Tag Archives: book proposal

End of Round Two

Well, I’m a bit disappointed, although I knew it was probably coming. I received a rejection (which agents and editors sometimes call a pass) yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad they actually reply with one or two sentences of feedback, but it’s hard to accept the finality of it.

Yesterday I “was passed over” by Kit Ward of Christina Ward Literary Agency. Kit was one of ten agents and editors I submitted my book proposal to of those I met this summer at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association meeting. She was the last of the bunch to reply. One success of round two over round one is that everyone in round two actually replied. Not so in round one.

I had the pleasure of actually getting to know Kit a little at the meeting. That hardly ever happens, so I was really hoping she’d identify with my work and be excited about having me.

Turns out though, that from that meeting, Kit discovered my wonderful writing friend, Kim Kircher, and Kit has been helping Kim through her book deal for The Next Fifteen Minutes. Kim’s book chronicles how her job as a ski patroller and avalanche expert helped her through her husband’s battle with liver cancer. I’m so excited to read it when it comes out next year. I’ll be following Kim’s journey vicariously and hope you will too through her blog (on my blog roll to the right).

I was first drawn to Kit when I discovered that she also represents author, Karen Fisher, who wrote the novel, A Sudden Country, which my book club read and loved last year. Karen also happens to live in the Pacific Northwest.

So it is sad for me to see this potential opportunity go by. I try not to get my hopes up, but it’s hard not to when you meet people you could actually picture yourself working with.

I’m so very happy for both Kim and Kit, and their publisher, Lynn Price of Behler Publications.

When I look back over the feedback I’ve received from agents and editors during round two, it seems clearer that the voice or content of my sample chapters are where I should focus my future efforts. I feel great to have written 90% of my manuscript now, which is 60% more than I had in October. I’m going to spend however long it takes to polish it before heading into round three. I don’t know how many rounds I have in me, but those who know me would probably say I have excellent stamina. My persistence is what makes my hubby love and hate me at the same time!

But I’m going to make sure to take the advice I’ve heard in many places and try not to rush it. I’ve read and personally know authors who have submitted to and been rejected by more than fifty agents before landing their book deal. I’m only at around eighteen.

I am currently working with a critique group and plan to enter my first writing contest in the new year. When I feel like my manuscript and proposal are significantly improved, head back into the ring for another beating. I’ll be sure to put in my mouth guard and cup.

Here’s the actual gracious e-mail I got from Kit for your voyeuristic reading pleasure:

Dear Lorraine,

A thousand pardons for this tardy response to your proposal for EGG MAMA, which I asked to see at the PNWA conference.  Your story is an extraordinary and touching one, there’s no doubt about that.  But the reading experience here hasn’t compelled me as the idea did originally, I’m afraid.  Given my reservations, I’m going to pass, with regret.  But I hope another reader will see the opportunity here.  (Perhaps you’ve gone ahead without me in any case.)

 It was lovely to meet you at the conference.  I hope our paths will cross again sometime.

 Best,

Kit

Christina Ward

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Positive Feedback

I’m still kicking ass with NaNoWriMo. I’m currently at 29,169 words, approximately one full week ahead of schedule. I’m really liking the approach, which is to write with little or no editing. Of course that means that the draft I have is quite rough, as Ann Lamott’s Bird By Bird refers to it, my shitty first draft, but I don’t think its all that shitty. So I’m optimistic that I can use December and January to whip these chapters into shape.

I have a couple of writing friends who graciously will be looking over my chapters during that time and they can only improve.

I woke up to a new rejection this morning of my book proposal, this time from St. Martin’s Press’ (one of the big girls) editor, Michele Richter. Calling this a rejection seems like a misnomer though. I think I’ll start calling it a “pass” when it sounds like this one. It’s always hard to know whether they’re just being kind, but I’d like to think there is sincerity here. I met Michelle at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference and she seemed like a true New Yorker, not one who beats around the bush to spare people’s feelings, so this pass is very encouraging to me.

I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully will send out my proposal to another round of agents and editors in February or so. I think I’m waiting to hear back from only one more agent from the round I sent out in August.

Here’s her e-mail message in all its glory:

Dear Lorraine,

I enjoyed meeting you very much, and I thank you for sending me EGG MAMA. You do have a fascinating story to tell, and there’s certainly an inspirational aspect, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass on the chance to make you an offer. Memoir is a very crowded market, and we’re having to be more and more selective with the projects that we take on. I do think that your writing is engaging, and that someone else will snap you up and give you a happy home. I wish you all the best of luck.

best, Michelle Richter