Thank you to Casey for having me on the blog today. As some of you might know, I recently signed with Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management. And while it’s very exciting (incredibly, wonderfully exciting), it hasn’t exactly been an overnight success. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to throw in the towel.
What does that mean, really, to throw in the towel? Well, from phrases.org—it’s a boxing term. Literally boxers threw a towel into the ring to indicate when they were giving up the fight. Stopping. Quitting. Throwing in the towel.
How many hits to the head do you have to take to throw in the towel? Depends on the day. Depends on the fight. Depends on your strength. I’m willing to bet, though, most fighters who throw in the towel one day, turn around and fight again the next.
I didn’t start out this post to write about fighting. Really. Not sure how I went there. Circle back to the querying process, Kris.
How many queries do you have to send before you’re willing to throw in the towel? Ten? Fifteen? 150? Elana Johnson (you know, author of the we’re-all-dying-to-read POSSESSION) sent over 150. Read her query story here. It’s incredibly inspiring.
I sent 67. Over the course of eight months. Really.
The query changed a bit during those months. Heck, so did the manuscript. But the point I’m trying to make is I DIDN’T THROW IN THE TOWEL. I know some people hit it right out of the gate—we’ve all heard the stories of people who sign their dream agent in five queries or less. But more typical, I think, is the dedicated, determined, and confident writer who BELIEVES in her own story and queries until she can’t query any more.
I don’t mean query people who don’t rep your genre. You have to do some research. But not every agent is tweeting or blogging—even though it seems like they are. I promise there are more than twenty agents who rep your genre, but you might have to dig. And you DO have to write a good book—make sure you’ve read, reread, proofread, and beta-read every word. There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending out a query too early (we’ve all made that mistake—that’s not just me, right?)
My agent, Vickie Motter, is relatively new. Honestly, she wasn’t even an agent when I started querying. If I’d quit at 50, I might not have found her. So it’s part confidence and determination, part good-timing, part luck of the draw. There’s no part throw in the towel. Quitting is NOT an option.
Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:
A WICKED THING through February 28th
DOVE ARISING through March 7th
MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES through March 14th
UPCOMING AGENT QUERY CRITIQUE CONTESTS:
Alex Slater on March 4th
Kristin Nelson on March 16th
Kristine C. Asselin: Don't Throw in the Towel!
Writing. For Real. who recently signed with an agent for her YA novel, THE SWEET SPOT. You can read Kris's agent story on her blog, QueryTracker, or at the Backspace blog (links also available below). Here's Kris!
Posted by Casey McCormick on Wednesday, March 23, 2011