My manuscript for THE HIDEAWAY is finished and the agent search process has begun! I set a clear goal before me: have my writing group--or cartel, as we call ourselves--finish reading my novel by the end of the summer so I can add last minute edits and tweaks, and in the meantime, concoct super-duper agent spreadsheet so I can start sending queries to agents by end of August/beginning of September. I like lists and end dates, and this was a good ending date for me to shoot for. I started the Excel spreadsheet everyone talks about and started researching agents (mainly using Querytracker, Agent Query, Twitter, and a lot of Googling). Everything was going swimmingly until I won an query critique contest on Twitter.
Yep, you read that right, winning the contest sort of threw a wrench in my plans. Because, you see, the agent liked my query. She made some suggestions and asked me to resend it when I finished. Which I did. At which point, she asked me to send her the first 50 pages of the manuscript.
Yeah, I freaked out a little, then took a few deep breaths, quickly read through the 50 pages (even though I can almost quote them word for word now) and sent them off to her with a wish and a prayer. Needless to say, I wasn't expecting her to actually want to read the manuscript. Was I hoping? Sure, of course. But when she actually asked for pages, I was still stunned. And delighted. And I really like this agent, so bonus.
So I go out of town, riding pretty high on cloud nine, jumping every time my phone buzzed, alerting me to a new email, even though I told myself it logically could be weeks before I hear from her. I get myself to the beach, stretch out on a lounge chair while my kids napped inside, and get another surprise email. This time, it was from an author friend with a lovely agent. This friend said she had been chatting with her agent and just happened to mention my novel, and the agent just happened to say she was interested and wanted to read it. Again, I was caught totally off guard and flustered (and jumping up and down excited, I must say.) See, you remember that little Excel spreadsheet I mentioned? And the fact that I like lists and doing things in order as they're supposed to be done? Having my manuscript--all or part of it--in the hands of not one but two very reputable agents wasn't supposed to happen this fast!
It seems like every time I methodically lay out my plans, God throws me a curve ball and says, "See all your little plans? Mine are more important." So I took another deep breath and fired my query off to agent #2. (I figured it wouldn't hurt to let her read the query and have her actually tell me she wanted me to read the manuscript, rather than sending the whole kit and kaboodle to her when I hadn't made any sort of contact with her myself.) She emailed back and said to please send the MS to her.
So, whew. As a writer friend said, The Hideaway is "out there" now. I keep telling myself it'll take some serious time before I hear from them--I say this mainly to keep myself from tossing aside furniture and small children in my attempt to get to my phone every time an email comes through. And I'm telling myself that even if my novel isn't their cup of tea, any feedback I get will help direct me and get me where I want to be. (And if they actually like it, then all the better.) What's the saying--prepare for the worse, but hope for the best? That's pretty much where I am.
And as I'm waiting, I'm continuing that agent list. If neither of these work out, there are so many out there who could be a good fit for The Hideaway. I really love this story, I believe in it, and I just need to get it in the hands of the right person with whom it clicks and settles down in their bones and makes them feel good.
I've also decided what my next writing project will be. I going to try to rework my first novel, the one that currently resides in a fat folder under my bed (and on a flashdrive, of course.) The general story idea had--and still as--a lot of potential, but I need to start the plot over from scratch. Writing my second novel taught me SO much, and I cringe at the novice mistakes I made in that first book. But we have to make those mistakes in order to not make them later on, right?
All the best, and hopefully I'll have more agent updates next time!