Evernight Teen Publishing

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Submission Hell

July 21st was the last time I was on this blog. Wow. Life. It's glorious, beautiful and often hard. This has been my year of struggles. If you read my last post that should give you a pretty good idea. I'm happy to report, though, that she is doing much better.

All that aside, I did promise at some point to discuss my submission process for The Boxer and the Butterfly. So here I am getting ready to do just that.

First, I have to say, THANK GOD it's over. Time and circumstance change for us all. At this juncture in my life I hope I never put myself through that again. A year from now ... who knows where my mind frame will be? Maybe I'll be brave enough to submit to literary agents. Now? NO!!!!! That was mentally excruciating.

Let's get down to it.

I hated doing this, but I promised, so I went back and dug through my saved emails to bring you the stats.

Total queries sent: 53

Partial requests: 8

Full requests: 11

Rejections: Does it matter? Most did get back, but believe it or not, there was an agent who raved about the materials I sent her, had the full for months, and never followed up. I did check cyberspace to make sure something drastic didn't happen to her (hey, bad things happen, i.e. accidents, wrecks, etc.) and she still lives, but never responded. Ever.

A few more stats for #Pit2Pub

Full requests: 8

Partial: 1

The funny thing? I ended up signing with Evernight Teen and they did not heart my novel. Perhaps it was overlooked? Who knows, but all of this demonstrates you don't have to receive an invitation to submit, nor when you have a reputable literary agent make you feel like you're hours away from signing, do they sign you.

Would you aspiring authors like to see some agent responses? It's your lucky day, I'm feeling like sharing:)

*names of agents have been removed*

Dear Sasha,
Thank you so much for sending us THE BOXER AND THE BUTTERFLY for consideration. Thanks also for your patience in waiting for our response. We do know how hard it can be waiting when your manuscript is out on submission!
I have had a thorough read through THE BOXER AND THE BUTTERFLY and I enjoyed it. In fact the reason for the delay in coming back to you was because I came back to it a couple of times as it was a difficult decision to make. It had an interesting premise and you write well. However, after much thought, I felt that there was something about the voice that didn’t quite resonate for me. So, sadly, I didn’t quite love this enough to take it further. Obviously this is a very subjective view, as we all know reading is a subjective business and another agent may well feel differently. It’s so important that your agent feels passionately about your work in order to represent you to the best of their abilities.
 I’m sorry to write with disappointing news, Sasha. I do wish you all the best for the future. Thanks again for thinking of 

And here's another response after requesting my full: 

Dear Sasha,

Thank you so much for your patience and for giving me the time to read THE BOXER AND THE BUTTERFLY. There is much to admire about your novel--the voice, the tension that is carried out throughout the narrative, and the swoon worthy romance. Mickey is very charming and so easy to love as a character. That said, after having others in the office read the manuscript and some deliberation I'm going to have to pass. As much as I love the story, the overall consensus (which was not unanimous) in the office is that the story may not be different enough to stand out in the very saturated YA market. 

Thank you so much for sharing your novel with me and apologies for not having better news.

All best wishes,

And here's another full request: 

Dear Sasha,

Many thanks for sending me your submission, which I read with interest. You do write well but I'm afraid, however, that I didn't feel passionately enough about it to offer representation. Our business is subjective by nature and another agent may well feel differently - I wish you the best of luck with that.

All the best,

And another from an agent that had my full for over 6 months: 

Hi Sasha,
I'm really sorry for the delay in my reply.
I will pass on this project.

What can I say? A BUNCH. But I'll try to restrict myself. Who doesn't love having their manuscript passed around the old office with a collective Survivor-like vote? It's always great to know just how close you were. Kind of like you have be at 100% but you made it to 99%, sport. 

Or how about an agent having your full for MONTHS (almost 7) and all they have to say is, "I will pass on this project." I'm by no means entitled to a 5 page critique. Agents are busy. I am too. So I get it. They of all people know (or I think they are supposed to) how raving-lunatic-like authors become while waiting solely for their response. There's no easy or good way to give bad news. I know that, too. I'm a supervisor and have to tell my crew things all the time I'd rather not. But to give me a 2 line blurb? She did say sorry for the delay, so I guess that makes up for it? 

I really am done here :) Agents are not critiquing you as a person, it's your work. I'm okay with that. Really I am. 11 full requests people. 11. 

I had one agent who had my full tell me she loved it, but she signed an author that had my same writing style. Huh? Not, the same kind of premise book-wise, but style. I had to re-read that one a couple of times because I couldn't process that. I still can't. 

And the kicker, the biggest one of all ... after receiving an offer of publication, I wrote to what few agents were still out there considering that I was finally pulling the plug and I actually had one offer me representation. Isn't that what every author dreams of? I remember reading the email over and over and over. I had moments where I dreamed. Moments were I thought this was my big break. And after several days of agonizing, I turned said agent down. Why? I already had the contract. That's what they are for. I was polite and pleasant because that's what you should do professionally, but after it all sunk in, morally, I had to turn said agent down. Not out of spite and perhaps said agent really wanted to work with me. I don't know. But a literary agent (at least my idea of one) is supposed to push you, foster and nurture your career, try to land you deals you can't. Not the other way around. And under no circumstances will I disclose the identity of said agent. It's a professional courtesy.  

I also learned that during this whole submission from hell that has been my life for 7 months at the start of the year, crippled my ability to write. And that is killing the dream, what I'm in this for ... it's to write novels, not stalk my email, twitter, querytracker every minute. It was so debilitating. 

And guess what? It all worked out for the best. I've signed a contract with Evernight Teen, started not one, but two novels and I have finally moved on. I feel better, whole again. This post isn't meant to deter anyone from submitting to a literary agent. It's to share what this go around was like for me. Take it or leave it. 

My YA novel, The Boxer and the Butterfly, will be releasing in a few weeks. I can't wait to share it with you! 

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