Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

BEYOND THE DOOR through April 12th here

THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN through April 12th here

DEAR KILLER through April 19th here

ACID through April 26th here

AGENT TINA WEXLER QUERY CRITIQUE & CAMISAR giveaway through May 3rd here

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
http://backspacewriters.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-writers-path-to-signing-with.html.

-Kristine Asselin

24 comments:

  1. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 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!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for this! Very uplifting. :)

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

    ReplyDelete
  6. 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?

    ReplyDelete
  7. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  8. 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  10. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  11. 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.

    SOOOOO TRUE!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the inspiration, Kris!
    Perseverance! Persistence! Prevail!

    ReplyDelete
  13. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  14. 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.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

    ReplyDelete
  15. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Inspiring, Kris! Thanks for sharing your journey.

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  19. 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!

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

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great post, thanks so much for sharing your story!

    ReplyDelete
  22. 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!

    ReplyDelete
  23. 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.

    ReplyDelete
  24. 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...

    ReplyDelete