September 23, 2012

What You Do With It

I wanted to post something different today: the email thread of my last rejection letter for Between the Lines.

After the February 2011 writers' conference during which I pitched the manuscript to this agent, I decided that if I received a rejection from her, I was going to self-publish. That decision was the culmination of almost a year's worth of queries to agents and two manuscript-pitching sessions at conferences. Her rejection wasn't the lone catalyst for my decision, it merely represented my last unsuccessful attempt to land an agent. (Because the decision had already been made, I didn't explore the suggestion she included in her email. Had I followed her advice, I might have found an agent, and eventually a traditional publisher. I'll never know; for me, that route became the road not followed.)

I'm not going to include/reveal the agent's name, because (1) it doesn't matter; (2) she was sweet and professional, but it would be bad form, I think, even if she'd been rude; (3) hopefully, she made her decision based on what/who she was comfortable representing at the time, and she wouldn't regret her decision now, even if she vaguely recognized my name on the NYT bestseller list. (I actually have no delusions that any of the agents who turned me down remember having done so or ever will, though emails and messages from readers or other authors suggesting otherwise make me smile. Seriously, who hasn't dreamed about someone who ignored/dumped/rejected/fired you earlier in life seeing you at your most fabulous?)

But this isn't about her. This is about me and what I did with her thanks-but-no-thanks, because everyone experiences rejection. What we do with those rebuffs makes all the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. I'd love to say I seized the reins to my destiny and giddyapped into my future, but that wouldn't be an accurate depiction. I simply heaved a sigh and sought encouragement from my husband/ newly-minted IT department before timidly going where no Tammara Webber had gone before.

3/3/11
1:18 pm

Hello Ms. X,

It was lovely meeting you last Saturday, and I appreciated the chance to pitch my manuscript to you. I hope you enjoyed your stay in DFW.

As requested, I've attached a synopsis of my manuscript, Between the Lines, and 100 pages for your review. I have no previously published work, but I do have a few "shelf novels" to my name that will never see the light of day. Between the Lines is my best work so far. My query is below my signature. Please let me know if you need anything further.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Tammara Webber

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3/7/11
11:52 am

Thank you, Tammara. I look forward to reading more of this!

All best wishes,

X

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3/31/11
11:43 am

Dear Tammara,

Thank you for sharing your work with me—and for your patience in waiting to hear back. You write well, this is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed following these characters and reading this but I’m afraid that this is not quite right for me.

Still, I hope you will continue writing and sending out your work. If you haven't done so already, you may wish to look at The Jeff Herman Guide to Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents—there, you should be able to find someone who's a better fit for your work.

Best of luck with this and future projects.

All best wishes,
XX
Associate Agent

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The above email, forwarded to my husband Paul:
3/31/11
12:54 pm

Well, I asked for it, so here it is.

(forwarded message from Agent X here)

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Answer from Paul:
3/31/11
1:22 pm

I guess the part that confuses me is the 1) writing well, 2) lots of fun, 3) enjoyed the characters and 4) enjoyed reading it BUT not interested... Very odd.

Well, now its up to us. Let's do this thing!!

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Me to Paul:
3/31/11
3:13 pm

Okay. I'm trying very hard to look at this as "I'm free." I guess I could say I knew this was coming. I'm scared but not frozen.

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So, there you go. The biggest, most important decision I ever made, and how do I term it? I'm scared but not frozen.

What are you not doing because the thought of doing it scares the hell out of you? What are you being told you'd be nuts to try? Are you listening to an argument that includes any equivalent of the phrase "because it's always been done that way"?

Maybe it's time to make your own path. Maybe it's time to tell that fear SCREW YOU and go do that nutty thing, whatever it is. Maybe it's simply time to be scared but not frozen.

September 16, 2012

Update

Readers and reviewers have lots of authors to keep straight, so I thought I'd do a short post to bring everyone up to speed with what I'm working on now, what's coming next, etc.

Penguin/Razorbill UK
I've signed with Razorbill UK to republish Easy and the Between the Lines series, all of which are currently indie-pubbed in North America. Razorbill will also oversee the publication of a final BTL and a second stand-alone for the UK/Commonwealth market.

Between the Lines #4
BTL #4 (title TBA) is my current work-in-progress (WIP). I don't have a release date yet - but my best guess is late spring/early summer 2013. This novel is a continuation of Good For You (BTL #3).

Easy
First, please know that this story is very important to me. Because of the underlying subject matter, Easy was conceived, promised and written as a stand-alone novel. For this reason, first and foremost, there will be no sequel. Though it thrills me that some readers love J&L so much they want more of them, I won't be able to do that. Thank you so much for your understanding. It is deeply appreciated.

Signed novels
I'm still offering signed copies of all four books in paperback form. This is a limited time offer, which means it's probably only good until I run out of copies currently on hand! (Please don't forget to fill in your personalization request, unless you just want me to sign it.)

Thank you!
Finally, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who's encouraged me on this fantastic journey - from my family and RL friends to the many authors, bloggers and readers I've met online. I hope you'll stick around for more.

September 8, 2012

Comments

Just a quick note - I've removed the comment links on the blog (I didn't even know I could do that until recently - DER), not because I don't love getting your wonderful comments (I do!), but because I feel horrible that I don't have time to reply back (read: reply back thoughtfully).

From now on, this site will be more of a website for announcements than an interactive blog, but never fear, I haven't become a total hermit yet. My About Me page has social media links, and the FAQs page lists an email address at the bottom if you want to say hello or ask a question privately.

I'm always brainstorming/writing/revising/editing my next book and/or helping one or more of my critique partners ready their manuscripts for publication, and I suspect I'll soon have more promotional requirements than usual. These things add up to slower response times on messages/emails and the like, so I trust you'll all be patient with me.

It's a busy life, but I'm loving it. Thank you so very much for your continued support and encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to me.

September 4, 2012

Penguin/Razorbill UK Announcement

I'm thrilled to announce that Penguin/Razorbill UK will be publishing Easy and the Between the Lines series for the UK/Commonwealth! (See the official press release here.) The fourth BTL and another New Adult novel are expected in 2013.

If I've seemed inordinately busy lately, it's because I've been reviewing the four existing manuscripts and their new edits, most of which consist a whole lotta punctuation flip-flops, a few word alterations for clarity, and many additions of the letter u. Reid now has a snarky sense of humour, and Graham's sister now has a flat off DeKalb. Those of you who know my Anglophilic tendencies know I am giddy over this. I celebrated by watching Bridget Jones (best-last-line-in-movie-ever) last night for the thirty-seventh time. (That's actually an educated guess; I haven't officially counted viewings.)