Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Upsy Daisy Day

I was surprised and delighted to learn that June 8th is Upsy Daisy Day. I know this is only the 6th, but I blog on Wednesdays, so I'll have to celebrate it early.

According to this pageUpsy Daisy Day encourages you to face the day positively, and to get up ‘gloriously, gratefully and gleefully’ each morning. 

Daisies are my favorite flower. I carried them in my wedding and try to grow them every place I live. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. I had some good ones going before our drought last year. We're moving next week, so I won't plant any more this summer, but maybe next year.

When I first saw the words, Upsy Daisy Day, I thought it meant a day to turn things upside down. My life is doing that, since we're moving!

My writing career is also turning upside down, or inside out, or something. I'll reprint part of the blog I did for All Things Writing on Monday, since I want to say the same thing here. It's a long tale, but there's a good payoff at the end.
Over the years, I've queried hundreds (yes, hundreds) of agents. Here are my stats. 212 for one project--15 interested agents, 2 positive responses, but no offers. 55 for another project, 3 interested agents, no ultimate positive responses. 63 queries, 3 showed interest, but in the end no positive responses. That's a partial list because I was querying for a few years before I started keeping track on Query Tracker. I made a decision not to keep querying agents not long ago.

I had much better luck with small press. One of the first two I queried took CHOKE last year. However, we parted company in May and I am self-publishing the rest of that series.

Even though I say I had quit querying agents, there has always been one agency I'm interested in. That one is BookEnds. I've sent them proposals several times because of their excellent track records with cozies. I also know some authors who employ them and are happy there.

So, earlier this year, my good friend Peg Cochran/Meg London, who is writing two series for BookEnds and Berkley Prime Crime, alerted me to a new idea being put out by a Berkley editor, an idea for a series set in Texas, where I live. She encouraged me to turn in a proposal for it. I've done more than one proposal for BookEnds in the past, and they've liked some, but have never taken me on. A proposal is three chapters of a mystery, the synopsis for the rest, and sketches for two more books. These take me about a month.

I told Peg I just don't have an extra month right now. We're moving from the Austin area to the Waco area in the 13th of June, as I've mentioned, and I'm also finalizing my second Imogene Duckworthy novel, SMOKE, to publish right after our move. (And yes, I'm also going crazy.)

Peg suggested I submit my novel, CHOKE, instead of a proposal. This didn't seem right, since it's not the same type mystery, a cozy, but the worst that would happen would be another turn down from BookEnds. (Their turn downs are polite, so it's not so bad.)

I submitted the novel, went to Malice, met the editor with the Texas proposal idea, and came home. Soon after Malice, I got an email from Jessica Faust, the agent I had sent the file to. She liked it! But didn't need more clients, and besides the Texas idea had been taken by someone else. BUT, she would forward my file to her partner Kim Lionetti. Two days later (2 days!), on a Friday, Kim emailed with positive comments, asking if I was available for a phone call on Monday! I had to postpone my husband's cancer treatment and the baby's open heart surgery (just kidding!), but I was there for the phone call.

All of my hyper-ventilating over the weekend was for nothing! We talked and even laughed, even though Kim had a bad cold, we sent some emails back and forth and worked out details, and last Friday, Kim emailed a contract! I signed it and mailed it back Saturday morning. I think it's official. After I had virtually stopped looking for an agent, and had gone whole-hog into self-publishing, I got an agent. I'll keep on with the Duckworthy series, but Kim will agent my Neanderthal series and the new series I'll write for her.

This is my Upsy Daisy tale! I like it so far.