Nobody who hasn’t tried to enter the world of publishing will understand how thrilling this sentence is:
Wendy Vogel is represented by Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency.
It’s such a simple sentence. And it makes it sound so easy.
Write a book. Find an agent. Enjoy success.
And in a way, it was pretty easy. I got her attention with a murder mystery. I hardly queried it at all…fewer than ten queries total. I pitched it at a conference and got requests there, too. Carly Watters found it unsolicited in her email slush and liked it. She emailed me and asked for some revisions, which I made. She asked for a few more, which I made.
She liked them.
She called me.
She offered representation, and I accepted.
Simple. A slush pile success story.
And if this were the first novel I’d written, it would be miraculous.
Wasn’t the second, nor the third.
The novel that nabbed me the agent is my fourth. The first is being edited at this moment for a small publisher release later this spring. He’s doing an amazing job, and the book that comes out is going to be pretty cool. The second and third are gathering metaphorical dust on my hard drive. They may never see the light of day, and that’s OK. If they turn out to have been nothing more than writing exercises so I could learn how to write a decent book, then I’m all right with that. Anything worth doing takes practice.
It’s funny. If someone picks up a paintbrush for the first time and slaps some oil on a canvas, they don’t expect to be Rembrandt in one day. They expect to spend years perfecting their skill and honing their talent until eventually their paintings are worth looking at.
But everyone who can read thinks they can write a novel. And it’s true. Anyone can. A novel is just a whole lot of words typed all together.
A good novel is something more. It takes time and skill. It takes practice. How to plot? How to convey? How to interest and captivate?
It took me a while to figure it out. I painted a lot of ugly paintings.
But I got better, and eventually it happened. I finally wrote something good enough to land an agent. And not just any agent. Carly’s the real deal. Check out the company website. I got really lucky.
So for all of you out there in the query trenches, take heart. Keep writing. If you’re not getting the responses you want from your current manuscript, write another one. And another one. And another one. Until you get it right.
Because when you do, when you finally get the call, every word you’ve ever typed will be worth it.