Thursday, May 27, 2010

So I queried a few agents that are notorious rejectors today, just for a response.

So far no response.

I'm like an ignored child, acting out just for attention. Any attention.

It's so difficult-- all the silence.

Is there anybody out there? Hello?

I know that the querying process is a long and drawn out one and that patience is a virtue... blah, blah, blah.

But I've never really been very virtuous.

The most challenging part is the not knowing. Every agent seems to have their own method of operation: form letters, quick responses, slow responses... complete and utter silence.

No news is good news, right? Probably not.

But who knows?

It's hard to really immerse myself into my next project when I feel like I have unfinished business still.

I want an agent!

I want an awesome agent! I want someone smart and witty and full of energy and enthusiasm! I want someone who loves my little novel and wants to put it into the hands of middle school kids everywhere!

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Sunday, May 16, 2010


There is definitely a lot of waiting involved with the search for an agent.

Nothing happens quickly.

Response time from queried agents varies dramatically.

Querytracker has become a very useful tool in the entire process. It gives me valuable insight on other writer's experiences with agents.

The "Comments" section has been sooooo helpful. It is really awesome to be able to see an agent's stats with a click of a button. To see an agent's response to other queries and to recognize the similarities and the differences to their responses compared to mine.

It's nice to learn that one agent takes months to respond to a query or that another still hasn't responded to a partial that she has had longer than mine.

On occasion I have emailed various querytracker members and each time I have only had very honest and helpful responses.

There is a camaraderie among the querytracker users, all these people I've never met and know so little about--because let's face it we're all in the same boat. We're all paddling with purpose and determination, hoping for a glimpse of the shore.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rejection Sucks

I received my first rejection on a partial yesterday.

To say I was bummed is an understatement, devastated is more like it.

I know that these are just steps- steps on a very long, steep, daunting staircase that leads towards publication.

But somedays I can see a little glint of light from way, way up there-- giving me hope and the endurance to continue to plod with heavy feet upward.

But yesterday (and today) it feels rather like that cold dark stairwell just leads upwards forever... into complete darkness.

These are the grey days of self-doubt. Who the hell do I think I am attempting to do this? What do I think I have that is worth sharing?

Not pretty, huh?

After I quit sobbing, I sat down at my desk, researched and then queried five new agents.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie's mother has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, her way or no way. All-or-nothing never adds up to normal, and it can't bring Addie all to home, where she wants to be with her half sisters. But Addie never stops hoping that one day, maybe, she'll find normal.

This is my current favorite.

A completely engaging page turner.

Addie lives a life of unknowns.

Will her mother come home tonight are will Addie have to spend yet another night all alone in their trailer?

Will she run out of food before she returns?

Will Grandido find out that Mommers has been leaving Addie all alone again?

Will Addie ever find normal?

The relationship between Addie and her neglectful mother is painful to witness, but I think most students will be drawn to her struggle and her perseverance. Many students will see a reflection of their own lives in Addie's story. Unfortunately I worry that the length of the novel may dissuade those students that really need to, from reading it. But the super short chapters may help.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Firegirl by Tony Abbott

"I don't know how long Jessica will be with us, but I want you to be prepared. Her burns are... she does not look like... anyone you have ever seen before... Mrs. Tracy's voice caught and faded away for a second. Some of the kids seemed to get stiff in their seats. Others began shuffling things around on their desks. I felt nervous, as if I had been caught doing something wrong."

From this moment on, life is never quite the same for Tom and his seventh-grade classmates. They learn that Jessica has been in a fire and was badly burned, and will be attending St. Catherine's while getting medical treatments. Despite her horrifying appearance and the fear she evokes in him and most of the class, Tom slowly develops a tentative friendship with Jessica that changes his life.

I was surprised by this book. I didn't expect to be disappointed, but I was. The characters are flat and one dimensional-- I'm pretty certain students will have trouble keeping interest in these characters, which is really unfortunate because the story could have been a great one. The story, the format (short chapters, short length) are all there, but the characters fall short. Totally surprised this won the SCBWI award.

The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye

"All a person needs in life is one true friend.”

So says Grandpa Thomas, the only member of Amelia’s family who cares about her one bit. That true friend finally arrives when Fancy Nelson, the first Negro kid Amelia has ever seen in person, walks into her fourth grade classroom. As Fancy’s special sort of magic rubs off on Amelia, she slowly comes to understand her trainwreck family and her place in it—and Fancy discovers a surprising secret about her own past.

Shimko's engaging novel, set in the 1960s in a small town in northeastern New York, is narrated by 13-year-old Amelia Earhart Rye. Named by her beloved Grandpa Thomas after the famous pilot, friendless Amelia has an incredibly mean mother; Amelia was a surprise baby, and her mother jumped out a window when she discovered she was pregnant (“...she was pure furious that I kept on kicking. And she blamed me for the scars on her face, too”). When Fancy Nelson, the first black child Amelia has ever seen, moves to town and befriends her, Amelia is inspired by Fancy's courage and confidence, and begins to enjoy an enlarged and enriched life. The book is peopled with believable, multilayered characters, except for Amelia's mother, who is so broadly drawn as to approach caricature. But as Amelia matures and changes her own behavior, her mother grows more sympathetic. Shimko's story is original, and Amelia's distinctive voice and likable nature will have readers rooting for her in times of trouble and cheering her ultimate good fortune. The happy ending is immensely satisfying. Ages 10–14. (Apr.) Publishers Weekly