Rewriting yet another novel.
Because I like to rewrite—it’s comfortable and familiar. In my writing world, I AM IN CONTROL.
And because querying is very scary.
After some serious internal and external debate, I decided it was time to get serious about getting published. My plan for accomplishing this goal was:
1. Attend some of the events hosted by the writing organizations, of which I was already a member.
2. Connect with and support other writers/authors.
3. Attend a conference.
4. Get back in the query trenches.
There’s a wonderful writing organization right here in Richmond called James River Writers. I registered for their Fall Conference as soon as registration opened and signed up for an appointment to meet with one of the literary agents on the list. Then I started reading everything I could about pitching to an agent at a conference and I wrote a really horrible elevator pitch.
Then my dear friend, Deb Dudley, encouraged me (like the two-handed shove kind of encouragement) to enter Brenda Drake’s #PitchMadness Contest. So with Deb’s help, along with my CP and some friends at YAwriters, I wrote a better one-line pitch and I entered. I received several agent requests as a result of this contest but what’s important to my agent story is that I gained CONFIDENCE.
This newfound confidence did not stop me from checking my inbox every three seconds, however. Nor did it calm my elevator-pitch anxiety because now the conference (and my agent appointment) was only a couple of weeks away. And the stakes were higher—because there had been a change in the agent lineup.
Now I had an appointment with an agent who had recently joined my DREAM AGENCY, and who was actively acquiring YA clients!
When I sat down in front of Beth Phelan, I was a nervous wreck. But I remembered to say my name (yay!) and I remembered to congratulate her on her new position at The Bent Agency (double yay!). Then I told her the title of my book.
And that’s where she stopped me.
She said that SOMEONE had already told her about my project and she was hoping that the Elle Blair on her appointment list was the Elle who’d written the novel.
How freaking awesome is that, right?
So I was stunned, but maybe a little more relaxed and I blabbered some more and Beth asked questions (which I managed to answer) and then our time was up and she handed me her business card and asked for the FULL.
I sent it, she read it and then I got THE CALL!!!
I’m telling you people: It. Was. AWESOME!!!
Now, is anyone curious about the mysterious SOMEONE who told Beth about my manuscript before I did?
Good because this is my favorite part of the story.
About a week before the conference, I attended a book-signing event in Richmond called Teen’13. I bought a contemporary YA book by an author I’d never heard of—simply because the cover was beautiful and when I read the blurb, it sounded like my kind of story. While The Author signed her book for me, we talked about writing. She asked about my project and I rambled on about my experience with #PitchMadness and my upcoming agent appointment at the JRW Conference. And when I asked if she would allow me to practice my elevator pitch on her, she said yes.
At the time, I didn’t know that Erica Orloff was a multi-published author and a JRW Board Member, folks. I didn’t know she would be having dinner with the conference faculty the night before the event. And never in a million years could I have guessed that she would be so impressed by my premise and my enthusiasm for my project that she would tell Beth about me!
All I knew was that she was gracious and lovely and so very easy to talk to.
So remember to CONNECT WITH AND SUPPORT OTHER WRITERS/AUTHORS my friends. Because you never know!
Thanks for stopping by!