Asked by rajwahi
If you sent the query before 1/11 and haven’t heard back then there are two possibilities— either it got lost somewhere in the internet ether or you sent it to the wrong email address. Queries should be addressed to the agent of your choice and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to re-send.
UM… Why does this never happen to me?
2012 has been the year of all years for me so far.
Seriously. We’re talking ONE. AMAZING. YEAR.
I have so very much to be thankful for, and as such, I think it’s time for a confession. Bear with me… it’s a long one.
In March of this year, I made a decision to change careers. I had been teaching theatre at a small school in Texas, and though I loved my students (still do), I knew I wanted to do something different with my life. So, while I was teaching I started interning at a literary agency and working for a small publisher. At that point, I’d been writing for about 4 ½ years and was one semester in to a Masters Program in Creative Writing… all while continuing to teach full time.
When the school year ended, I decided it was time to jump off the cliff and leave my nice, safe, steady teaching job behind. I would build my wings on the way down (and hope desperately that they worked before I hit bottom).
So when the summer started, I threw everything into my writing and my new endeavors into the publishing business.
During the summer, I took a break from the YA speculative fiction manuscript that I’d been wrestling with for about a year, and I wrote a contemporary romance about a college-aged heroine. It was fun and silly and completely unlike my other work. Around the same time, I was promoted at the literary agency to the position of agent-in-training.
From my years as a reader, writer, masters student, blogger, and my new time working in publishing, I was very educated on the state of publishing today, especially with respect to college-aged fiction or what many have taken to calling, “New Adult Fiction.”
Anyone who has written and attempted to publish New Adult works in the last few years will tell you—it was more than an uphill battle. It was almost impossible. In the last year, more publishers have begun accepting the category (due to popular demand from readers), but they were mostly small publishers or e-only publishers. The few new adult books getting picked up by larger traditional publishers were self-publishing success stories like Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. As an agent-in-training, I knew this better than most. So when I finished my New Adult Contemporary Romance, I made a choice, one that seemed a little crazy at the time.
Before even attempting to pursue traditional publication, I decided to self-publish the book. It was a long shot, but I knew if the book did well enough in self-publishing, it could get picked up by a bigger house and inevitably reach a much larger audience. I chose to do so under a penname for several reasons—1. In case it flopped. 2. Like I said, it is very different from the YA I spend the majority of my time writing, and I think it’s best to keep those two sides of my career seperate. 3. As a young professional in publishing, it looked a little strange for me to self-publish a book (even if it was a logical decision).
So, I self-published the book in mid-October, and it was called LOSING IT by Cora Carmack (my great grandmother’s name). With the help of a few good friends and a lot of fabulous bloggers, the book started getting a lot of buzz before I even released it. The buzz was big enough that it hit number one on the Barnes and Noble Bestseller List during the second day on sale. After that it broke the Amazon Top Ten List, then appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller List. In the first week of sales, I started getting agent and publisher interest. Within a month of publishing, my fabulous agent Suzie Townsend made a deal with William Morrow Paperbacks, an imprint of Harper Collins. The deal was announced in the New York Times (much to my extreme shock and jubilation). The book has also sold to publishers in multiple countries around the world. If you’d like more information about how all of this unfolded, you can check out my Cora blog.
Did I mention I was promoted to Junior Agent at my literary agency job during that same month? Yeah, that happened, too. October will be my favorite month for the rest of forever. :)
The William Morrow version of the e-book is now available for purchase at all online retailers, and the print book is scheduled for release in the late spring. Be Advised: LOSING IT is NOT YA. It is recommended for 18+.
Even though I’d made a very rational decision to self-publish, it was still a long shot. Hundreds of thousands of self-published books never find their audience. With the help of bloggers and readers and a whole lot of luck, mine did. And because it did, it has become increasingly harder to keep these events a secret. My life changed drastically and quickly, and as I prepare to do appearances and signings with the paperback release of LOSING IT, it didn’t make sense not to let all of you in on the news.
So… now you know. Cora Carmack and Brittany Howard are one and the same.
A few close friends and family members were aware of my double life, and to you all I say: Thank you for your support, for your excitement, and for keeping me sane. You officially don’t have to keep it a secret anymore. ;)
A few others have guessed at my dual identity, and to you: thank you for keeping my secret until I could reveal it in my own time. You guys rock.
For those who didn’t know: I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark. It was a necessary evil in the beginning, and since then I’ve barely had a spare minute to contemplate how to reveal this news, but seeing as how my picture appeared in an article today in the New York Times, I figured I needed to make time.
Some have asked if I will continue to write under my pen name, and the answer is absolutely. LOSING IT is still very different in style and content than the YA fiction I’ve been writing for years that will hopefully one day be published under my own name.
I cannot even begin to express the overwhelming joy and love that I have been blessed to experience this year. If the world had ended yesterday, I could have died happy. :)
And I would like to take this opportunity to say to all the writers who follow me: you have to keep going and keep believing. I started writing five years ago. I have poured my blood, sweat, and tears (oh, so many tears) into manuscripts that went nowhere. I wrote LOSING IT in three weeks, and as I already said— my life was flipped upside down in only a month. I’m not saying that self-publishing will be the solution to all of your woes, because for many it isn’t. I am saying that you should be diligent in your writing and just as diligent in your research and awareness of the industry. If I hadn’t known the industry from years of exhaustive research, I would never have known enough about publishing to start a career in it (either as a writer or an agent). If you want writing to be your career, treat it like a business. Know everything you can possibly know about the industry. Stay informed. Stay motivated. Stay persistent.
I love, love, love you all (and that’s the end of my very long post. If you made it to the end, THANK YOU).
So I own or co-own a few businesses that have experienced varying degrees of success. I am in the educational video business, and the book-writing business, and the merchandise distribution business, and the conference running business, and the making YouTube videos with my brother…
Hi friends! I just wanted to give you a few updates and some fun news!
First, in terms of queries, I’m up to date through August 13th. If you queried before then and haven’t heard, I’m afraid your email went awry somewhere in the internet ether.
A few tips on what I do and don’t like to see in queries:
For Requested Partials and Fulls, I’m caught up through July 20th. I’m working on revisions and pitches for a few clients, so I’m moving a little slower than usual on submissions. My response time is averaging from 5 to 7 weeks.
And finally, at the beginning of September, I’m participating in an exciting event called PITCH MADNESS. Organized by some fantastic bloggers, Pitch Madness allows writers seeking representation to submit a 35-word pitch and your first 150 words to be read by at least 9 agents. It’s a great opportunity to get your work seen! Check out the details here at Brenda Drake’s blog.
It also looks like like I’ll be attending and accepting pitches at a Writer’s Conference in Tuscon on October 12-14. See the conference website for more information.