Another indirect success story, in the author's own words:
When I entered my MG manuscript DON'T FALL DOWN into the Baker's Dozen contest in the fall of 2012, I was just coming off the worst year of my life. I survived a really rare pregnancy-related cancer just a year before, and as a result, promised myself I'd keep trying with this writing thing until something finally stuck. So that year, I finished and revised DON'T FALL DOWN, and I queried the heck out of another MG (called EX-DRAMA QUEEN). I had several queries still out on EX-DRAMA QUEEN when I closed my eyes and pressed send on the contest entry for DON'T FALL DOWN. I didn't think I'd get picked. After all, the agent rejections on EX-DRAMA QUEEN were starting to pile up, and I felt a little dejected. Somehow, by all miracles, I made it into the contest!
The entries went up, and I'd managed to convince myself that no one would bid. I hadn't even queried this manuscript yet, and I didn't want to get my hopes up. It turns out I did get bids, but DON'T FALL DOWN definitely wasn't the most popular entry at the Baker's Dozen prom. Still, the bids? Huge ego boost! With writing, sometimes all we need is someone to say, "Hey, that sounds interesting. I'd read 50 pages." That's what happened to me with Baker's Dozen. It boosted my confidence, and I put all my effort behind querying DON'T FALL DOWN and entering it into more contests.
During a Twitter pitch party, not long after Baker's Dozen, an agent asked to see the manuscript. This same agent already had a full on EX-DRAMA QUEEN. So I sent DON'T FALL DOWN and then nibbled off all my fingernails for about a month. And then it happened -- she made me an offer of representation! After an agonizing two weeks of nudges and rejections and requests, I finally got to accept the offer from agent Julia Weber in February 2013 -- just two months after Baker's Dozen.
Fast forward to September 2013 (past revisions and rejections and an R&R on EX-DRAMA QUEEN) and I got The Best Email Ever from Julia -- we had an offer from an editor on DON'T FALL DOWN! I danced and cried and did just about everything you think you'd do when you get this news. Then the waiting started again -- waiting to hear back from other editors, waiting for negotiations, waiting for the all-clear to announce. On Halloween 2013, I got tell the world that DON'T FALL DOWN would be published by Aladdin/Simon and Schuster in 2015!
The title was changed to BREAKING THE ICE, and yup, the book came out in January of this year! I am an official published author! And things are looking pretty good -- my author friend Jen Malone and I have a co-written book, YOU'RE INVITED, coming out with Aladdin this May, with a sequel due next year. Not too long ago, I got to announce that Aladdin will publish my newest MG, called OUT OF TUNE, in the fall of 2016. And EX-DRAMA QUEEN? Is now a YA called EXIT STAGE LEFT, that'll be out through HarperTeen's Impulse line this summer!
I'm forever thankful to Authoress and the Baker's Dozen contest for giving me the boost I needed to push forward and keep putting myself out there. A little encouragement really goes a long way. Thank you!!!