Sunday, June 21, 2009

Have I mentioned I have a Dartboard of Envy?

Last week I was caroming around the office like a pinball howling about the urgent need for Query Police. No one seemed to be paying attention to all the great info on the web about how to write a damn query letter because I was getting stuff that was giving slush a bad name.

The interns averted their bright little eyes, with occasional glances to each other as if to ask "how long does this last?" The godsends found urgent business under their desks. Even the Herpet-American assistant was rolling her eyes and looking longingly at a mailing tube addressed to Elsewhere, Oklahoma.

My eye fell upon Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, my FORMER intern, FORMER godsend, and now kick ass, taking names (very politely and with very neat handwriting of course) agent.

I snarled "what are you looking at, Auction Babe?" (let's all recall Joanna's first major deal as an agent involved an auction, a little fact that has earned her a permanent position on the Dartboard of Envy)

"umm, nothing, nothing at all."

Oh no Mrs. Volpe, I KNOW that look. What amazing feat have you pulled off now?

"umm, well there's a writer I found in the incoming queries."

And then, Joanna told me about THE DUFF:

DUFF - (acronym) Designated Ugly Fat Friend; duff (n.) - the least attractive girl in any group of friends

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is pegged as the Duff by notorious womanizer and school hottie, Wesley Rush. When he approaches her at a party she knows he wants to score with one—or both—of her hot friends.

Bianca couldn't hate another human being more...but she needs to escape from some personal drama, like her mom’s abandonment and her dad’s denial, and a steamy fling with Wesley seems like the perfect distraction.

Bianca makes it clear she’s only using Wesley and that it HAS to be a secret--as if he cares. Wesley will sleep with any girl, and keeping it a secret only holds up his reputation. Unfortunately, the enemies-with-benefits plan totally backfires.

When Bianca's mom files for divorce and her father stumbles into a downward spiral of drinking and depression, Wesley proves to be a surprisingly good listener, and Bianca finds out that his life is pretty screwed up, too. As sickening as it sounds, she has to admit that she and Wesley are a lot alike.

Soon she becomes jealous of the pretty girls he flirts with and his cocky grin begins to grow on her. Suddenly Bianca realizes—with absolute horror—that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated.

I was ready to heave myself out the window for missing that query when Joanna iced the cake: she called author Kody Keplinger to discuss representation, only to discover Kody wasn't old enough to sign a contract without her mom co-signing.

I was forced to lie down with a cold compress and a hot toddy. (The godsends came out from under their desks; the interns appeared relieved the storm had passed although they did ask later if that rather dreadful shade of pea green envy on my face lasted very long)

I AM going to make sure there are query police and they are going to enforce the rule of querying me first. (ok, ok, Joanna is a really good agent and envy is one of those mortal sins, but still, I love this book and I'm sick with envy that J snagged it so quickly and neatly!)

I think Kody Keplinger is going to have a wonderful career. Just remember at least you heard about her HERE first!

If you want to meet her before she gets all famous and stuff, she contributes to the blog Teens Writing for Teens.


Mira said...

Um, well, hearing about this, I'm feeling jealous too. But maybe for a slightly different reason. :-)

I do hope Kody - and Joanna - have sparkling careers. This is really wonderful for them.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

Kody is an amazing talent -- I can't wait to see The Duff in print :)

Unknown said...

Wow! Thank you so much! A friend of mine on AbsoluteWrite sent me the link with a "YOU HAVE TO READ THIS" type message. I'm very flattered, and I hope those query police start working for you! Haha!

Hannah said...

The premise of The Duff is such a cool idea! Congrats to Kody and Joanne :)

Caroline said...

Kodi's book sounds like it will be great. I am familiar with her through the Absolute Write website. The interesting thing is, Kodi says she didn't have an initial strong response query (though she also had some problems with her email account).

So, she proves the value of persistence. I bet those agents who didn't respond quickly are kicking themselves now.

Good luck, Kodi!


Melanie Hooyenga said...

This is so cool! I read a little about The Duff on a writing forum just last week and to see her on your blog now... Congratulations Kody!!!

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Congratulations, Joanna. It's great to watch your progress! An exciting time for you - good on ya.

Haste yee back ;-)

MeganRebekah said...

Wow The Duff has found its way to your blog - that's awesome. Kody is a sweet girl with a great career ahead of her!

Corey Schwartz said...

Ah, but I bet Joanna's blog isn't as funny as yours!

Annie McElfresh said...

Kody is a great girl, she is defiantly going places. I'm anxious to buy it! :)

Janet said...

Janet, you'll just have to post on the query hell forum at Absolute Write (all kinds of sharks circling in the water over there) that all queries, once duly polished, should be addressed to you first. I remember this one going through the grinder a time or two.

Congratulations, Kody!

Snarky Writer said...

ARGH! I'm insanely jealous because I wish I'D thought of that idea! Seems to be my week for it - I watched Pitch Black last night and grumbled the whole time because someone else thought of it first. said...

Way to go, Kody! That query rocked, gf. Congrats.

As for Joanna, so that's whose pretty handwriting I've wondered about. It's almost a work of art in itself. Best wishes for a career with clients as devoted as Janet's!

S.H. said...

Congrats, Kody! I can't wait to see THE DUFF in print. You're awesome!

Cardinal said...

Wow, that is *such* great news about Kody! Congrats, Kody -- may you have many years of published successes!

Congrats to Joanna, too, for finding that amazing query and acting on it ASAP.

It's okay to indulge in a little envy, Janet. I'm indulging in a bit of it myself right now. ;)

Leah said...

Kody is an incredible writer. She definitely deserves this. Congrats, hun :)

Vacuum Queen said...

Oh MY GOSH! I WAS the DUFF and I do believe I had that same life when I was in college. And that guy still pops into my life "needing" me for some issue or another and yet returns to his far more fantastic life with his much DUFF-less girlfriend turned wife.

And I could've written a story about it? Because looking back, I think my life in college was pretty good fiction.


Dawn said...

That query was immediately engrossing. It's going to be a great book and I can't wait to read it.

Emilia Plater said...

GO KODY! You're amazing and WE LOVE YOU!
Young writers are on the rise, people - coming to a bookstore near you. =)

Unknown said...

Oh, wow--I was a DUFF! Didn't know there was a word for it! I don't usually read YA, but I want to read this when it comes out. Congrats to Ms Keplinger!

Anonymous said...

*resists the urge to scream "I know her!!"* Ahem.

Congratulations again, Kody!!! You rock my socks!

Katie Ashley said...

After having the esteemed priviledge of Beta reading The Duff, I feel like a proud mom for Kody!!!! I wish her all the best, and I can't wait until I hold the real deal copy in my hands and scream at the top of my lungs, "I knew her when!" LOL

Race said...

*resists the urge to scream "TWIN" and does it anyway*

Congrats, deary!

a ghost said...

I had the good fortune to meet Mrs. Stampfel-Volpe last summer and she couldn't be nicer. Any writer would be lucky to have her as an agent.