I don’t actually have a dogma to subscribe to, but I really like that phrase, and karma seems to have caught up with me after getting dumped on for months and months and months.
The Conference was spectacular. And it all culminated in the events of late Saturday afternoon.
My pitch session was with the senior acquisitions editor for Random House/Del Rey books. I planned to pitch Just Cause. I sat down with her and explained this was part of a series of books (because editors love to hear that you are more than a one-trick pony), then launched into my pitch.
After a minute, she stopped me and said that she’d already said no to two other books this year with the exact same plot as mine. My mouth clamped shut and I was thinking I had blown it. Then she said for me to tell her about another book in the series. I only have one other that is fully complete, so I figured I’d discuss Deep Six. I mentioned that it was a Top 100 Semifinalist in the ABNA contest, and she smiled and said she’d been a judge for it, but she hadn’t read my particular book. So I explained the gist of the story and her eyes got big and she said (and these were her exact words) “That’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard all weekend. Send me a hundred pages.” And this is from a cynical, seen-it-all editor who never requests pages and when she does, never requests that many! And while I was trying to restart my heart, she asked me to tell her about some of the other books in the series, so I mentioned Light of Allah in three words: Muslim super hero. Same reaction from her – eyes wide, interested. She said she wanted me to include a paragraph on each of the other books in the series (which, for those of you keeping score include Just Cause, The Archmage, Enter the Jackrabbit, Light of Allah, Deep Six, and The Greatest Generation – and those are only the ones I’ve done some work on. There are others which I’ve only plotted).
I went downstairs to the bar to celebrate with my friends.
While I was down there, I saw the agent to whom I’d pitched Deep Six last year. She had requested a partial at the pitch, then a full, and then I never heard from her again. So I figured, whatthehell, I’m having a good afternoon, I’ll push my luck, and I went to talk to her. She remembered me right away and remembered my project and when I explained what had happened her face fell. Apparently her assistant had quit some time ago and as a parting shot, shredded everything in the office. She’d never gotten to read my manuscript and since she operated on a paper system instead of email, she didn’t even have a way to know I’d sent it.
She told me to send the full back to her. I mentioned the Top 100 in the contest and that the Random House editor had requested 100 pages, and her eyes got really wide and she said I needed to send it to her right away.
It gets better. She saw The Milkman on my nametag and asked me about it. I whispered (because you’re not supposed to say this to agents) that it was my self-published book. She asked what it was about, so I told her. She said send it to her too, even though she probably couldn’t sell it. I happened (yeah, like it was a coincidence) to have some copies in my car, so I told her I could give her one right then. I went and got it and signed it for her and she carried it around for the rest of the evening!
I may not have landed an agent. I may not have landed a publisher.
But I may have landed both.
Wish me luck!