It's true! Another agent-client pairing has happened as a direct result of MSFV; this time, with a 25-word crit and a lurking agent.
Read Joshua McCune's story:
Back in March 2010, Authoress ran a first 25 words contest... I'd already looped through a couple of openings for my manuscript, but finally settled on one I liked and submitted. Posted the first couple of paragraphs on my blog, then a couple hours later saw this email in my inbox from agent Ammi-Joan Paquette. From what I knew of her, she seemed awesome. Unfortunately, she didn't accept unsolicited submissions. She really liked my opening and wondered where I was in the manuscript. Um, that would be cloud 9 and about 60,000 words to go. Query me when ready. My lucky day :)
By October, I'd finally wrapped up the story and tentatively sent it to her. Joan responded a couple of days later with something along the lines of 'gripping stuff. Can we chat?' Up to cloud 10. When we spoke, she mentioned what she liked... and what she didn't. What she didn't happened to be in line w/ my worry zones, so I was more than happy to do a requested revision.
So, over the next few months, I went into the outer orbits of blogdom, rewrote the last half of the book in a far different direction... somewhat out of my comfort zone, but more streamlined (though darker, and it was already darkish to begin with). Joan let me know she was backed up, so it might be a while. Okay, I can handle waiting (not necessarily calmly, of course). Almost two months pass; I get an email Apr 1 along the lines of 'halfway through. Loving this. Will be in touch soon.' Okay...yeah. Joan, for anybody who knows her, is a sweetheart, and not someone prone to such jokes, yet it was Apr. 1...
But I was comforted. I'd made a few changes to first half of book, but it was still in similar form. It was the second half where I'd done most of the rework--and the worrying.
Three days later (me doing mental gymnastics in my head about time ramifications), she emails me: 'This is absolutely terrific. Can we talk?' Whoa! (Joey Lawrence style) A few days after, we talked (well, she did, I kind of blabbered), she offered, I accepted (my b-day was a week later...best present ever). And then she told me that her agency was having its annual retreat (how cool is that?) in a few days. Just happened to be in Austin, TX this year, which happens to be about an hour north of where I live in San Antonio... Could I come up and meet her?
Joan was a spark of enthusiasm from the get go who pushed me to be better. IRL, she was even more awesome.
Ultimately, it's nice when one of your friends, family members, etc. tells you, 'it's good,' but what do they know besides love and support? Having someone who started off a stranger showing such enthusiasm... someone who's a professional (both an author and an agent). It's like mainlining sunshine.
Yeah, it's the first step past the gate or up the stairwell, but I couldn't imagine having someone better than Joan to guide me.
Thanks, Authoress, for allowing me twenty-five words, for giving me the opportunity. Can't be said enough how awesome you are for what you do for the writing community.