Friday, 17 April 2009

A Different Kind of Drum Roll

Oh dear me, I am just like a yo-yo. Up, down, up, down, down, down, wheeeeeeee... I may also have lost the plot (or so a few agents may well wonder).

So I'm querying 'The Poisoned Apple' and, eventhough I'm not even one week into it, I've already decided it's not going to sell, or rather it's not going to nab me an amazing-wonderful agent or even a poop one (not that I'd query a poop one of course - well not yet). Picture a brunette sitting on a step, her heart shaped face turned up to the sky and listen to the sigh escaping her beestung lips. (That's not me by the way).

The query search started off well. I queried one person on Easter Sunday because she/he had a super famous YA author on their books (okay, my book is MG, but she/he also represents those) and within 7 minutes she/he asked for the full. Seriously, I skipped around the house for an hour. Then, when my legs gave out I did some extra research on said agent. Scratched my head and thought uh-oh, she/he represents an awful lot of romance books. I'd reformulated my query so it wasn't so busy and I panicked I'd removed too much - nope, left the Dead Feet in there. Said agent realised her/his mistake pretty quickly and shooed away the zombie author the following day. I'm not actually a zombie, but I do feel like one at times. Like now.

Next day I sent off seven new queries (1 already rejected and 5 I'm a-waiting on). Anyhow, again I get a request. This time for a partial. This time from an amazing-wonderful agent (original agent was a-w too, but a-w in a different way). Thank the lord, fame here I come, sign me up for a huge grin for a month... Err, no.

Amazing-wonderful agent had some amazing and wonderful things to say - she really liked Lily (who wouldn't - ahem!), she thought she was hilarious and that all the characters were interesting (I think she meant that in a non italic way), she said I had talent and ideas and a great sense of humour, but... but... but... Okay, we need a new image here or maybe a sound:

Imagine a drum kit (cymbals included) crashing down stone steps in a marble-pillared public building. That's how I felt. You've been there, right?

So to the but - she found the story confusing, she thought that so much was foreshadowed that she never got to relax into the plot, and she suggested (in the nicest possible way) that the storytelling should be sensible. Eeeekkkkk!

Of course, as she is an amazing-wonderful agent, she ended with an invite to submit my next book to her. So do I put my head down and get on with my next book, well kind of... but mainly I twitter.

So the moral of the story is, 'The Poisoned Apple' will not net me an agent and even if I do get any more requests for fulls I fully expect to be shooed away within the week. Sometimes I confuse people, I get that. I often confuse people in the regular world and they know me. The non world realisation of the brilliance of TPA is okay though, for I am working on a 'most marvellous book' with a sensible plot (in my brain at least - oh dear) and I am plotting my next 'even more marvellous book' that, while not necessarily sensible, is certainly freaky. Oh, and I'm a YA writer now... Because I fear if I stick to MGs, I'll spend the next decade confusing people.

17 comments:

Carrie Harris said...

Don't give up just yet! All it takes is one YES!

Catherine J Gardner said...

I'm not giving up, I'm just being realistic. Less heartbreak that way. :)

Christine Rose said...

Please share your query with us at http://queryvote.wordpress.com, so others can learn the types of queries that get requests like yours!

Barry Napier said...

Hey, at least you got a very personal response. I have yet to get one of those for a novel...

Catherine J Gardner said...

Eek, Christine - show my poor desperate attempt at a letter to the world. ;)

Barry, one is on it's way very soon I'm sure. And hey, aren't you working on a book with a publisher. I got that impression from your blog and I put two and two together (as to who pub. is) by reading twitter. ;)

cmshevlin said...

Hi Catherine, I think being realistic is good. And realistically, you've had two requests for partials in a short period of time with some personal advice from an "amazing-wonderful" agent. I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit.

Your choice is to rework based on some of the advice the second agent gave you or move on to the second book. From the sound of it, I don't think you should give up on "The Poisoned Apple" just yet.

Good luck.

Jamie Eyberg said...

I am with Carrie, and what I said earlier today. This is going to be an amazing year for this circle of Bloggers. :)

Natalie L. Sin said...

Sensible is overrated : P

The right agent will jump on taking your book like Superman on an active grenade.

Patrick Rutigliano said...

Blah, a nasty week of rejection for both of us it seems. Keep on fightin' the good fight with me Cate!

Aaron Polson said...

Right on Natalie! Sensible is overrated.

Keep going. Yes will happen.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Thanks, CM.

Jamie, can you send over a syringe of your optimism. :) Though saying that I forsee fantastic things happening for quite a few people and I am happy to sit here and offer my YAY's!

Natalie - right on. ;)

Will do, Patrick.

Cheers, Aaron.

Angela said...

Don't give up on it. It's one opinion. What do your crit partners say?

Toni De Palma said...

Did any of the agents give advice that resonated with you? Do you feel up to revising?

Catherine J Gardner said...

Angela, I would so not inflict the rewrite on the wonderful people who offered to read my book last time. :)

Toni, TPA has just emerged from a major rewrite and though I am quite happy to do further revisions, I am at the moment putting it aside to concentrate on my next book. Plus, I don't think I will every be able to make the story sensible - it refuses to be. :)

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Maybe I'm being overly cynical after reading all of this #queryfail #agentfail nonsense out there, but in that short a time geting a partial AND some great, direct feedback? That is full of win, without a doubt. Maybe consider the current state a draft-in-progress, re-tool it, and PA does, in fact, become the one that puts CJ Gardner on the literary map!

Catherine J Gardner said...

You've been walking around my dreams again haven't you. :)

Danette Haworth said...

Catherine,
Agent 2 likes your writing well enough to see more of it. Not everyone gets an invitation like that. When you query her again, you'll be able to say You reviewed my earlier work, TPA, and invited me to submit my next novel to you.Tuck this one in your files for future use!