Agent#1 had requested my full manuscript two months ago. In one of her interviews she stated that it took her two to three months to review a full manuscript. So I decided I would wait one more month before emailing her to check up on the status of my book. Because, otherwise, I’d be stuck waiting unproductively, blindly, as I had given her the exclusive she’d requested (meaning, I wouldn’t be able to query to other agents while my work was up for review—this allows agents not to be under the pressure of having the material stolen from them while she read).
However, though I tried to play the Waiting Game with an optimistic spirit, my patience began to wear thin. And this Sunday was the worst. I had a dream that an email from the agent had arrived, offering representation. The dream was so vivid that I thought it had really happened. So when I woke up I checked my email account, assured that the email from her was there—only to find that my mind had played a mean, mean prank on me. My heart sunk to the pit of my stomach.
I went to church that day, pinning a fake smile onto my lips, and so naturally no one noticed how miserable I was feeling. The only evidence of the stress I was under was the cold sore on my lips. Being patient is just so hard, especially when your entire ambition, your dream, is hanging onto that one email or phone call from the agent, informing you whether or not she loved your work enough to contract it. I, of course, knew that if she rejected me, there would be others; but during the time in which a writer must wait, hope naturally builds. And I was growing afraid of how I’d deal with rejection. Because, two months… really …. If she loved my work I knew she’d have contacted me within a few weeks. At least, that was the case for my other agented writer friends.
Anyway, I was miserable. But then Cristina gave me a present—The Little Prince. It’s the book she has been telling me to read for some time now. Inside the cover, she had written: Dear June, May you be completely touched by the magic of this story. This act of complete random kindness moved me so much. It was just what I needed to chase away the gloom that had been looming over me for the past few weeks. It was a present that told me that I was remembered and not forgotten. That I existed.
I began reading the book today. And, indeed, the book was magical. Never in my life would I have imagined myself tearing up over the love story between a boy and a flower. But I did. And while reading the book, I felt like a child again, I felt that appreciation for the simplest things in life. You can’t imagine how surprised I was with myself when my heart twisted into a knot by the end of the story. It was oh-so-sad! I wish I could tap into my feelings and try to put into words WHY I was feeling what I was. But I can’t seem to. Maybe you guys, who have a better understanding of the book, will explain to me why the story is so magical. I guess, maybe, it’s the significance the book places on a individual life.
ANYWAY. While I was nearing the end of the book, I received an email on my blackberry. It was….from AGENT#1!!! It was a short message saying that my book was next in their stack for reading and whether the book was still available. I had to calm myself for a few seconds before replying YESS YESS IT IS!!!!—but, of course, in a more professional manner. I asked her how long it would take before I received the final consensus, and she replied that it wouldn’t be much longer!
How weird is it that this email arrived right after the day I had been feeling SO hopeless? …I don’t believe in coincidences. Of all the days—it was today that the email came, the day when I felt so lost on my road to publication, not knowing whether I should just start querying again, assuming I’d been rejected, or whether I should just continue to wait without knowing WHAT I was waiting for.
But, more than that, I realized how pointless worrying was. I had put myself through psychological torment, doubting myself, hoping, then telling myself I shouldn’t hope—when actually all of those emotions would have served no purpose at all. My manuscript was in the stack, yet unread, during the two months in which I had been worrying.
The Waiting Game requires fortitude, I realize. And lots of confidence—a confidence that even if you are rejected, it won’t matter, as it only means that you need to query some more to filter out the uninterested agents until you find The Literary Agent. Hope and the love for your manuscript—these two factors are the key to survival.
And before I end this entry, I’d like to give a shout out to Sarah J. Maas, a fellow Let The Words Flow contributor, whose book THE QUEEN OF GLASS has been sold to the major publishing house BLOOMSBURY!!!! And also, congratulations to fellow Historical Romance writer Rika Ashton for finally having taken the next step to publication—querying to agents! The best of luck to the two lovely ladies.