After a brief hiatus, I’m back to the neurotic email checking. Last week, I queried a few more literary agents. My modus operandi is to send out at least one query for each rejection I receive. So far, I’ve had one request for the first 50 pages, which ended in a truly lovely rejection; one straight-up “no thanks” via form email; and, a couple of days ago, a request for the full manuscript! My novel, a contemporary Southern YA retelling of a Scottish ballad, ended up in the right place at the right time. An agent I’d queried forwarded my email to another woman in her agency, who said she’d been looking for a retelling of that very ballad “for ages.” So I spent an insane twenty-four hours dealing with the plot holes that came to light thanks to my betas.
Sleep-deprived, shaky, and hyperactive, fueled mainly by tea and leftover takeout pizza, I hit “send” on my full submission.
And now I’m waiting again.
Of course, I’ve checked my email about a gazillion times already, knowing full well that nobody in the universe works full time as an agent and reads 200+ pages within twenty-four hours–not if they want to engage in such luxuries as eating, drinking, and using the bathroom, anyway.
But I did get an email thanking me for my submission and letting me know the agent looked forward to reading it. That’s all so far. And, with this email, I have realized one of the fundamental truths of emails from agents. They are like those notes you folded into elaborate origami in grade school (if, like me, you went to grade school in Days of Yore and not Days of Texting Under Your Desk). You know how someone would pass you a scrawled one-liner on a piece of notebook paper from the boy or girl you liked, and then you’d analyze it to death with your best friend for, like, the next two weeks? It’s exactly like that when you get a response from an agent.
I’ve pretty much got that email memorized. “Many thanks,” it begins, and my overactive little mind goes something like this:
“‘MANY’!!! She’s not just thanking me, she’s thanking me A LOT! Is that good?? I think it’s good!! She could have just said ‘Thanks,’ but she said ‘Many’!!!”
And then she says that she’s really looking forward to reading my book, and, once again, MIND ON OVERDRIVE:
“She’s looking forward to it! But not ‘kind of’ looking forward to it, ‘really’ looking forward to it! That’s got to be good! But wait–she also said ‘Many,’ and followed that up with ‘really.’ Maybe she’s just one of those positive, affirming people who
likes to let girls down easy doesn’t want to crush writers’ souls. I don’t know what this means!! And is ‘looking forward to it’ just a line? It sounds like a line…..Does she like me? Or does she LIKE ME like me?? I don’t know!! If I write her back right away, will that make me look desperate? Maybe I’m losing my mind….am I losing my mind?? What if she thinks I’m boring my book is boring? What if she LIKES my book? Is she going to ask me to the prom offer to represent me? What if she thinks I’m not cute a good writer? DOES THIS BOOK MAKE MY BUTT LOOK FAT??”
So, that’s where I’m at. Whatever happens, it’s definitely been a wild ride, and for that, I am grateful. Excuse me while I go doodle my name and the agent’s name on an acknowledgements page. You know, just to see how it looks.