Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024
  • Miriam Cortinovis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/6/2024
  • Jenniea Carter Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/8/2024
  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/24/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Kristine C. Asselin: Don't Throw in the Towel!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!! I have a guest post with a great message to share with you today. It's by Kristine Carlson Asselin from 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!

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.

http://krisasselin.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-agent-story.html or
http://querytracker.net/kristine_carlson_asselin.php or

-Kristine Asselin


Theresa Milstein said...

Congratulations! And thanks for sharing your story.

I don't think I've ever sent more than 30-50 on any manuscript. If the requests for fulls aren't coming in significant #'s, I move on. Maybe that's part of my problem.

But I can't imagine quitting. Most days.

If you get a chance, please visit my blog. I'm holding a 500 followers contest.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Kristine. I have gone through stages where I wanted to throw in the towel daily and I haven't even gotten to the query stage yet. But I always pick myself up and dig back in.

I so agree that you have to query until you can't query anymore. You can't give up. I'm steeling myself for that process. Good luck with your book.

Heather Kelly said...

Kris--great post. I agree that quitting is not an option. It's hard to imagine you contemplating throwing in the towel--you seem so down to earth, motivated, and logical about writing successes. I'm so glad that you just kept querying, and that you queried something excellent, and again, I'm soooo thrilled that you have reached that next step--I'm cheering for you!!

Amy Machelle said...

Thanks so much for this! Very uplifting. :)

Kristine Asselin said...

It's so great to be on Literary Rambles! I used Casey's blog so much while I was querying--Thank you!

Laura Pauling said...

I think the key thing is that Kris was receiving requests all along so she knew to keep going! Often times if we're receiving no requests then something is not working. What do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

Awesome, Kris! What an inspiring story. Like Laura said, getting requests was probably a good sign. That, plus you kept working on the ms and didn't just keep sending it out as-is. Seems to me it's finding that perfect balance of perfecting your work while not quitting.

Congrats again, and kudos for sticking with it!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Heather & Amy, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Laura and kiperoo, I think you raise an important point. If you're getting just form rejections or a number of rejections after a partial or full request, you do need to step back and determine if the problem is the query or your manuscript before querying more. Once you fix that, then you continue querying. Thanks for raising the issue.

Kristine Asselin said...

I absolutely agree! You DO need to make sure that your MS is the best it can be.

Annie said...

Excellent post, Kristine. I think your point about the query and manuscript changing during the process is a great one, too. I've gotten some thoughtful comments from agents who declined, and I think I'm going to take those into consideration as I move forward. Thanks for sharing your inspiring query story!

Cambria Dillon said...

Great reminder, Kris! And I love this:

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.


Kelly Polark said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Kris!
Perseverance! Persistence! Prevail!

Ansha Kotyk said...

I love that I get to enjoy this trip with you Kris. You inspire and motivate me every day! Sweet Spot is an awesome read and I can't wait to see it in print!

Arlee Bird said...

Good for you for not giving up and being able to write this advice. Persistence is the key to any success. Along the way we might have to reset our sights, reformulate our goals, and make lot of other readjustments, but quitting should never be an option.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Great story, Kristine! Querying really beats a person up. And usually success comes as a hard won battle. It takes a strong person to hang in there through all the rejection. I'm so glad you didn't give up! It's inspirational.

MG Higgins said...

Inspiring, Kris! Thanks for sharing your journey.

Beth said...

I love hearing inspiring stories like yours. Thanks for sharing!

Kristine Asselin said...

Thanks again to Casey for having me today, and for everyone for stopping by with such lovely comments.

HowLynnTime said...

I love you post - congrats!

I have the same advice - I tell everyone 'don't count your blisters'

Because just like you said - It would be so sad if you quit and just around the corner was your Yes!

I am so glad you shared your story!

Lisa Nowak said...

Congratulations, Kristine! I agree with you 100%. You can't give up.

Julie Geistfeld said...

Great post, thanks so much for sharing your story!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Perseverance is a key ingredient, for sure, as is the fact that you kept working on the query and the manuscript. Thanks for sharing this!

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you for all the great comments, everyone. I'm so happy you enjoyed Kristine's post. It's so important not to give up and to continually reassess.

Thank you again for the fabulous post, Kristine! I wish you every success in the next leg of your journey.

Victoria Dixon said...

I am SO at this point. 60+ queries and then some and only five requests, even though they all tell me I write well. No market for my work. Part of me is spitting mad and wants to go out there and make the market. Part of me is fingering the towel...