When I first started writing YA, which was around July of 2011, I didn't even know about the writing community on Twitter. I had an account, of course, but I didn't start following any agents or authors until well after I finished my first manuscript. Writing has always been a big part of my life, and as a kid I swore one day I'd become a published author. That dream dwindled after a while, because I knew that college wasn't for me and assumed I wouldn't get a chance if I didn't take classes. Silly, I know. It wasn't until one night last year that I decided it was now or never.
I wrote my first YA Fantasy titled In the Light of Anastasia. It revolved around a girl who discovered she was a Healer whose power came from the stars. Believe it or not, I later found out that there was a self published book with an identical premise that had almost every single thing similar to what happened in my book. I swear I'd never read it before. So anyway. It was complete at 43K and I was like, "I'm amazing! This is the best thing ever! I should query this." *shaking my head* Wow. What a newb! Needless to say, I got nearly a hundred rejections. However, I did get a request from a publishing company that was a complete joke. Though at the time I didn't know it. Nothing came of it, but even that little bit of hope (even if it was for nothing) gave me what I needed to continue.
I wrote a vampire novel titled Crimson shortly after. I mean, we all write a vampire book at some point right? Right. As you could imagine it got major rejections. No one even wanted to look at it. Now I get why, but at the time I was crushed. Let's not forget to mention that I knew nothing about critique partners or beta readers. This was all strictly me reading through my manuscript two or three times and thinking it was good to go. *le sigh*
My third book was titled Revival. It was a YA Urban Fantasy about yet another girl who had powers. I thought bringing a Paladin into the YA world would be original. Side note: One thing you learn along the way is that no idea is completely original. That's just cold hard facts. There's always gonna be something similar to your manuscript, whether it's big or small, it's there. With that, I collected yet another round of about seventy rejections.
Did that stop me? Nope.
My fourth book was THE one. It had to be. I remember telling my husband about it and he said, "This is it." I doubted him, because I didn't want to get my hopes up. He still says, "I told you so." HA!
So here's my query for the book that got me an agent.
Darkness surrounds sixteen-year-old Bailey Green when ghostly Hannah Melbrooke seeks to consume Bailey’s life––a life she believes should be her own.
Having a ghost attached to you isn’t exactly what Bailey would call ideal. The victim of a drowning––an unknown force locks Hannah within the confines of Bailey’s bedroom for years. When Hannah escapes into the outside world, Bailey’s haunting burden becomes an impossible secret to keep. Bailey soon begins to see Hannah for who she really is––a spiteful soul looking for vengeance.
When Hannah threatens the life of Bailey’s best friend, Eric Montgomery, she demands Bailey’s cooperation in her resurrection. Realizing her love for Eric is more than friendship, Bailey is willing to give whatever it takes to save him. But Bailey doesn’t know that the more she believes in Hannah, the stronger she becomes, granting her freedom from her prison. Bailey must find a way to defeat Hannah before she kills Eric and destroys Bailey’s life and soul.
DROWNING BAILEY is a YA Horror with romantic elements complete at 56,000 words. It will interest fans of Anna Dressed in Blood and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and xxx-xxx-xxxx.
I can also be found on Twitter at: xheatherxmariex
Thank you for considering my manuscript.
In the end, I only sent out forty queries. Within two in a half months, I got seven requests. I've only ever received that one request from a not-so-reliable publishing company. So those seven requests were huge for me. I was ecstatic. I had originally stopped at thirty nine queries, but when Michelle Witte announced she had begun working with Mansion Street, I knew I had to query her. We had been corresponding through Twitter for sometime, and I knew she was interested in ghost stories and the like. DROWNING BAILEY showed me that writing horror/supernatural was my element and she was perfect for it.
When I got her request for a full, I flipped! She was who I wanted from the get go and I knew it in my heart. You can only imagine how I felt six weeks later when she asked to schedule a phone call. I had no doubts that Michelle and I would be perfect together and I know that even more so now. When she offered to represent me, a huge sense of accomplishment hit me. All of that hard work amounted to something and I have all my friends, betas, and critique partners to thank.
Well, this post got a little out of hand. I didn't realize I would write this much. Why don't we get to the giveaway, shall we? You have until Monday, December 3rd to enter to have the first 25 pages of your manuscript critiqued. Good luck!