Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ugh! Authoress Misses Yet Another Success Story!

It's not like this is the first time this has happened.  Honestly, you'd think I didn't get excited about these success stories or something!  I'm going to blame my inbox.  It ate the original email.  Yeah, that's it.  Swallowed it right up.


At any rate, this is a wonderful success story harking back to last year's Baker's Dozen, so in a strange way it's good timing.  My utter apologies to the author!  In his own words:

Dear Authoress,

Here's my story. I wrote Shakespeare on the Lam towards the end of 2009, found your blog, and entered the April 2010 Secret Agent competition. I received lots of good critique and went back to the drawing board, which included rewriting the novel from 1st person POV to 3rd! [Interested in seeing how radically things changed? You can find the different versions here and here.]

That year, I had an encouraging critique from an agent during my local SCBWI conference and, after yet more rewrites, began querying in the fall of 2010. The result: form rejections. I worked hard on my query (with a lot of help from Matthew MacNish at the Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment blog, and people at In the summer of 2011 I began to get some bites. At one time, four agents were reading the full manuscript. But one by one, they passed.

Then I read that you were planning your 2nd Baker's Dozen Auction. I hemmed and hawed: there were so many entries that the chances of being picked for the auction seemed so slim. Still, "nothing ventured, nothing gained." I sent in my entry and promptly forgot about it.
Then, on November 21st, I got your e-mail. Shakespeare on the Lam was one of the chosen YA/MG entries. Before long, it was posted on your blog (along with 59 others that seemed much more stellar) and received some fabulous critiques. Still, I couldn't believe that any of the agents would bid on it. But several did.  I settled down to bite my nails and wait.
Well, someone must have been stirring the celestial creme brulee--as I joked to fellow auctionee Tara Dairman, of Gladys Gatsby Takes the Cake fame. In late December, I received an offer of representation from an agent who'd had my manuscript for a couple of months. I sent out a notice to all the agents with my full and even my query, and a slight frenzy ensued. The ones with the full said they'd get back to me a.s.a.p. The ones with the query requested the full. Everybody was very kind, and very speedy. By January 9th, I had a further two offers.
I spoke to the agents on the phone and became certifiably insane. The agents all seemed so wonderful and so enthusiastic. Thank goodness for my wife and a couple of objective published author friends, who were able to stop my head from spinning off my shoulders. The result is that I am now represented by Stephen Fraser, of The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.
Thank you, Authoress and Jodi Meadows, for being the ones who had faith enough in my writing to choose it for the auction. I don't know where the journey will lead next, but it's certainly gotten a whole lot better, thanks to you and all the good people at Miss Snark's First Victim. Thanks, and yet more thanks, as Shakespeare would say.

Michael Gettel-Gilmartin


  1. How fantastic, congrats Michael and well done (as ever) Authoress and Jodi!

  2. What a fun story! I love all these success stories, they really are so encouraging!

    Congratulations Michael!

  3. Love these stories! Congrats, Michael!

  4. That story is so inspiring and illuminating as to process and possibility. Thank you, Michael and Authoress. And I do agree that the timing is apt.

  5. I didn't know he was insane during that time! He seemed totally normal on his blog...

  6. Whee! Great story. Congratulations, almost a year later! (Don't worry, Authoress, it happens to us all.)

  7. The path, she is not straight. Love reading about everyone's journies. Congrats, Michael!

  8. I love these stories. They give me the strength to keep going another day, because you never know, tomorrow might be that day....

  9. Woohoo, Michael! The celestial creme brulee indeed! =)

    And you all should check out the video of Michael reading from his first chapter of Shakespeare on the Lam--it's brilliant!

  10. Congrats to Michael! And thank you, Authoress, for posting the encouragement we need to keep going. It is so good to hear success stories.

  11. So encouraging! Thank you.