Monday, November 14, 2022



Bit of backstory: I submitted a local (Canadian) call for submission for BIPOC writers 50 and up. The novel that will be selected will be published by a reputable publisher (checked out - legit). The publisher is inclined towards edgy BIPOC material.


(Redacted) the person who made the call, is trans and some sort of local superstar. This is her third call for her imprint and I've seen how she promoted the first two winners, like, TV, social media, radio, etc. I thought I would love to have that support toward a Canadian presence so I revised one of my novels and sent it in. Thing is, the call was for a 50K word novel. The novel I submitted (TWW)  was something I wrote as a palate cleanser while I was revising my 88K "novel of my heart". TWW is more accessible, straightforward in terms of plot and firmly a book club fare. 


Anyway, two weeks ago I received an email from (Redacted) and she said that due to "many unforeseen factors" they won't be publishing any of the submissions this time. She then said that, however, my book was her favorite among the submissions and would love for her agent (Miss Nice),  to see if she can take my novel on. She cc'd Agent Nice on that email to which was attached my manuscript and a half page synopsis. Miss Nice, within ten minutes, sent me an email asking for my permission to read the novel as she found the premise intriguing. I said yes, yes, a thousand times yes.


Yaaaayyyyy!!!! (Although cynical/realistic me thinks it might only be a case of an agent humoring a valued client)


Here's my (kinda long winded) question: I am in the final stages of revising my novel Purple Starfish (with beta read help from 5 Reef dwellers - Tim Lowe and Mama Mel Bowles are brutally frank critiquers I tell ya). PS is the novel of my heart. PS is what I want for my debut. PS is what I fantasize holding and reading in book tours in Canada and in the Philippines. My beta readers agree that PS has more depth, more intriguing characters, more clever twists and is generally superior to TWW. 


I feel like by the time Miss Nice gets to actually reading TWW, I will have finished my revisions for PS which I also plan to have professionally edited. Would it be okay if I let her know I have this other novel that is bigger and better. (It's on the shallow end of crime fiction with elements of romance) and would she like to take a look at it? 


What do you think oh QOTKU.


Right now the very last thing you want to do is add anything to an agent's reading list.

If/When she gets in touch to tell you that she loves your novel and it's time to start thinking about next steps, you can say "I've got this other novel that I think is better."

In other words, wait till she's invested with you before springing the good news.

And when PS is ready, query widely.

Don't wait around for Agent Nice to get back to you. Response times are horrifying these days and show no signs of improving. And if she was humoring a valued client (and I hope she wasn't cause that's just NOT Nice!) you might never hear back.

Don't let this piece of good luck get in the way of moving forward.



Steve Forti said...

File it under "good problems to have". Good luck! We've all got our fingers crossed for you.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

That is exciting ...all of it. But yes, do just as our HM Shark recommends. Good luck. And keep going.

S.D.King said...

Let's hope for the best, but even if agent doesn't follow through, what a great encouragement! It is a sign you are heading and writing in the right direction! Congrats~

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I'd been operating under the (pre plague, perhaps) notion that querying multiple projects at once was frowned upon? I don't know if I read that advice here however, and we know how these kind of nebulous Things That Are Done™ get shared around without attribution sometimes, and are permutations of what us querying writers on the hamster wheel have extrapolated, vs. being things that actual agents have said.

Response times are horrifying, harrowing, abysmal. I've had a full out for what will be a year on Wednesday (with nudges and communication, not radio silence.)

Unknown said...

Congratulations! I'm pretty sure I can guess the writer and publisher because Canadian publishing is so insular--if so, very impressive to have gotten their attention!

Theresa said...

Big congratulations, OP! Fingers crossed for the outcome you dream of.

I loved the latest edition of the Query Shark newsletter. Janet talked about historiography and primary and secondary sources!

Tim Lowe said...

"Brutally Frank" is my next band name btw.

The "novel of the heart" seems like a thing, even though I've never really understood it. Once a writer friend of mine asked which of my books was "my baby." I didn't get that either. They're all my babies as I'm creating them. Otherwise, why would I keep going? And like real kids, I find it hard to pick a favorite (although I know pretty quickly when one of them is misbehaving).

That said, I think you've got to sit on your hands here, OP, at least as far as the requesting agent goes. Yes, you need to keep querying the other one, and no, I wouldn't worry about querying simultaneous projects. I just got a kind, specific rejection on a novel I finished nearly 2 years ago, and was requested 9 months ago. There is virtually no way not to query two projects simultaneously given those lag times, unless you take 4 years to finish a book (nothing wrong with that, if that's your process).

As far as Miguel goes, can't wait to meet him again. I'm at the final showdown in mine, but it's taken a bit, even though the work is steady. It's amazing how much a few apt "brutally frank" comments can spin your work in a new direction, and I've found rewrites (true rewrites, not just putting new wallpaper over old plaster) make things much, much better. But they take time. I'm really glad you've taken the time to get your heart novel right. Rushing doesn't get us anywhere in this business, unless somebody e-mails you and tells you they need significant revisions by the end of the weekend (that does happen, but when it does, it means you're really close).

Super happy for all you've been able to accomplish. And glad to see the love triangle novel got you some well-deserved attention!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

OP, congrats on the outreach that's happening with your 50K and I'm glad the novel of your heart is heading into the finish line too. Best wishes with both.

AJ Blythe said...

OP, I am so thrilled that TWW has received some love - even if it isn't the one you want to see out there first. I hope Miss Nice loves it and reads the other as well. Regardless, remember you have taken another step up that long ladder to publication and every step needs to be celebrated, so before you angst too much over it, take a moment to take in your success and celebrate. I hope it is the first of many celebrations coming your way!