When I was younger, there was this Tootsie Pop commercial where a boy asks the “wise owl” how many licks to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. The owl takes the boys Lollipop, saying “let’s see.” Then, one – two – three, he bites into it and its gone.
I saw the commercial recently. Retro commercials are trending right now. At the time, I thought about all the query letters I had sent out and all the rejections I had gotten back.
I had sent countless letters. Every one of them requires something different. Some want the first fifty pages of the manuscript. Some want the first three chapters. Others want a summary, while many ask for a full synopsis. So, you have to take the time to look that information up and customize each query for the agent or editor you’re reaching out to.
Then you wait.
“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.” -Victor Hugo
A very small percent will respond within a week. Most will leave you waiting for a couple months or more, while a surprisingly notable percentage will not respond at all. How rude!
Waiting is grueling. I don’t necessarily mind waiting, especially when I consider the volume of queries these people get on a weekly basis. Most of the rejection letters come as form letters; “Thank you for your submission… blah, blah, blah… but this isn’t right for me.” I did get one that at least seemed a little more personal, but that was the exception for sure.
In June of this year, I attended a writing conference and had the opportunity to “speed pitch” a few agents and publishers. Enter FAWKES PRESS. This wonderful little eclectic publishing house out of Fort Worth, Texas was simply – special. I knew it the minute I met the president and the acquiring editor. I pitched Hannah Goodheart and the Guardian of Time and was invited to submit chapters. Chapters became a full manuscript. Now understand, I had no indication that this was going to produce a different result than I had become accustomed to; a long wait, followed by a hard no. Nevertheless, I set my hopes on this particular publisher, stopped sending out query letters altogether, and waited.
I received an email from them around August to say that they had been overwhelmed with submissions and that it would be mid-October before they were going to be able to follow up. October rolled around, and the anticipation was nearly unbearable.
On the morning of October 15th. I woke early and checked my email. There it was. I took a deep breath before opening it. “I am excited to get back to you about Hannah Goodheart and the Guardian of Time. (We) really enjoyed it, and we’d like to take on this project!”
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Then came the word that nearly ended my victory dance. “BUT…”
“Oh, no! There can’t be a ‘but,’” I thought. This wasn’t happening. I continued reading. They were asking for a specific rewrite and resubmit. It was a daunting thing they were asking of me. However, after providing the sample chapter they asked for – written from a first person POV rather than a third person narrative, they didn’t need to ask me to rewrite the whole manuscript. Changing the narrative from a third person to a first person POV not only stretched me as a writer in such a great way, but it also took the story to a whole new depth. The characters, especially the protagonist, are much more three dimensional and the emotional connection to them is so rich as a result. Fawkes saw the potential in the story and weren’t afraid to draw it out of me.
Hannah Goodheart and the Guardian of Time is now set to be released on October 1, 2019 by Fawkes Press. It will be available everywhere books are sold. We did a Facebook Live announcement (see the photo) from Dealey Plaza in front of the historic Texas Schoolbook Depository, downtown Dallas, Texas (read the book when it comes out to find out why I made the announcement from there), and I’m over the moon even now to share this news. You can check it the video by going to our Facebook Page
In fact, let me invite you to like and share the page. We’re hoping to do a live cover reveal in the spring and we’ll be having some fun contests where our followers can win some cool prizes.
I’m also working on the second novel in what I hope will be a series.
I know this blog post is long, but I just want to say that this is a life-long dream come true and a labor of love that I can’t wait to share with all of you.
In my pursuit to find out how many rejection letters it takes to get the publishing offer at the center of my candy-coated dreams, I’ve come to learn, it really doesn’t matter. The sweet taste of this moment has removed any bitterness from that pile of rejections and the journey has been so worth it. And, I’m optimistic that we’re just getting started.