish and... so not like ME! They all seem to live in New York and go to art gallery exhibits and have equally cool and young and stylish friends. And here I am, a stay at home mom living in the country. I mean, I've traveled but that was when I was young and moving around with my parents for my Dad's different jobs. I have been to California but that was when I was like eight years old. I have been to Atlanta but it was just a layover during a flight to South Carolina. I didn't even leave the airport.
I just felt so naive and bumpkin-like. When I started feeling really freaked out, I told my husband what was going on and he texted me with a statement that I'm sure I'll never delete off my phone:
"Step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Everything will be fine."
So I did. I closed out all those windows that had those cool author websites, all those that had anything to do with finding an agent and how to write query letters. Instead I began to search for people who might be feeling the same thing as me. People that are in the same boat as me.
Friends, I need friends who really, really understand what I'm going through. Yes, my husband is my best friend and I couldn't do any of this without him but he can't really give me serious advice about what I should do. So, how do I find these friends?
I've decided to take a cue from Regina Brooks's book Writing Great Books for Young Adults and put together a want ad, not for a character but for people like me. So, here it is:
Wanted: Writers of YA fiction who are just as nervous
about delving into the publishing industry as I am.
Who both love and hate writing as much as I do.
Who might want to start a critique circle.
Who won't be afraid to laugh and cry.
Who are willing to give and receive support and advice.
I don't care where you live or whether or not you attend
super cool art exhibits, just as long as you're friendly.
If you are considering replying to this ad, here is a little bit about me to help you make the decision:
1. I love cherry coke.
2. My brother taught me to read with comic books (he read the boy parts and I read the girl parts).
3. I really like fuzzy socks.
4. I never miss an episode of Top Chef or Project Runway, but I've never seen an episode of Jersey Shore.
5. If I won the lottery today, I would go out and buy every new electronic device on the market, take a trip to Scotland, buy my mother whatever she wanted, and donate a million dollars to St. Jude's.
6. My favorite French word is l'histoire because it's fun to say.
7. I am horrible at every type of sport but I'm a HUGE Boston Celtics fan.
8. I really like to make people laugh. Like, REALLY laugh, giggling is unacceptable.
9. When children aren't present, I tend to have a potty mouth.
So there you have it. I'm excited to meet you all! My last little fact: the Beatles are my favorite band ever, ever, ever! I could listen to them day or night, in the car or in the bathroom, bad mood or good mood.