One down, a ton more to go…

Just wanted to show y’all my very first query rejection. It makes me feel totally legit. 🙂

first rejection

Yeah, it’s a form letter, but I find it encouraging. Also, this is based solely on my query letter, meaning the agency didn’t ask for sample pages or a first chapter or anything like that. So we’ll see what happens with the rest I send.

The bottom line is, I’m really doing it, y’all!

Let’s talk about how people are nucking futs

You guys. This is terrifying.

Pam van Hylckama, a lit agent in San Francisco, was attacked a few days ago while sitting in her car. A guy came up and knocked one of her side mirrors off, and when she rolled down her window to I assume say “What the f…,” he grabbed her by the head and started smashing her face into her steering wheel. Her dog was in the car with her and bit the guy, who then ran off.

Long story short, this might not be a random attempted carjacking like Pam first thought. The police wondered if the attacker could be a writer who had been sending her crazy, death threat-y emails after she rejected his submission. She gave them that guy’s address (it was included with his submission), and when they went to question him, lo and behold the dude had a dog’s bite mark on his arm. He’s now in police custody.

(Read about it here and here and here.)

What. The. F***.

I can’t even… I just can’t…

WHAT?

Look, I work in a newsroom and have handled my fair share of creepy letters from people in prison and phone calls from people in the loony bin. The guy who tried to mug me for my phone a couple of years ago did so because he thought I was talking about him to someone he knew. The point being, I am totally aware that there are nut jobs out there. But this is like “Law & Order”-level crazy.

Here are the reasons why a submission could be rejected:

  1. It sucks.
  2. The agent doesn’t represent that type of work.
  3. The agent doesn’t feel he/she is the best person to represent the work.
  4. The writer’s query didn’t make the work sound appealing.
  5. The work needs more work.
  6. It sucks.

(There are probably many more, but I am not an agent and don’t pretend to know them all.)

Reasons 1, 4-6 are the writer’s responsibility. Reasons 2-3 are out of the writer’s hands completely, but still totally common and justifiable reasons. NONE of those reasons (nor anything, really) justifies stalking and/or physically harming someone!

My BFF Dianna put it best when she heard the story: “You know, I hear things like that and realize that I’m doing OK.” It’s SO true. Just this weekend I thought I was losing it because all day Saturday I was overcome with random, unprompted crying fits: ran errands, came home, cried, watched some TV, cried, did Pilates, cried, made dinner, cried, edited two more chapters of my book, cried, went to bed.

In the grand scheme, even with random crying, I’m doing OK. And agents, I swear to Thor, I will accept your rejections with grace, dignity and perhaps a non-random (but still non-crazy) cry.

Let’s talk about the weather

My favorite weather day of the year is coming. You all know the one. It’s the day when the sun shines brightly without giving off oppressive heat, and instead of the thick atmosphere of summer, the air is cool and zesty against your skin. It’s the day we know that fall is near.

For most people, that day happens in the next couple of weeks. In Texas, we’re lucky if it’s before Halloween.

Either way, it’s coming.

A beautiful thing happens on that day: People are happy. It’s because they didn’t break into a sweat between their car and the office door. They can open the windows at home and let fresh air in.

For me, happiness is also because I know spiced beverages will soon be served in coffee houses, and I can dig my cute boots out from under my pile of sandals. I’ll let myself think ahead to weekend mornings curled up with a book and mug of hot tea. My favorite pair of fuzzy socks will move to the front of my drawer; my leather jackets to the front of my closet. I’ll start thinking of things to bake so that my apartment always smells like cinnamon.

It’s a wonderful day. By the end of summer, everyone is ready for it.

Including literary agents.

I follow a bunch of agents, editors and publishers on Twitter, and more than once in the past few weeks I’ve seen many a gripe about summer. They’re ready for it to be over. One said she’s in such a foul mood about summer that she feels herself being impatient and quick to dismiss submissions.

I totally understand. And if this is true for most agents, I have excellent timing.

“There With You” is headed into final edits (on my part). By the time I’ve finished that, researched proper agents and drafted query letters, it’ll be late October, at the earliest. In fact, I’m giving myself a Halloween deadline to do all of those things. It’s perfect — I’ll be in a great mood because the Texas fall will be looming; they’ll be in great moods and want to cozy up to a new author’s manuscript.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I think this one is going to be the best yet. 🙂