Gather ’round, kidlets. Story time.
In 2003, I tried doing NaNoWriMo for the first time, because I’d always wanted to write but had never been good about sitting down and actually doing it. I had ideas in notebooks but nothing concrete.
I tried. I failed. Burnt out around 15k.
In 2004, I tried again. I made it to 50k that year. That novel is not a novel, it is a sprawling mess of post-apocalyptic… something.
In 2005, for NaNo #3, I had no plot but lots of atmosphere, and when I reached the 30k mark and had no idea where to go with it, I sent my characters to the circus.
In 2006, I spent NaNo working on that circus. I ended up with something interesting, but not novel-shaped.
In 2007, I did another 50k worth of work on the circus. In NaNo terms this is cheating. I’m sorry.
Throughout 2008 I took the 100k+ of circus… stuff and attempted to shape it into a novel.
I don’t know how many drafts it went through. Four, maybe? It started to have something resembling a proper shape in the beginning of 2009.
From 2008 to, well, now, I started learning about the publishing industry.
On June 2nd, 2009, I sent out my first batch of query letters.
I sent six queries out in that first batch. Within 20 minutes I had a partial request and a full request. I got another full request two hours later, two rejections the next day, and a third full request a few weeks later.
Ten days later those first two full request turned into rejections. The partial joined them in rejectionland soon after.
I sent out more queries. I got more requests. I got more rejections.
In August, I got a full request that turned into a phone call. A very nice phone call that I’m pretty sure I did nothing but stammer during, and was a request to rework the book almost entirely, but it was still an offer of representation.
I got in touch with the other agents who were still considering. Some of them passed. I had more phone calls. I think I stammered less in those.
I ended up not taking any offers at that point. I decided to revise independently, because everyone seemed to be saying different versions of the same thing.
I spent September and October of 2009 revising. I pushed around what I had. I tried to have more *stuff* happen. I polished it. I wrapped it up in pretty bows.
I sent it back to the three agents who wanted to see it.
More phone calls. More e-mails. All three of them said different versions of “well… not there yet.”
So I sighed. I ate a lot of chocolate. I wrote a completely different story for NaNo ’09. I took December off.
In January of 2010, I checked into the Revisionland Hotel.
I tore everything apart. I changed the format. I changed the plot. Well, I changed what little plot there was into an actual plot. I took over 25k out and put other stuff in. I sent it to old beta readers and new beta readers. I changed it some more.
I sent it back to agents two weeks ago.
Last week I had one offer of representation.
On Monday I had three.
I thought about it. A lot. I was extremely lucky to have three wonderful agents spending their time on me and my work, offering wonderful advice throughout this process.
In the end I signed with the same agent I had that very first stammering phone call with back in August.
I am now represented by Richard Pine of InkWell Management.
Almost exactly a year after I started querying.