Amanda Hubbard is from Enumclaw, Washington. After writing for several years, she’s decided to turn her love into more than just a past-time. At 23 and recently married, she’s working on finding an agent with the hopes of becoming a published novelist. She writes both romance and young adult. If you'd like to contact Amanda, e-mail her!
THE WAITING GAME
Waiting is the worst part of trying to get published. Want an agent? Send them a letter, and be prepared to wait two months. Want to be published? Send them a submission, and then forget about it, because it’ll be a long time before you hear back.
I’m not bitter about this; I think it comes with the territory. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of writers out there trying to make it. The fact that you can be looked at by just about any agent or editor (assuming they are open to submissions) is pretty remarkable. They’ll give you a minute or two of their time and look over your query letter. If it’s good, they’ll ask to see more, and could potentially invest hours of their time to read your stuff. You’re not paying them for their time, either. These experienced professionals are looking at your stuff for free and telling you if they think it’s any good.
So as a writer, you better get used to waiting. Hopefully, you get lucky and it’s only weeks instead of months. Hopefully, in the end, you have a publishing contract, and the waiting part means you’re waiting to see your book on a shelf somewhere.
For me, I’m waiting on all sorts of things. One of them is the book proposal I mentioned in my last column. I found out that a publisher was looking for authors to write for a series that they created. This means that it is a ‘packaged’ deal. They decide what the pay is, and they retain all the rights. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girls, both very popular Young Adult series, were both created this way.
I submitted a proposal for a series about high school girls who sign up for a semester abroad. I wrote three chapters plus a two thousand-word synopsis. My critique partner and I nitpicked it as much as possible, fixing even the tiniest things, and then I sent it off.
Less than two weeks later, I arrived at home to find a medium sized white package on my stoop. When I saw that the return address was the publisher, I freaked, trying to rip open the impenetrable material that is Tyvek. Eventually, I found a knife, slit the envelope open, and out dropped a book. It was the third book in the series about study abroad girls. With the book was a letter from the editor, and to my delight, it was a revision letter.
The editor told me that she’d “found a lot to like” and that my tone was “just right for the series.” Some of my plot points, outlined in the synopsis, felt a little negative, and she was worried that the young heroine didn’t learn as much about herself during the semester. She invited me to revise and resubmit, taking her concerns into account.
I’ve never been more ecstatic in my life. Actual compliments from an editor astounded me. I raced off, worked through the revisions for the next week, and then emailed them off again. And now, I wait. Thanks to the holidays, things are slow. It’s been about six weeks, but I’m hoping that I’ll hear back in the next two weeks or so.
On another note, thanks to this revision letter, I’ve been in contact with a really wonderful literary agent. Although nothing is official, I’m hopeful that we’ll end up working together. Our first phone call was a bit of a debacle- first I gave her the wrong phone number, then the power went out and my cordless died! Talk about a nightmare-come-true.
I talked with the agent about another project I’m working on, about a group of twenty-something singles, and their jet-set lifestyle. She liked the idea, so I’ve been pouring my time into writing it, hoping to distract myself from my previous proposal.
In any case, I should have plenty to report in my next column, so stay tuned. Will I get a yes or no on my proposal? Will I sign with this agent? And if I do, will she like my finished novel enough to pitch it to some publishers?
See you next time. Same Bat-time, Same Bat-place.