You know, sent out all those query letters that seem so form-driven,
so A + B = C but are actually concocted from your sweat, tears and a few fingernails so when you send one off, your heart breaks unabashedly in your ear and all you can hear is the untamed beating of your untamed blood?
I’m talking about wooing an agent.
If you’re a writer and the easy part is finished (you know, grooming that 300 page albatross you wear lovingly around your neck), you probably know a thing or two about about the uphill battle, the all out massacre of shooting out query emails, only to receive rejections like zipping shots to the gut. It’s not pretty, but nothing worth dying for ever really is.
So imagine the day I got THE email. No, it wasn’t a reply to my query letter. It was a random email from an agent, Robyn Russell, saying that she’s been a long time reader of my blog, (the now defunct Creative Liar) and just read a post about me writing a book, and oh, by the way, would I like her to be my agent?
You can only imagine how loud my screams were in the employee bathroom of the internet marketing company I worked for and how frantically I had to cover them with intermittent toilet flushes.
It was a great moment, a complete heart attack of a moment. But as I quickly learned, landing an agent is only the first step in a journey that can seem like it has no end.
Robyn did her due diligence and pitched my novel, Unkept, to every major book publisher there is, and truth be told, I actually received some really amazingly awesome rejection letters. Like, if they didn’t have the line “I’m going to pass” written in them, I probably would have printed them out and sewn them together to make a wonky fitting sundress.
Despite those super positive rejections, after a while, things started to feel bleak. I thought maybe this is the type of book that needs to be written but doesn’t necessarily need to be read. Seriously, what the frick does that even mean?? I was starting to let the idea of “big publisher” color the plans I had for my novel and that was the last thing I’d ever want to happen to me or any other writer for that matter.
So then I began to change my thinking. Maybe “big” isn’t always the answer. Maybe in my case, “small” was. The word sometimes has a negative connotation, but as I researched small publishers and shared my findings with Robyn, I started to realize small meant intimate. Small meant having a few goal-driven, hard working individuals that are rooting for you and your work at all times. Small meant having access to the very people who would be putting the cherry on my fictional sundae. Small meant Bannerwing Books, my publisher. The company that is putting my dream into print.
So I tried for years, thinking I had it all planned out but as everyone knows, plans have nothing on reality. My reality is working with a dedicated group of hard working women who are just as proud as I am to bring Unkept to life, a group that makes small look good.
Mollie Claire's notes:
A big THANK YOU to author Ericka Clay for guest posting!
Like other newbies to the Bermuda triangle of publishing, any time an author I admire makes a move forward, I want to know who they chose to work with and why. I'm of the opinion that a talented author with a great support system & social media savvy no longer requires a Big 6 deal to share their art.
I hope this post inspired you all to keep showing up every day with your gifts. I'm excited to see how this unfolds for Ericka. I can't wait to stalk every public library acquisition desk in North Carolina with Ericka's work. To learn more about Ericka and her work, visit her author page, her glitter baby tipsylit, or join EC Readers.