Thursday, March 19, 2009

Secret Agent Contests Lead To SUCCESS!

We're on a roll. I've got two wonderful stories to share with you:

From Lisa and Laura:

I'm sure you get e-mails like this all the time, but we just wanted to write and thank you for investing so much time and energy in your Secret Agent contests. We participated in the last contest with uber agent, Kristin Nelson. Based on all of the amazing constructive criticism from Ms. Nelson and your talented readers, we ended up rewriting our first 250 words. 16 queries and 3 weeks later we had 3 different agents offer to represent us! We are now represented by our dream agent, Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management.

I'm not sure these agents would have continued to read if we had used our original version of the first 250 words, so we wanted to thank you, your readers and of course our Secret Agent for taking the time to read our work and provide us with so much encouragement and feedback.

From Denise Jaden:

Just wanted to let you know (and thank you again), my agent made a deal today for my first YA novel, LOSING FAITH, which I had originally entered in your October Secret Agent contest. (It didn't win, but I received some excellent feedback!)

Feel free to let people on your blog know that people DO go on from the SA contests to be published! The details of the sale are on my blog if you are interested.

Thanks again! I just love what you do for the writing community!

There you have it--the critiques on this blog REALLY DO positively affect people's writing, and REALLY DO lead to good things.

I'm not sure I can adequately express how exciting this is for me. The blog is still less than a year old, and we're already hearing success stories like those above.

Everyone who participates shares in this. If you weren't brave enough to enter your work and giving enough to spend time giving thoughtful critiques, the blog as we know and love it would not exist. This is EVERYONE'S party!

Spread the word, folks--Miss Snark's First Victim is the place to be for aspiring authors!

Warm and enthusiastic congratulations to Lisa and Laura and Denise Jaden. Warm and enthusiastic thanks to ALL OF YOU for being a part of this experience--for making the time I spend here so worthwhile.

Warm, sniffly fuzzies and happy, glowing things all around.


Jamie said...

Awesome! Congratulations to the writers -- and to you. You've attracted people who give really, really good feedback. I'm much happier with my first 250 words since participating in a SA contest.

Tara Maya said...

I love success stories! Gotta say, I'm not surprised, because I've met some really good writers here.

Thanks for creating a rockin site, Authoress!

(Omigosh, my word is instefun! How great is that!)

Merc said...

Whoo-hoo! :D Uber congrats, you guys!

Eric said...

Congrats to all. I look forward to when my book is completed so that I can compete in a Secret Agent contest, win the prize, and get published (grin).

Janet C. said...

Woo Hoo - congratulations to Lisa and Laura, and Denise. I love success stories.

Luc2 said...

congrats on the deals, and kudos to Authoress. *tips plumeless hat*

Lisa and Laura said...

Thanks everyone!

Authoress, you rock. Can't believe this site is only a year old! It's truly amazing what you've done here. Congratulations!

Deb S said...

More congrats! Is talent contagious?

Olugbemisola (Mrs. Pilkington) said...

This is so fantastic! Congratulations, and many thanks to The Authoress.

Peter said...

Great news, congratulations!! Now let's see who's next!

Writeaholic said...

Wow! Congrats! Putting it out there for crits is def worth the nibbled fingernails. I know I've learned so much just reading the crits on my own and other people's submissions. This is a great website and Authoress a great host!

Litgirl01 said...

I wrote a post about MSFV on my blog the other day! :-) This is a GREAT place to network with other writers and to get great advice! Kudos!

DebraLSchubert said...

This is amazing news! First of all, congrats to you, Authoress, for launching this brilliant website. And congrats to Denise and to Lisa and Laura (I have three sisters and we've discussed crazy business ventures together as well - you made yours come true - way to go!!!!). You keep those of us on the same path hopeful and inspired.

Judy said...

I just wanted to take a moment and wish you the best of luck. It is great to hear (read) of someone's success.

Scott said...


16 queries later?? Multiple queries to the agent-sphere??? Am I the only one who sends out one, waits, and then after a) not right for me or b) no response at all, sends out another query?? Perhaps I should try L & L's strategy!

Congrats again.


Authoress said...


You probably ought to try sending them out in small batches, which is what most aspiring authors do.

Then, as responses come in, you send out new ones.

So you always have some out there, and some to go out.

Considering the fact that, for some agents, no response is your response, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to "wait for a response" before sending the next one!

Try 5 at a time and see what happens. ;)

Shannon said...

Congratulations Lisa and Laura and Denise Jaden - such wonderful news and thanks so much for sharing with us!

A bit thanks to Authoress for putting this all together and taking the time (and having the creativity) to put this blog together. It means so much to so many people.

Heather said...

Yay! That's amazing!

Lisa and Laura said...

Scott - Our query strategy was to send out 5 initial queries to agents who are known to respond quickly to test the water. Once we'd gotten some requests and knew that our query was working we sent more queries and then as we got rejections we sent out "revenge queries" so we always had about 10 queries out there.

When it was all said and done we had sent about 16 queries, 1 partial request, 6 full requests, 6 form rejections, 3 non-responders and 3 offers of representation. Hope that helps!

Scott said...

Authoress - thanks!! I just didn't want to be one of those aspiring writers who gets a bad rep w/agents by being a multiple submitter!! : )

It is definitely frustrating waiting, waiting, waiting; but the end result, as for L&L, is worth the wait. Thanks again.


T. Anne said...

I'll include a link on my blog. Very glad I stumbled across yours!

Authoress said...


Agents expect that authors are querying simultaneously. What's frowned upon is querying agents AT THE SAME AGENCY at the same time. That is always a no-no.

Also, you shouldn't query 50 agents with the same email. Those are usually auto-deletes.

So you're not going to get a bad reputation. Unless, of course, you're a total loser. ;)

Authoress said...

T. Anne -- thank you and welcome!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That's great news! Wow so much in one day. But it's true, there are so many of us who made big changes due to SA crits and have ended up with requests. This might not have happened if we hadn't put ourselves out there, or been willing to listen to what others said. It really is worth it as these three individuals have proven.

Thanks again, Authoress, for doing this for us!

Susanne said...

Congratulations to the successful authors and to Authoress for a great site. I've already made changes to my first 1,000 words (I'm queued!) based on reading other critiques and I can't wait to get the same useful feedback. Very cool blog.

McKoala said...


Denise Jaden said...

Thanks so much everybody for your wonderful wishes!

Scott - I have a tick just thinking about your one at a time strategy (and fyi, I don't have an exact number, but I would guess that my number of queries was much higher than 16 before getting offers. Probably double that, but then ended up with multiple offers and a very quick sale). Incidentally, my agent sent out a large number of submissions to editors once I had signed with her, so agents understand multiple submissions from both sides of the fence).

And Authoress - thank you again for everything you do! I just love your ideas for this blog and you really have created a great community here!

Sheila said...

Congratulations! I could tell from the first SA contest I participated in that you had a very sharp group of readers here, Authoress. I'm so glad I found this site!

Thanks for sharing the news, and I hope L&L and Denise keep us updated on what happens next!

queenofmean said...

That is so exciting for the authors. I wish them all luck.
It certainly lights a fire under my butt to get moving & finish mine!

danceluvr said...

Your successes give the rest of us hope. May all of you prosper with these published books.