So this is the story of my first offer. Today is the one-year anniversary, so I thought it was a good time to share.
It starts off with a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Mid-winter I was going stir-crazy, and I was stuck on the computer all day long at work, and I decided I needed a break. We were also planning to look at houses and get a loan for one in the summer, so I knew that if I was going to go on a writing vacation (as I had the year before), it should be before we started that process.
The house in Martha’s Vineyard was awesome. It was right on the water and had lots of great windows. It was the perfect atmosphere for writing. Also, it had a ghost. There was a computer in a corner under the stairs, and myself and a writing friend who was there the first weekend heard someone typing on the computer when nobody was there.
I have recently posted about the query addiction that started during this vacation. It was only supposed to be one query for every 1000 words, but once I started getting requests, I started querying more and more.
One request was for a snail mailed full. I freaked out a little because I had no way of printing out the novel (which was Love Sucks), but a friend of mine offered to print it out at work and send it off for me.
I sent the query on Monday, and the request was also on Monday. I believe the full was put in the mail on Wednesday. I actually had more full requests before the vacation ended.
On Saturday of that week, I had the fun task of driving home. I had to go to work on Monday, and I was undecided whether to make the full 15-hour drive from Martha’s Vineyard to Ohio that day or to stop at my aunt’s on the way back. On the way to Martha’s Vineyard, I had stopped at a hotel halfway there, but I wanted a recovery day before going back to work.
But when I got to the ferry, I was in for some bad news. There was almost no way I was getting on the next ferry, and it wasn’t looking so good for the one afterwards either. I was looking at possibly not even getting off the island until 1 p.m. I bought a standby ticket and put my car in line, then went and got myself some breakfast. I was back in the car with plenty of time to go, but once they started loading cars, it seemed like the lines that had formed after me were going before me, even though it had looked like they had already let in the cars who weren’t in standby. I was getting anxious. But finally my line moved, and while I didn’t get on that ferry, I did get in the spaces where they had the next cars for standby ready. So all I needed were five spaces to be open on the next ferry and I could get in.
First I had to wait for it. I wondered if I should call my aunt and uncle and ask to stay the night. I actually dialed them, then after a ring, realized it was still Saturday morning, and maybe they were still asleep, so I hung up. Then I got out of my car, took some pictures, wandered around a little, and ran back to my car when the ferry showed up.
And that was about the same time my phone rang.
My first assumption was that it was my aunt calling me. I didn’t recognize the area code as being the same as the number I had called a little bit before, but it was the only thing that made sense. I answered.
The voice was strange, but he introduced himself immediately. It was the agent who had requested the snail mail full. The whole time I was thinking, “No way. Seriously?” But I am a big multi-tasker, so I was also thinking about what he was saying, reminding myself that in ten minutes when I was off the phone, this really did happen, and more than anything, worrying about the ferry and whether I’d get on and whether they’d let me on with a phone at my ear when there was a sign that said “No cell phones” and whether I could safely drive on to a ferry while talking on the phone.
And very sadly, all this ferry stress kinda stole my big “OMG, an offer” moment.
So Agent offered me representation, gushed over how high concept Love Sucks was, told me it needed revisions, but when I asked for details (Hey, I had a long drive to think about them), only gave me one. He then told me that he knew I had to contact my other agents, but if I could give him an answer by Friday, that’d be great. We hung up. I got on the ferry. I texted everyone I knew 😉
Once I was off the ferry, I drove very quickly, watching every sign as soon as I was on a major freeway looking for a Panera. Usually I would try to have lunch as late as possible to break up the drive, but I didn’t want to waste a second. I found one pretty quickly and got lunch and used the WiFi to e-mail the other agents with fulls, half of which had requested in the last week. Of course, it was Saturday, so I figured that some of them might not be checking their e-mail until Monday, but still, it felt good to get it done.
I sped home and by the time I got there at about 11:30 p.m. (I managed to knock two hours off the drive by ignoring the speed limit), a few of the agents had already passed. One asked the next day to have time to read the novel, but she was on vacation at the time, so she said she’d talk to me on Wednesday when she got back. She ended up requesting revisions, all of which made sense, but in the end, I couldn’t say no to the guaranteed offer.
Of course, as you know, I am not currently agented, but… that is a different story to be told on a different anniversary.
So interestingly, at the time, I had always expected those Martha’s Vineyard fulls to last a long time. That had been my experience so far. I had a 6-month full, a 5-month full, and a 3-month full, and never had had a rejection from any of them. My experience was that I would send out fulls that would never get answers, not even if I status queried them. So the call was a complete surprise.
It’s a stark contrast from these days, where I’m anticipating The Call (or E-mail) at every moment. If the phone rings and it’s not a specific ring tone, I freak out that it might be an agent. I track agents on Query Tracker and Twitter to try to guess their response times and if they’re reading my mss. Not having The Call before, I dreamed it would happen, but didn’t really expect it. Knowing it can come, and how soon after a request, has made me more impatient, as I’m sure you’ve all figured out.
But that’s okay. I’m still waiting. Because even though it’s been a year since that offer, it hasn’t been a full year of wall-to-wall querying. There were revisions and new novels and even newer novels. And even though one agent has had Love Sucks for 9 months now (LS does seem to be the mss that sits on agents’ desks forever…, with one exception, of course), one agent has had Fireflies for less than two hours, lol.
So that’s my offer story. If an agent were to offer this March 28, it would prove to be less stressful and way more exciting. All I have planned today is lab work, and I’d love a break in that, to be honest 😉 Hint, hint.
Lots of love,
P.S. (I forgot) Currently on iPod: The Bonny Swans by Loreena McKennitt