Here's this week's success story, in the author's words:
In 2005, I got this idea for a novel for kids (“middle grade” was not a term I’d ever heard of at that point) about a girl who secretly becomes a restaurant critic for The New York Times. Over the next three years, I worked full time, produced two of my plays, got married…and managed to draft about 60% of the book.
In 2009, my husband and I quit our jobs, sold all of our stuff, and embarked on our dream trip: a two-year, round-the-world honeymoon. I packed the novel-so-far in my backpack and vowed that I would come home with a finished book. I wrote by hand whenever I had a chance, and during the week when my husband climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, I parked myself in a coffee shop in Moshi, Tanzania, and wrote until I reached The End. (Hooray! Then I put it back in my backpack for another eight months until the trip was over.)
Upon our return to the states in summer 2011, I typed it up, got feedback, revised, and started querying. My first round of queries was form-rejected across the board, and I started to suspect that the beginning of the book wasn’t working.
That’s when I discovered Miss Snark’s First Victim. Reading back over months of Secret Agent contests, I came to understand what drew agents in—and what drew me in as a reader. I did a major revision and polished the heck out of the book’s new opening, finishing just in time to enter the October Secret Agent contest.
A few days after the contest, I got an e-mail from Authoress saying that Ammi-Joan Paquette had “read my entry with interest” and requested that I query her with five pages. This was exciting, since Joan is usually closed to queries. I sent the query off at midnight on October 30 and woke up the next day to my first ever full request. Happy Halloween to me!
I started querying again, and in November got into the Baker’s Dozen auction (yay!). I didn’t sleep well the night before the auction (did anyone?), and an hour before it started, forced myself to go back to bed to pass the time. I ended up sleeping right through my auction (oops!), waking up this time to evidence that a fierce battle had taken place.
I had an offer of representation a week later, and four more by the first week of January. And I’m thrilled to announce that the contract is signed and Ammi-Joan Paquette of EMLA is now my agent!
I never would have connected with Joan without this blog. And the beginning of my book would never have gotten into the shape it did without this blog. Thank you, Authoress, for creating this resource that both makes us better writers and gets our work in front of the people who can help us take the next step in our careers.
~Tara Dairman, who blogs HERE.
Here's Tara's Baker's Dozen Entry!