Monday, January 7, 2013

The Call: Before

The amazing Tonya Kuper came up with the idea for a Seymour Agency Blog hop, about The Call.

This is a Blog Hop, so be sure to hit up Tonya's blog, and then check out the rest of my agency sisters' blogs for their stories!

For those of you who aren't as obsessed saturated with writerly vocabulary, The Call is that moment when an Agent, or Editor, phones you to discuss your manuscript. This call is sometimes a formality before the Agent offers representation. Usually, it's for you to get a feel for each other, and to weed out the crazies.



It's an amazing moment, either way, and I hope you get YOUR Call soon!

But my call story will be in a couple days. This post is about before the call.

I'm a librarian for the town I live in. Best. Job. Ever. I'd written a few manuscripts before MOONDREAMER, the one I was querying (and got me Marisa, My agent). Manuscript 1 was adult urban fantasy, and like the first pancake; okay, but better that no one consumes that one.

Manuscript 2 was adult commercial fiction, though technically New Adult. I queried that one for a LONG time, with no bites. I knew the query was solid, as I'd beaten The Query Shark herself with that one. Then a few agents told me that while they liked the idea, in their experience, adult fiction about musicians just doesn't sell well.

I'd known that there wasn't a lot on the shelves about it, but written it anyways. I had to shelve that manuscript and move on to my next project.

My next project was a New Adult contemporary about a librarian with synaesthesia - a condition I have. During this time I met my first ever Critique Partner, The AMAZING Jessa Russo

Then came a life changing moment.I showed her the 10k I'd written of MOONDREAMER, curious as to what she thought. It was based on a dream I'd had, and thought - hey that might be a cool book idea. But I wasn't sure. See, I hadn't really read any YA. Jessa pretty much ONLY reads YA. She read it.

And told me I HAD to write THIS story, because it was different than anything she'd read.

So I did. I drafted the rest in a whirlwind 3 week period. Then revised. Then queried. Then wrote a new beginning - two new chapters that made the Manuscript SO MUCH better. I got an R&R from a Big Agent, and his revisions made MOONDREAMER SO much better.

And I read a metric SHIT-TON of YA books in the meantime. I firmly believe you should read the category you write in, if only to see what else is out there. Every book you read should make you a better writer - even if you're only learning what DOESN'T work.

And then came Pitchmas.

I don't know if fate exists. But if one thing had gone differently, I wouldn't have my agent - Marisa Cleveland - one of the Pitchmas judges.

Pitchmas was Jessa's idea. If she hadn't said, 'I want to do a pitch contest, and I want to do it with you,' I wouldn't have connected with Marisa.

I SO wanted to enter Pitchmas but entering your own contest is TACKY AS HELL! But I was SO tempted, that I asked my friend/ CP Tristina Wright to write me a new pitch - just to see what she'd do with my MS. It's ALWAYS interesting to see what another person thinks are the key moments of the MS. If she hadn't come up with such an AMAZING pitch, I wouldn't have caught Marisa's attention.

Her pitch was so amazing, I lamented to CP Laura AKA Mittens Morgul that I couldn't use it. And SHE said, 'Well. Entering might be tacky, but you could use your pitch as the example for everyone to see how to format their pitches.' O.O

It was just so crazy it might work!

So, I deleted the one I'd made - a Princess Bride example. And I slipped mine in there, still feeling a bit douchy, but knowing I wasn't taking anybody's place.

But if Laura hadn't been so diabolically clever, my pitch wouldn't have been there at all.

So. Three things that if hadn't aligned perfectly, may very well have been the different between successfully finding my agent, and still being stuck in the query trenches.


Seriously. Throwing a contest is just as nerve wracking as entering one. We were so afraid of ALL THE THINGS that could potentially go wrong. No one would want to be a judge, we'd get judges but no one would enter, people would enter, but no one would get requests.

We were wrong. With over 108 requests from the blog alone, I'd say it was a resounding success.

WEDNESDAY: Jessa and I were trying to live tweet when agents were on the blog. And caught up in FEELINGS, I tweeted, 'I just really want everyone to get at least 1 request.'

Marisa Cleveland responded to my tweet, asking if I'd gotten any requests, because she thought my pitch sounded awesome.

I said no, as I hadn't technically entered the contest.

She told me to send her the FULL that Wednesday night.

Thursday I was back at work, and unable to be there for much of the Twitter Pitch day.  I was wrecked, having stayed up late Tuesday night, then gotten up early Wednesday morning for the contest. And the stress of the friggin entry window which we will NOT EVER be doing that way again. *sidles up to random draw, lust in her eyes*

So when I got home, and saw this tweet from Marisa: 'Excuse me @FeakySnucker. You know how my wish list states voice is key for me? Well, have you got it and I want it! Let's make this happen.' NATURALLY I thought I was hallucinating.

I wasn't sure what she meant - it had been LESS THAN 24 HOURS since she'd requested my full.

I replied asking if I was hallucinating this tweet as it had been a wild few days. She told me she always means what she says, and to check my email.

So I did.

And what I found, was this: 'I am interested, and I am meeting with my senior mentor agent tomorrow.
If all goes as planned (my plan, of course!), I have your phone number (from your manuscript), and I intend to use it. *fair warning*'

And more things that made my little heart pound.

I just couldn't believe it! She'd basically offered me OVER TWITTER! WHERE PEOPLE COULD SEE! She wasn't playing it cool at all, and it was heady stuff. I swooned, and freaked out in emails to friends who were squeeing with me, asking if I'd seen her tweets! I even asked Marisa if she'd read the whole thing yet haha. I'm such a LOSER! :D

Then a little later on twitter,  Marisa Tweeted this: 'the moment I realize I can't stop reading a manuscript and I rush to my bookshelves and find exactly where it would fit... that moment.'

And a tiny part of me was like, 'OMG! Is that about MEEEEEEEEEEEE?! No! Wow Little Miss Ego, rein that shit in. Not every tweet is about YOU!'

And then Marisa Tweeted again: 'That last "moment" tweet was for @feakysnucker... and yes, read it in 3 hours, loved it halfway through Pg.1. #Pitchmas'

At which point my CP's and I pretty much LOST OUR TINY LITTLE MINDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So FRIDAY came. I waited for The Call - but it never came. Marisa sent me an email, saying her meeting had been rescheduled, so she'd call me on Monday instead. BUT I emailed the other agents who still had my Full, and agreed to give them time.


I was a bit disappointed, but it had all happened so fast, it was all right, though I wasn't sure how I'd make it through the weekend with my sanity intact. What if she changed her mind?! What if I'd imagined the whole thing?! What if - well. We won't get into the neurotic flailings. Suffice it to say, I had to be peeled off the ceiling a few times.


I see Marisa Tweeted this: This manuscript is submission ready! I want to make an offer right now. Must I really wait until Monday? #Pitchmas request. @JessaRusso

Again, a tiny part of me was like - is that about ME?!

I promptly gave that little voice the smack down. NOT EVERY TWEET IS ABOUT YOU, TAM! WALK IT OFF! Holy EGO!

I was bleary eyed, and tired, and impatiently waiting for coffee. I Tweeted this, feeling it was COMPLETELY TRUE: I suspect the coffee pot is sentient, and basks in my attention, so it's brewing the coffee as slowly as it can to savour our time together.

And Marisa responded right away with this: '@feakysnucker oh good you're up is the coffee done brewing???' 

And I'd gone to get a cup of coffee, and read it when I came back. 

And while I wasn't sure she was going to phone me, I RAN upstairs and grabbed the cordless phone just in case. 

Then I RAN back downstairs, and gulped as much coffee as I could JUST IN CASE. Needed the synapses to be firing. 

And then I opened the Word document I'd made, of questions to ask Marisa when we had The Call... JUST IN CASE.

And then the phone rang...



    I feel like a ninny, because the only response I can formulate sounds something like EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! (exclamation points reined in for the sake of brevity)

  2. I love how you snuck your pitch into your own contest. Feaky Snucker is right! Love this story, Tamara, and welcome to Seymour.

  3. I'm crying all over again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I freaking love you, and I love MOONDREAMER, and I love Marisa!

    HOW you don't believe in FATE or God after all of this, I have NO IDEA. Had ONE tiny thing been different, this story could have had a different ending. It is just that simple.


  5. Ha! You know I'm still SQUEEING all about it!

  6. Love this play by play, tweet by tweet story of "the call"! Fun stuff. "And then the phone rang..." oooh I'm hooked. Can't wait to read more on Wednesday.

  7. I absolutely love this story!! Marisa totally rocks the tweets. She makes everything fun. So glad to have you at The Seymour Agency & now be one of your agency siblings! :D

  8. I totally remember seeing those tweets and thinking "seriously?? Is that happening to her?? Awesome!" LOL So happy for you. What a great story. I'll tell you one thing, it totally made me want to read your book!

  9. Awesome story!! Congratulations and welcome to the Seymour Agency family! :D

  10. Heh. The blog hop was actually Marisa's brilliant idea, I just executed. But you called me "amazing" above, so I'm going with it. :D

  11. Your call story is AWESOME. Absolutely love how you thought outside the box at every stop of the way!

  12. This is such a fabulous story! I can't wait to read MOONDREAMER one day!

  13. What an amazing story! Congrats to you and Risa!

  14. The awesome cliffhanger ending! (good thing I'm reading this late so that I can get the rest of the story tomorrow!) Love this story, just love it! Leave it to a fellow Canuk to get the job done! ;)

  15. Um... so... yeah. Quoted!?! Really?!? Hehehee... I was subtly trying to woo you. Soooo super thrilled it worked. :D You're my amazing dream client. Now, stop reading this and get back to work. *grins and cracks whip*

  16. let it be me next, let it be me next, let it be me next, let it be me next, let it be me....