Episode 121: You Don't Have To Be Perfect To Get Published
It’s easy to believe that you have to be perfect to get published. Today, we bring you proof—hilarious, painful, honest proof—that things can go horribly awry and then end up great.
Whether it’s checking in too soon (and getting called out by an agent), writing a pitch without a conflict or stakes (and then booking back-to-back sessions) or having a typo create havoc in a room of 200 conference attendees, these writers have been through it all—and come out better for it.
They’ve since signed with agents, received multi-book contracts—and one even went to her release party just hours after we recorded.
2:15: Sending out a book with seven points of view
7:50: Pitching a book without conflict or stakes
13:24: Checking in with an agent much too soon
19:27: Querying a manuscript just after typing “the end”
23:06: Sending out work personalized–for another agent
27:09: Submitting work to a panel without careful proofreading
Please welcome (in order of appearance):
Suzy Vitello is the author of three YA books and an adult speculative novel, FAULTLAND. You can find her at Suzyvitello.com, @suzy_vitello on Twitter, and @suzyvitello on Instagram.
Thalia Elie is the author of HAIR WE GO! : A Curly Girls’ Adventure series. As a multi-ethnic curly girl, she wanted to encourage readers’ curiosity about differing cultures. This book celebrates the curly girl! It’s an animated escapade that travels around Africa to laugh and learn that curls color the world. Each excursion is an adventure in diversity.
Click here to learn more about Thalia’s FREE event, June 2 at 8pm ET.
Rachel Remick has had several short stories published in literary magazines, including Rosebud, Bluestem and The First Line, as well as women’s magazine Sasee. Her short story The Favorite was published in a recent edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Listen to Your Dreams. You can follow her on Twitter @tampawritergirl.
Nicole Moleti resides in West Hartford, CT and is a co-author writing under the pen name Addison McKnight. Her debut domestic suspense comes out spring of 2022 with Lake Union Publishing. Follow her @nicoleandkrista on Twitter and @addisonmcknight on Facebook.
Juliana Savia Clayton writes Young Adult novels and picture books. She’s a member of SCBWI and serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Indiana Chapter. When not refreshing her inbox, she enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and two cats. You can find her on Twitter @kidlit_writer
Agentless in America is a soon-to-be veterinarian that is an editor for the Heroic Fantasy e-magazine. She often melds fantasy with reality and believes that there is always room for romance. She currently lives, eats and breathes veterinary medicine, but never fails to appreciate the little things–especially if those little things are semicolons. Twitter: http://twitter.com/thedragonvet
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Get Published
[00:00:00] Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:00:00] We know that sometimes it seems like you need to be perfect to have a chance in Publishing. And today
Julie Kingsley: [00:00:05] we have a special episode that proves that just isn’t true.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:00:09] We asked six generous writers to talk with us about the mistakes they made. And they weren’t small
Suzy Vitello: [00:00:14] ones,
Nicole Moleti: [00:00:15] but no I’m talking about literally we wrote the end and then we sent it to someone.
So that was
Suzy Vitello: [00:00:19] really bad. Send it out with seven points of view because it’s like, Oh, they just have to know more about this character. They have to know more about this character and you know, it was yeah, it was a
Juliana Savia Clayton: [00:00:29] mess I sent, I want to say four or five more queries saying your client, author name. When they know very well, that’s not their clients
Agentless In America: [00:00:39] 200 or more writers, just everyone peers, tons of agents on it.
That’s it for a writer. And I was probably so far back into my seat. I was the chair at that point.
Rachel Remick: [00:00:50] She had called me unprofessional and I was like, Oh my goodness. Of course I, I felt so horrible. And I started to say, Oh my goodness, like, what if she [00:01:00] goes around to all her agent friends and says, this girl’s unprofessional.
Thalia Elie: [00:01:04] I mean, you know, people were coming out, I’m watching this line of people waiting to meet with agents and they’re coming out with full asks and such and such or nos. And I said, well, this is going to be horrible. I already set myself up to fail. They
Julie Kingsley: [00:01:19] thought it was over.
everything was about to get a whole lot better.
They’ve signed with agents, gotten multi book deals and one even had her release party just hours after she spoke with him.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:01:31] We’re going to start with Suzy who sent out her book with seven points of view.
Julie Kingsley: [00:01:35] Don’t worry. We’ll get to everyone. Just look at the show notes for timestamps. If you want to skip ahead.
Suzy Vitello: [00:01:41] I’m Suzy Vitello. Kind of crossing over from being a YA writer to this , adult fiction world. And I live in Portland, Oregon, and I’ve been writing for 30. Yay. Yeah, I sent out, which was called, , Cascadia at the time I sent it out. [00:02:00] With seven points of view, because it’s like, Oh, they just have to know more about this character and they have to know more about this character and you know, it was yeah, it was a mess, you know, six years ago I started my first.
Novel that was sort of adult speculative fiction, novel around an earthquake that would happen in our area. And, I sent that out, got a bunch of rejections that I did get some full requests, but nothing happened with those. And then I went on and wrote a whole other version because I was kind of obsessed with earthquakes, you know, cause I live in Portland and there was that whole article in the New York times about the big one and all that.
So anyway, I wrote the second one and I sent that off and I did get some enthusiastic responses, but then again, it was one of those close, but no cigar situations. So then I thought, well, maybe I’ll try some of the indie presses. And I went along that route and I sent my , manuscript to Ooligan press, which is a local press out of Portland state university.
And They asked me [00:03:00] for pages and so on and so on. And then they rejected me and I, okay. I guess this is another manuscript for the drawer, try something else. But then a couple months later, the development and acquisitions team got back to me and they said, you know, we’d like to develop this with you and there’s no guarantee, but we’d like to develop this with you.
So anyway, it went on from there. So in the development process, they very kindly helped me shed some of those points of view and gave me some ideas of how I could better ground the reader. So they always knew where they were and that made all the difference. I eliminated four of those points of view ended up with three.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:03:40] We asked Suzy about this because of course, this is not a small edit. She acknowledges that she did have to do a huge amount of rewriting as often happens. One change, necessitated many more.
Suzy Vitello: [00:03:52] That went on for about a year and a half, I guess, the, the back and forth, you know, and the, and the various revisions.
And then they took it to [00:04:00] acquisitions in the fall of 2019 before everything turned upside down. And they said, yes, And I signed the contract in November of 2019 and , and today is the publication day March through the day you’re recording. So yeah, but at the time it seemed like so far away, right.
It was like, Oh my God, it’s, you know, a year and a half almost. And, but it boy at the time just slipped by and there were more revisions during that time, more sort of, you know, tightening things up wonderful process. And at the end of the day, I’m so excited because, it’s just so far, everything’s gone better than I would have hoped really.
We’re going to have a virtual party tonight, online there’s upwards of a hundred people signed up for it. It’s a Powells pick pals books and downtown Portland, which is now open again. Thank God it’s a Powells pick. And I got a write up in a local magazine. So, you know, it, things are great.
Things are really so far so good.
Julie Kingsley: [00:04:56] I love this story so much, and I love how, you know, you turned [00:05:00] from writing 30 years to kind of a team. And then what you learned in that process were
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:05:05] there times in those 30 years that you almost
Suzy Vitello: [00:05:07] gave up. Yeah, there was a time when I had my third baby. I thought maybe I don’t want to be a writer anymore.
Maybe I just want to be a mom. You know, like it was just so complicated and I wasn’t getting anywhere. But after that baby turned two things really started to pick up and I began to publish short stories and because I had two teenagers and a toddler in the house, I was more drawn to children’s fiction and young adult.
So, you know, things change your, your life is, you know, people have complex lives and things that are outside of your control change. And, you know, I think that, sometimes you do, you can give yourself a break for awhile and come back to it. And you might be different place.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:05:53] So if you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
Suzy Vitello: [00:05:56] I would send it out some more beta readers, before I [00:06:00] sent it out, you know, before I started my querying. And really get a little bit more perspective, you know, and beta readers that were like a little bit more hard on me for some ones that did read it. So, yeah. Is there one
Julie Kingsley: [00:06:14] thing that you could tell our listeners that made the difference in your thinking around your book?
Is there one thing they said to you, or one little piece
Suzy Vitello: [00:06:22] of advice and I think it really does have to do with the structure of it. You know because without structure to hold things up, you can have really beautiful sentences and stuff that you’re, if your reader gets lost and throws the book across the room here, you know, it’s a bummer.
So I would say they’re really smart, structural advice. And ideas made a huge difference.
Julie Kingsley: [00:06:46] That’s fabulous. We’re so proud of you, Suzy. It’s an amazing
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:06:49] story.
Suzy Vitello: [00:06:50] Thank you, Jessica.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:06:52] What advice do you have for a writer who’s made a mistake in the submissions process.
Suzy Vitello: [00:06:56] I think not to think it’s the end of the world at all.
[00:07:00] If you are invested in your story, there is a fix. I promise you there is a way to fix it and it might be collaborative or it might be putting your manuscript away for a couple of months to see it with fresh eyes. But don’t give up on it.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:07:13] Oh, I know.
Agentless In America: [00:07:15] So great.
Suzy Vitello: [00:07:17] Next up we
Julie Kingsley: [00:07:18] have Thalia Elie, an artist writer and ordained minister from Philadelphia.
Thalia Elie: [00:07:23] I attended a, this was not the mistake attending the conference, but I attended a conference, a writing conference, and I was really excited. So when I, as soon as I got in, I signed up for pitch reviews. And I submitted my pitch review into this format. And then I went to some conference meetings and in one of them, I workshop it was reviewing pitches.
And I realized that my steaks were not highlighted in my pitch. And I felt horrible. I mean, you know, people were coming out, I’m watching this line of people waiting to meet with agents and they’re coming out with full asks and [00:08:00] such and such or no’s. And I said, well, this is going to be horrible. I already set myself up to
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:08:04] fail.
At this point, a lot of people would have panicked. We’ve heard the pitch formula character wants to goal, but can’t because of conflict. If there’s no goal or no conflict, huge components are missing But Thalia.
Julie Kingsley: [00:08:17] Isn’t just an any writer. She came up with a perfect solution.
Thalia Elie: [00:08:21] So as soon as I recognized that I messed myself up, I said, I have to come up with a solution.
I’m going to go in there. And I’m just going to effervesce. That’s what I did. And as soon as I do, I, I grabbed their attention. I signed up for three agents. I grabbed their attention as soon as I came in the room and I just would not release it. And so I went straight into the experience of myself.
Story. And they didn’t have a chance to go on their tablet to pull up my pitch to review it because we were already talking about it and they were like, you know what? I don’t need to pull that up. And each time I [00:09:00] did the same thing and didn’t give them a chance to look at my poorly written pitch. But at the end of each one of those meetings, I got a full
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:09:07] ask. Thing I love about how you fixed this problem is that you went in with enthusiasm.
And everyone was so drawn to that, that they didn’t see what had happened in the past. And I think that’s a really smart
Thalia Elie: [00:09:23] approach. I know that I’m a bubbly bundle of rainbow unicorn energy. And I knew that if I razzle dazzled them, I could get the love enough, love to say, you know, I feel your passion.
I noticed that people humans want love. They want to connect. So if I helped them to do that, that was it. So I said, you know, I am going to steer the conversation to the passion of the book, to the purpose of the book. And then. Once they catch it, they can look at the pitch and be like, you know, this pitch needs to be tightened, but that’s all they’re going to say.
They’re going to be [00:10:00] like, I, from what you heard and now they’re on my team. Now they’re already there. You’re already with me rowing the boat. I just wanted to make sure that someone got in the boat with me and I didn’t want to come up apologetic because apologetic energy makes people cringe and that fight or flight comes up.
And I didn’t want anyone to fight me or flight me. So. Once I got the full essay submitted that they said, Hey, you know, we love your book, but we want more, you have a picture book and this adventure encompasses so much. Take us on the full adventure. We don’t want it too many videos. So I’ve been writing the middle grade longer version and I’m on draft four right now.
And it feels pretty good. I learned that agents are more about passion than. Pickiness. Yeah, I, wasn’t going to dangle my feelings in front of someone like a carrot and hope that they accepted me. I was going to approve of and validate myself. [00:11:00] And I realized that I wrote this for me, for the little girls that are around me, who I can freely give it to.
And so it’s not me waiting for someone to say yes or give me the go I’m automatically. Approving of my passion and living in my passion is to give it, it’s not to be signed. It is to create something that helps and heals and I’ve done that. So I I’m cool if it doesn’t happen, it happened already in me doing it.
So I, the stakes aren’t as high because I don’t tie my life to that. Yes. Or that no.
Julie Kingsley: [00:11:37] And we love how Thalia approaches the emotional aspects of writing and the creative process. And she has some
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:11:43] advice. Thalia will be hosting a free event in early June. All about keeping yourself emotionally healthy and vibrant in the creative process.
Stay tuned for more details
Thalia Elie: [00:11:53] Honor your choice to voice your passion, [00:12:00] affirm that it is powerful. And the fact that you are existing in creating this, you’re adding it to the universe. That is a powerful movement. If you think you’re not a writer, write a word. Now you are.
And then, and understanding that mistakes happen. And as long as we can take a moment to see the, create the lesson and be accepting enough of change to adjust. You know, we are powerful enough. Our bodies and our souls are always willing to adapt and they adapt quickly to growth. So fail up
Julie Kingsley: [00:12:49] next
Rachel Remick, a middle grade writer from Tampa, Florida, who didn’t do enough research before checking in with an agent.
Rachel Remick: [00:12:58] So it was just very short [00:13:00] and brief. Hi, I gave her my name and said, I queried you about a month ago. I was just wondering if you had a chance to look at it. Thank you for your consideration.
And about two hours later, when I was checking my emails, I saw a reply back from her. I was like, Oh my goodness. I thought it was going to be great
Suzy Vitello: [00:13:16] news.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:13:17] It was not great news. In fact, it went about as badly as it could have.
Rachel Remick: [00:13:22] When I opened it, it said I should pay attention to her writing times. It was, it was, it was a little nasty.
I was surprised. And I was like, Oh my goodness. She had called me unprofessional and I was like, Oh my goodness. I, of course I, I felt so horrible. And I started to say, Oh my goodness, like, what if she goes around to all her agent friends and says
Suzy Vitello: [00:13:45] this girl’s unprofessional.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:13:47] So I know a lot of writers have this fear.
The agents will send out an email blast about you. I promise this doesn’t happen. If anything, we get so many mistakes every day. If we wrote about all of them, it would take up [00:14:00] all of our querying
Rachel Remick: [00:14:01] The one thing that I I’ll never know if it was a no, because she didn’t like it, or because I did the wrong thing now I torture myself.
You know, I think if I did the wrong thing and she loved it, probably she would have contacted me. I don’t know. But someone who yelled at me. Probably I would have taken it. I mean, I listened to your podcast now and saying, Hey, don’t take an agent that, you know, back then, you know, I think it’s like, Oh, if they want me, I want them.
But I just tried to say, it’s not about you. It’s not about me. Everybody has bad days. I have bad days. And the job that I was in, then maybe I was short with somebody. And when I took myself out of the equation, I thought the kind of person I am, I want to try to fix this. If I can. I don’t want to leave this bad taste in my mouth.
So I just quickly shot her an email back. I apologized. I said, you know, I’m really sorry that I didn’t pay attention to your protocol. You know, part of me wanted to like joke and say, so is that a no? [00:15:00] It’s like, no, don’t do that. She might not get your humor tempting, but exactly. So I just apologize and I did thank her.
I said, you know, thank you for letting me know. And. Next time. I will know better. You know, if I have another project, I hope the door’s still open for me to query you again. And I sent it and I never got a reply back, but I was okay with that. Going on the Manuscript Wish List and really reading what people are looking for, clicking the links to go then on their websites.
You know, there’s always three or four avenues to see what an agent wants. There’s the wishlist, there’s their websites, there’s their Twitter. So I’m like, I’m not going to make that rookie
again. And I’ve recovered and I’m pretty confident now when I am querying and. No one has been no, one’s yelled
Julie Kingsley: [00:15:55] in a regular world.
If someone. You re you email somebody and they [00:16:00] don’t respond to you. And then you are allowed in the regular world to say, Hey, just touching base. And that’s a polite thing to do, but in the writing world where the slush piles are so busy, you know, it sometimes can be okay instead of it’s not. Okay. And so it’s, it’s kinda, it’s really vague and
and we’ve tried to kind of de-mystify that, but Jessica is there like the quintessential place to look for.
The etiquette. Of querying.
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:16:29] I think the standard thing to do is to go to each agent’s website and see what they say. But a lot of agents don’t say anything on their website. Right. So, okay. So if they don’t say anything there, I would do a Twitter advanced search with, you know, tweets from that agent.
Look for the words. Check-in look for timeline, look for the word months, look for the word weeks. You might be able to pull up something that way. If you can’t find anything there, I would say check in around You know, 12 weeks is probably normal for a query. I can’t imagine anyone would be that [00:17:00] worried about you checking in at 12 weeks, because that’s actually a pretty long time.
And you know, for a manuscript also, probably maybe a little bit longer, like if it’s been six months, you should check in on a full request. So I, I know. It feels like they’re making a judgment on your very soul, but I think your interpretation that that agent was probably having a bad day is probably the most accurate, but I am sorry that happened.
Thank you. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t see any harm in checking in unless they specifically say they don’t want that. And some people do. And some people, you know, said that eight years ago on their Twitter, but if you find that on their Twitter, for me, Twitter advanced search you’re ahead of everybody else.
So, I mean, can they expect everyone to do that? No, of course not. If they’re not going to put it on their website, I think going with industry standard is fine. Yeah. I mean, people sometimes will check in seven days after they send a query and, you know, I kind of roll my eyes and think it’s a little unprofessional, but that’s not an automatic fail.
Julie Kingsley: [00:17:55] Rachel has some great advice for life
Rachel Remick: [00:17:57] work. Don’t take anything personally, [00:18:00] even if you think that you made the worst mistake and. Let’s say you even afford yourself that and you say, Oh boy, I screwed up. There are so many more agents and opportunities and everyone has bad days. Everyone says things they don’t mean even, even personally, you know, in your own life, you may some say something to someone, a best friend snap at them because you know, you didn’t have your coffee yet for something, even as trivial as that.
And we all have bad days. We all have good days and you can just, does it hurt to tell yourself that person was having a bad day? It does not hurt to tell yourself that it helps keep making those mistakes and recovering. And if you didn’t make any mistakes, then you wouldn’t know what to do. Really.
Julie Kingsley: [00:18:53] Next step. We have Nicole Moleti a suspense writer in West Hartford, Connecticut. You know, that advice they give [00:19:00] writers every year after NaNo to not send your book right away without
Suzy Vitello: [00:19:03] editing it.
Nicole Moleti: [00:19:04] When we finished, we like got the story out and the words were on the page for the very first time.
And we wrote the end. We thought that we were done. So we’re like, this is great. We just read a book like what’s everyone’s problem is so easy and great. So but no I’m talking about literally we wrote the end and then we sent it to someone. So that was really bad.
My partner screamed at me cause I said, Oh, I sent last night, this agent, this draft. And she’s like, why would you do that? Whatever. So I’m like, it’s fine. I mean, it’s our first agent we’ve ever sent it to and nothing’s going to happen. Who cares? Well, the next day she’s like, please send me your full manuscript.
So then we had the biggest fight of our lives because we had to stay up all night and try to fix it and fix the typos and everything. So,
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:19:55] you think this would be the end of the story? Send a query, got a request, stay up all night to [00:20:00] finish it. What else could happen? So
Nicole Moleti: [00:20:01] what’s funny is at thriller Fest, we saw that agent and the agents were actually talking and saying, do not under any circumstance, send us a draft of your thing because you get like one shot.
We saw her and told her we sent you our very first draft. And you were kind enough to ask for our manuscript. Then we sent you one that wasn’t really much better. And so we just want to tell you like that, sorry about that. That was like not good. And she was so gracious and she was like, you know, because I think a lot of these workshops scare you into thinking that everyone’s just like, mean and horrible.
And she was like, so send it again. It’s not a big deal. So just email me again. And we were like, Oh, okay. So anyways, long story short, we got a different agent and it all worked out. But I just think it’s important to know that because we really didn’t know. We just had no clue what we were doing.
So, but we did get an agent who believed in the bones of the story. Thank God . So she was like, this is my, we always die laughing. We were [00:21:00] like, she is never going to do this again, but she took a chance. So, so she signed us with like, not a great copy. And then we did follow through and do it, but you know, then COVID hit, I mean, it’s been like a Rocky road to sell this book, but anyways, it all worked out.
I think like us as a brand and like the bones of the story, and it was, it’s very timely.
It’s like really, really it’s, it’s really good and unique topic and Institute. So she was like, I really think this could be great, but it needs a ton of work, but I want to sign you up. You guys. And we went to thriller Fest and we had a lot of opportunities. So maybe that was part of it too. I don’t know.
But anyways, we’re so happy. Obviously it worked out a lot of hard work and then now with the publisher even more horrible,
Julie Kingsley: [00:21:47] but
now Nicole has a two book deal with Lake union publishing. So excited.
Nicole Moleti: [00:21:52] I just got my developmental edit back from my publisher editor and it’s. Mountains of work. So [00:22:00] I feel like it’s, for us, it’s less like, we’re never like, this is our craft.
And like, don’t tell us what to do. We’re like, please tell us, cause we don’t have a clue. So we need your help. Say, just be prepared. Don’t start sending out queries until you’re completely a hundred percent ready to send out that full manuscript and. Be proud and it feel like it’s
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:22:22] strong enough. We are so happy for Nicole and her writing partner, but yes, please edit your work before sending it out.
Julie Kingsley: [00:22:30] Next up, we have a writer who made a mistake. That’s all too easy and too common.
Juliana Savia Clayton: [00:22:36] My name is Juliana Savia Clayton. I write some picture books, but mostly young adult. I have two novels completed. I was querying an agent who I was comping my book to one of his client’s books. So I’m very excited.
Like. Okay. It’s a great fit for his list. You know, it’s similar, but not too similar to it would be competition. So I go to my, my section where I [00:23:00] have my word count and you know, my title and my comps. And I say, my book is similar to your client, client name and book title, right? Ascend it. Great. I’m excited.
The way I do my queries is I have them all. I do them each in a word document. So then I just copy and paste them and do their Prairie checker at the email. So for my next class, I do save as change agents name, replace the personalization, but what I don’t check every time is the book stats, the word count the title, and yes, the comps.
So I sent, I want to say four or five more queries saying your client author name. When they know very well, that’s not their clients, just
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:23:44] so you know, this happens all the time.
Juliana Savia Clayton: [00:23:49] And so in my head, you know, I don’t know if they’re angry with me for being so dumb or if they’re laughing at me or I just know it’s bad.
And then I’ve told five different agents that they have clients that they [00:24:00] don’t actually have. So that was how it got started. It was not a big deal. I believe I haven’t got personalized responses on some of those queries. And none of them said you’re an idiot. That’s not my client. So yeah. I don’t remember exactly how I discovered it, but I do remember.
That of those four or five, it ended up being perfectly fine. Everything is better because I’ve learned from it. I’m onto my second book. The first one didn’t pan out for whatever reason. My current theory is that nobody wanted it to stop yet in 2020 when the world was on fire. But I’m sure there were other reasons, but yeah, I, I, I query smarter now.
I I think I’m in a better place, even though I don’t have an agent right now, I I’ve been getting more success, more partial requests and everything from, from the second book. So I have changed my process. Yes. Because I thought what if they don’t notice it? I don’t want to follow up and draw attention to
I reread every query. [00:25:00] And a lot of the time I’ll use the, the reading feature on Microsoft word, where it will read it to you. That takes a lot of time, but you can make sure that you’re catching things like that. So, yeah. Instead of just rereading the new part, I’m using air quotes, the personalization, you know, the agent’s name.
Of course now I reread the entire query just to make sure I haven’t done anything like that. I don’t think I’ll do anything like that again, but I didn’t think I’d do anything like that the first time. So lesson learned is just it never hurts to triple check, even if it takes a little bit of extra time rushing is, is usually not going to end up well for you.
Maybe contrary to what some other people would say. I say, allow yourself to freak out, let yourself have a moment. And it wasn’t, you know, what I did was silly. It was a silly mistake and, you know, have a moment where you just are frustrated with yourself. That’s okay. I think that’s valid. I think your feelings are valid and And then try and move on, you know, reach out, make that [00:26:00] social connection, you know, make a funny tweet about it on Twitter or whatever.
And then, you know, put it behind you because you know, you have to move on, you do get one shot per agent per book, but you can’t do anything about it. So query on, but you just learn so much as you query Even if you feel like you failed, because your first book didn’t get you an agent. You, I learned so much.
I am such a stronger querier than I was a year ago. Querier is that a word I’m going to make it a word I’m a stronger querier than I was a year ago. And you do have to make mistakes to to get better sometimes
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:26:35] last, but certainly not least. We have an author. Whose first page panel went hilariously for us wrong.
Agentless In America: [00:26:41] I went to a conference, a lot of conference where we get to submit the first page of any manuscript we’re working on, built the nerve up to submit my first page. And of course they pick it and it’s the last page. So I am on the edge of my seat. I immediately recognized my [00:27:00] page by the first sentence.
And as they’re reading it, the person who. I was going through my first page, read the word scrapping instead of scraping. And it was referring to scraping something off someone’s shoes. So he was scrapping instead of scraping. I never picked up on that. Because I read it by myself in my head. And of course you put in whatever you hear in your head as opposed to what is there.
Okay. I died. I thought I’m like, they’re going to cut my page off right there. Everything on it. That’s it for a writer, 200 or more writers. Everyone peers, tons of agents. And I’m just like, that’s it. My career is over it’s anonymous. But of course, to me it was everything. And I’m sure everyone knew it was my page because I was in my like seat vibrating.
I was so scared, like so trembling. So I’m like, everyone knows it’s mine. And I was probably so far back into my seat. I was the chair at that point, you
Julie Kingsley: [00:27:54] know, you guys, this happens sometimes, especially during panels where everyone has their different points of views and people were [00:28:00] getting tired.
Sometimes there can even be a brawl about to
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:28:04] she’s talking about me.
Julie Kingsley: [00:28:06] I was thinking about Jessica. But yeah, sometimes guys we had, when I put on a live writing conference, Jessica really stood up for a writer because she knew what was on that second page and nobody else did. And it made all the difference.
Agentless In America: [00:28:21] It urged me to look for ways to be able to pick up on those small mistakes that I myself was reading in my head correctly. And so that’s how I found read aloud and word or immersive reader when you’re on your email and I use it now, so that picks up all those little missing words or misses.
Pronunciations. And I don’t have to live through that again, because it was horrible. But in all actuality, it didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, they read the whole page. They were impressed by my grammar. They were like, Oh, she uses. Semi-colons like, that’s awesome. And they’re all impressed with that.
And they didn’t even mention it. That it was scrapping and instead of scraping. And so, and then I was [00:29:00] back up and they were like, she has the most amazing grammar, or like they were so excited. I was like, you like semi-colons I liked you too. Oh, it was fun. It was a learning experience. I’m glad I went through it.
Would not want to live through it again. I got multiple full manuscript requests. And I have had an agent who was quite interested in it. And she has since given me feedback on, Hey, let’s edit it, work with it. And we’re currently in that stage, I’m not signed yet, but she was like, Oh, so by the way, your other projects that you mentioned in the meeting, Send them my way too.
So we’re kind of working that way. So I was really excited about that. It’s good to know that, like, if we make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, which we all like to think it is. The successful writer is one who is stubborn and never quits. People are like, no, it’s not good. And I’m like, I’ll make it better.
Don’t worry. You make mistakes. I made tons and tons of mistakes. I made mistakes, you know, growing up and you learn, and it’s not the end of the world, especially with this.
[00:30:00] Julie Kingsley: [00:30:00] So we
like to send a big, thank you to all the writers who generously took the time to speak
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:30:05] with. Yes. And thank you so much for listening.
We have a gift for you. The first three people to write to Academy at manuscript wishlist.com with Suzy’s password will receive a copy of her book, Suzy. And what’s a magic password that someone can email us with. And I’m the first person who emails it to us. We’ll send them a copy of
Suzy Vitello: [00:30:22] the book. Oh, my gosh.
Oh, well, could fault land the title of it. Be the password. Great. And June
Julie Kingsley: [00:30:32] 2nd at 8:00 PM Eastern time, Thalia joins us for a free event. All about nurturing your emotional and creative self.
Thalia Elie: [00:30:39] Oh, this is Thalia Elie. And I’m here to share just a little tidbit on how to keep your energy up and how to take situations and notice the positive in them.
So you can keep growing and keep writing and keep sharing your story that we
Suzy Vitello: [00:30:53] all need.
Julie Kingsley: [00:30:56] Look for links to connect with those fabulous writers in the show
Jessica Sinsheimer: [00:30:59] notes. [00:31:00] Thank you so much for joining us.
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