Always be a good hostess!

So, draft one is done, and our amazing first reader gave us back her comments and edits (big shout out to Jaime! Woot woot!) We’ve made all of the grammatical and suggested changes, and now we’re ready for action. Like, REALLY ready. It’s at about this point with a manuscript that I throw caution to the wind and start querying like a madwoman. And, you know…that’s yielded some results–just not the ones I’ve wanted. In the past I’ve had requests to read 50 page partials, 100 pages, and once I even had a full manuscript request. But the best outcome I’ve had so far was an agent who gave me detailed feedback with a final comment to send her anything else that I might write in the future. I was incredibly excited and flattered by her interest, but the downside of that offer was that–based on what I could glean from her website–she wasn’t a very experienced agent, so…I took her advice to keep writing, but I’m going to keep searching for my dream agent.

I’ve determined that we’re going to be far more patient and methodical with this project, as Holly and I have put tons of effort into this, and we’ve poured all of our authorial hopes and dreams into each other’s ears as we’ve worked. In researching the most amazing, kick-ass representatives for MG and YA authors, I found an agent’s website that included advice, links, and even a writing checklist. Her thoughts on how to present your work to an agent are really interesting, and the checklist walks authors through the whole writing process. I think the biggest takeaway I had from her article was the advice to bring your readers in to a party on page one–but bring them in to a party to which they’re arriving fashionably late. As soon as you get them in the door, show them the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of the story. Point them in the right directions–guide their attention towards your pool, your remodeled living room, your most interesting piece of artwork. Essentially, be a good hostess! Never, never, never in all my years of writing had I thought of it that way: I’m inviting people into my home, my world, my story…now it’s my job (our job!) to take their coats, offer them a drink, show them where the restroom is, and introduce them to our fascinating and eccentric friends. Being good hostesses is easy–we can do this!

3 thoughts on “Always be a good hostess!

  1. I won’t claim to know much about the writing process, but that makes perfect sense! I suppose submitting a manuscript is a bit like staging a house for sale-you put a lot of background effort so that the final product seems “effortless” (knowing, of course, that it was a TON of work). I’ve had scientific papers published, and going through peer review always makes the paper so much better–even though along the way you have to acknowledge your mistakes and where things could be tightened up and made better. So I’m excited to watch this process-I’ll probably even (virtually at least) be biting my nails for you as well.

    • I think the real work starts now…editing and refining is totally necessary, but in your head you’ve already moved on to the next story! I get so anxious for excitement and action, and I check my email about 40 times a day hoping that we’ve gotten a response to our queries…I’ll keep you posted!