- Five finished books before this one, Possum Summer. That's a total of a lot of words, I don't want to count them. Usually a lot of story comprised of backstory. Le sigh.
- Countless bad queries. Thankfully this was before the advent of email so I didn't make such an idiot of myself. I had to mail everything from Europe. That hurt the old bank account.
- Queried two of those books. Had perfectly horrible query letters (although I thought they were brilliant at the time).
- Joined AW and learned and learned.
- Was rejected, rejected, rejected. In all, probably over 250 rejections (all books considered).
- Decided to write the one book I'd had in my head since I was 10, and never wrote because I didn't think I was up to it. Was also not the genre I "thought" I wrote.
- Edited it and sent it out to my three top agent picks Christmas Day. (Yes, I was one of those).
- Got the request from all three that night. Sent out partials *except to one that already wanted the full*.
- Next day, got a request for a partial.
- Next day, got the request for the full from two best agents.
- Next morning (this was Monday; all this had happened over the holiday weekend) got the email: I love your book. Let's talk! Other agent said yes, I love it too! Don't do anything without me! Promptly got a phone call from other Top Agent (she was crying) call me, let's work together!
- Then I had a breakdown. *** (see below)
- Accepted one, and now we're subbing.
*** Don't ever, ever let anybody tell you it's great to have more than one offer. It was worse than *anything* I'd gone through. How do you make that sort of decision? In my case, I asked writer friends; went through AW for all the information I could find on them, wrote down pros and cons, and decided after all that based off my gut decision. It was so hard. But the choice was the perfect one; I couldn't be more happy with the agent I decided upon.
But if you wanted the short answer to this question, it would be perseverance. And patience. And optimism. Getting back up after a devastating no. It didn't happen overnight, for all that it looks like it did. It took five years of gradually learning and doing before I got this far.
But if I can do it, you can do it. No problem. :)
(ps - if you have any particulars you'd like to hear about, let me know in the comments...I'm here to help you and support you all, more than anything. Pick my brain! Well, what's left of it.)