What can I say about querying…
I loved it and hated it in equal measure.
Each query I sent out felt like a chance at finding my dream agent to carry me forward into the next steps of my writing career, and I loved that feeling.
But also, each query carried with it the potential for rejection. I… was less fond of that feeling.
I have been in the query trenches almost constantly for three years, pretty much one year per project queried. I know that many have been at it longer than me, but those three years sure felt long.
They weren’t without their successes, though. Querying All That We See or Seem resulted in its publishing deal with Uncommon Universes Press, and it’s been so wonderfully gratifying to see that story (and its sequel!) out in the world. It wasn’t specifically querying that got me noticed by them, though – it was #PitMad, a pitch contest held on Twitter a couple times a year.
And, funnily enough, it was another contest I stumbled across on Twitter – this one #RevPit – that got me my agent.
HEARTFIRE is based on a short story I wrote a few years ago that I had a hard time shaking. When I was looking for a new novel project after writing A Dream Within a Dream, my mind pulled me back to the world of flammable hearts I’d so briefly gotten to visit. It’s by far the fastest I’ve ever drafted a book. Blank page to fully fleshed out draft in less than three months. I just loved it so much, and I wanted to keep reading it and hanging out with the characters, so every spare moment I had went into that draft.
After it went through my revisions, plus the revisions that came from beta reader feedback, I started sending it out into the world. It got a good response, with 11 full manuscript requests and 2 partials coming fairly quickly, but it seemed to be falling just short of where it needed to be.
Cue: #RevPit. That contest could not have come at a better time, and I was so honored to be selected by Holly Ingraham. We spent six weeks revising the manuscript until it shone, focusing largely on world and character arcs, and then, the showcase went live. It included the query and the first five pages of the manuscript, and in the comments section, agents could make requests. I got a few requests coming in that day, which was awesome.
From there, things moved fairly quickly. She read the first 50 pages, upgraded it to a full request a couple days later, and then, less than two weeks later, set up a video chat.
I could tell right away that Kaitlyn’s vision for HEARTFIRE matched my own. She had so much enthusiasm and belief in the world and the characters, and the few minor tweaks she proposed totally made sense to the story. Still, I had five full manuscripts outstanding, so we did the standard two weeks to give those agents a chance to read. Not all of them had the time, which I completely understood, but every single one of them was kind, congratulatory, and supportive.
And, ultimately, when the two weeks were up, I was more than happy to sign the contract to be represented by Kaitlyn. I couldn’t be more excited to see where HEARTFIRE goes from here and what comes next.