When I first started writing The Apollo Academy, my only desire was to write an inspiring story about a young girl with a passion for aviation. After all, I was a devoted reader with flying experience. But it certainly wasn’t as easy as it sounded at the time and I need to thank the people who have helped me get this far. Most of all, I need to thank my husband. He not only encouraged me to just sit down in front of a blank screen to write, but he also read the first few awful drafts. Secondly, I need to thank my first beta readers, Megan Sorenson and Ashley Carlson.Without their support and kind words I may have never gotten past my first draft. So thank you for believing in me before I ever really believed in myself.
Now moving on to what you're really hear to read about:
I started querying The Apollo Academy in late February 2012. Knowing all that I know now, I can look back and say that I started too soon. As more of a newbie to the whole publishing process, I had no idea how to write an effective query letter or really even understand what a query was. As bad as this sounds, I still wouldn't change a thing. My first attempts to snag a literary agent taught me a lot in a short period of time. I’ve always tended to learn things the hard way and it took those early query rejections to teach me a few valuable lessons. It was after these rejections that I discovered the QueryShark blog, Writer’s Digest free tutorials, writing contests/critiques, writer friends, and most of all, Twitter.
By March/April I had a query letter that worked. I received 3 requests for the manuscript, but ultimately all 3 were rejected. “I love the concept, but this isn’t quite right for me…” It’s rejections like these that really make a writer question what’s wrong, what’s not working. Without feedback, I had no choice but to contemplate every possible change I could make to get the manuscript stronger/more likeable. I implemented a few revisions and early June I began querying again.
June 6th, 2012 I sent a query to the Corvisiero Literary Agency
June 30th, 2012 Brittany emails and asks for the first 50pgs of The Apollo Academy
August 6th, 2012 Brittany emails and says she’s enjoying the story so far and wants to see the full manuscript. By this point, I’m an extremely patient person. (Ok, so that’s a stretch, but I was prepared for a long wait.)
August 8th, 2012 at 1:02 AM Brittany emails. I’m shocked by her quick response and hesitant to even read the email. But when I started reading she was saying things like “I love your book,” “I couldn’t stop reading,” etc. She wanted to talk about representation and that I should tell everyone else who had my manuscript that I had an offer!!!
Same day- I emailed the other agents who had my manuscript saying that if they were still interested in my manuscript that they needed to get back to me by August 16th. (This is standard for the industry. I'll post another blog about this for my writer friends. And a quick thanks to Dee who kept me sane during this whole week) Cue tons of responses!!! It was absolutely insane. Agents were asking to see the full manuscript, scheduling phone calls to offer representation, while a few were passing with compliments. After months of waiting, I was now receiving instant responses.
All of the agents I spoke with this past week were great, BUT I knew the second I hung up the phone with Brittany that she was the one I wanted to work with. She completely blew me away with how well she knew MY characters, how she could describe how she felt while reading certain parts of MY story, and how she could articulate the areas of the story that could be stronger. Needless to say, I’m over the moon!