Monday, August 13, 2012

August is Awesome Because of Linda Jackson

This is an awesome Monday for Linda. She's celebrating her 24th wedding anniversary today!  Please congratulate her.  I hear we men aren't always the easiest souls to tolerate day in and day out.

And Linda is so awesome that she doesn't want any presents from you.  In fact, she wants to give one away to one lucky commenter!  

All you have to do is leave her a comment and you'll be cybershuffled in cyberspace for the chance to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride.  (The book is paperback and limited to U.S. addresses.)

You can win this!
The book contains "Honeymooning In a Clown Car", a story written by Linda herself.

I'll announce the winner on my Sunday Surfing post and in a trailing comment here.  (Make sure I can contact you!)  Now, don't be in a big rush.  Get comfortable and read about Linda learning how to wait.







Learning How to Wait

After many years as an independent author--self-publishing and writing reading assessment passages for educational publishers--I decided to try to get an agent. So I wrote something brand new and began the infamous query process. Imagine my elation when I received the following email from an agent at a very prestigious agency only a couple of months later:
Thank you for sending the first fifty pages of your manuscript. I enjoyed it very much and would be happy to read the rest. Also, would you please tell me if other agents are looking at it, and should you receive an offer of representation, I would appreciate a heads up before you make a decision.
After sending the full, I immediately emailed a friend with my fantastic news.

"This is it!" she responded. "You are on your way!" Then she mentioned a sermon she had heard the previous day. The speaker, she told me, had said, "Nobody is teaching the saints how to wait."

My gut reaction to that statement was: "Uh oh…this can’t be good."

My friend’s words to me, however, were: "God says you have waited long enough."

But I knew she was wrong. I knew that message wasn’t the prophecy she thought it was.

Guess who was right?

That email correspondence was in July, 2009. As of July, 2012, three years later, I was still un-agented. Somebody is teaching this saint how to wait. Note: The word "saint" is used in a rather generic way. *winks*

While the manuscript was with that agent for a couple of months, I didn’t bother querying anyone else. And I heard nothing from the previous queries I had submitted…except rejections. So after I got the painful rejection from the agent whom I thought was a sure thing--because she had enjoyed my first fifty pages very much--I started querying again.

I got one request.

I sent that one off, and I waited. And waited. And waited. That was November, 2009. I queried more agents over the next few months. I got no takers.

Somebody was teaching this saint how to wait.


By April, 2010, I had written something new. I sent out 20 queries and got two full requests--one from the agent who had rejected my full the previous July.

The agent rejected me again.

The other agent never responded to my full. So I dropped the idea of querying this new project and looked for fresh meat to query with my old project.

I sent out a fresh batch of queries that October. I got one request right away. But I didn’t have to wait very long for an answer. I got my rejection later that night.

Guess what? I still had not heard back from the agent I had sent the full to in November, 2009. I figured she didn’t have the heart to send a rejection. So I got bold and emailed her and asked her if she would be so kind and give me some feedback (a no-no I’ve been told). She emailed me back and said she never got my manuscript. (Actually she had, but there was a mix-up with the email so it probably got lost.) I asked her if she was still interested in seeing the manuscript. It took her three weeks to respond with a request for the full.

Again, I waited.

Somebody was teaching this saint how to wait.


In the meantime, I got another full request from the batch of queries I had sent out in October. Again, I waited.

I heard back from the November, 2009 agent in January, 2011. I got a detailed rejection and my first R&R (revise and resubmit) invitation. A couple of months later, I heard back from the other agent. Rejection.

I revised and sent the manuscript back to the November ‘09 agent in April, 2011. I also queried other agents with the newly revised, newly renamed manuscript. I got one request, but the agent didn’t make me wait very long.

After a few months, I heard back from the November ’09 agent. Another agent at the same agency was interested in the manuscript, but she wanted a plot change. Okay, another R&R. Third time’s the charm, right? Wrong. That rejection was so painful that I didn’t talk to anyone for days.

It had now been two years since my friend gave me the prophecy that "nobody is teaching the saints how to wait." *laughs hysterically*


I started querying again. From that small batch of queries, I got a partial request. The agent asked for an R&R. I went to work on it right away. This was November, 2011. In December, I touched bases with her to let her know how the rewrite was going. She informed me that her client list was full, so she couldn’t take on any new clients. So, I moved on.

More queries were sent, but I had no success. Then I entered a couple of pitch contests and won the honor of submitting partials to a couple of agents. This was March, 2012.  By April, I had an R&R from one of the agents. Based on her comments, I knew I had really messed up my manuscript from the previous R&R’s. I stopped querying. I stopped entering pitch contests. I put the manuscript to the side and polished up my latest work which I had completed in March.

I queried and touched bases with the two agents from the pitch contests. I got one full request from the queries, plus requests for partials from the two pitch contest agents. I had also won a first-page critique in a random drawing, and that agent also requested the full.

After a month, I got upgraded to a full with one of the pitch agents and got a rejection from the agent who had requested the full from the queries I sent out. And that’s where I am right now…still waiting. Oh, and I’m also back to revising that first manuscript…you know, the one that got four R&R’s and too many rejections to count.

So three years after my friend said, "Nobody is teaching the saints how to wait," I am still waiting.

Somebody is teaching this saint how to wait.


About Linda Jackson:

Linda Jackson is awesome!

Linda Jackson has self-published two books for young readers as well as written reading assessment passages for several educational publishers. She currently writes for Chicken Soup for the Soul and blogs at Writers Do Laundry Too.

Linda's Amazon page



33 comments:

  1. Linda, you're amazing. Such a journey! But I think it's only solidified that this journey *is* for you... We're all waiting in the wings excited to see your success...

    And happy anniversary! Thanks, Jeff, for featuring Linda today!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Morgan. :)

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  2. Happy anniversary Linda. You will get there someday, I'm sure of it. And you'll deserve it after all your trouble.

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    1. Thank you so much, Imogen. :)

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  3. Waiting is hard. I keep telling myself that someone is just giving me time to polish and hone my skills, but it's still hard.

    You're putting your waiting to good use though, keeping busy, improving, and writing more. You're so close, you'll get there!

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    1. PS I've already got the book so don't put me in the drawing. I loved the clown car story!

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    2. Thanks, Sara. And I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :)

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  4. Happy Anniversary, Linda! You are a saint, learning how to wait this out and keep going. It shows perseverance and dedication and a work ethic that many people can learn from. We definitely live in a "want it now" society, but some things are worth waiting for!

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    1. Thanks, Dianne. You have been inspiring me along the way. :)

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  5. You certainly have proved more patience than I did. Your start is a copy of mine, just with two big differences. One I never got my manuscript back in spite of going personally to pick it up. Two, instead of having a friend to tell me some inspiring quote, I got McGraw-Hill friends who convinced me I had been robbed. It was such a hard strike I forgot about the whole "get published" matter for 16 years. And my feelings about it now are like when a dog bites you really bad when a child. The wound comes to heal but you keep a certain phobia to dogs.

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    1. Alex, sorry to hear that you had such a rough start. But don't let the phobia keep you from your destiny. Hang in there. :)

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  6. Happy Anniversary, Linda!

    Sometimes when I write, I think ahead to this kind of thing, and it can bog a writer in the muck. But if you don't try--and wait along with the trying--we have gained nothing. Thank you for sharing, very honestly, your journey.

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. I try not to think about it, but just do it. It helps to keep me going. :)

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  7. Happy anniversary! (Don't think I need that bride book though.)
    Keep waiting - it WILL happen.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. The race is not always given to the swift, right? :)

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  8. You're still writing, that's the important part. Many of your peers have given up at this point.

    Lauren

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. I can't say I haven't wanted to give up many times. It's a rough path. :)

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  9. Ya know what they say. All good things come to (s)he who waits. And you're putting that wait time to good use, so I know good things are coming your way.

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    1. Aww, thanks, Susan. :)

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  10. Linda, I love the way you tell a story. And I understand this journey VERY well. From one person waiting to another, I say, Good things will come. I once heard that the only difference between someone who is unpublished and someone who is published is that the unpublished person gave up. I think the same can be said for finding an agent.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. As always, your comment put a smile on my face. :)

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  11. Wow, what a story. Many would have gotten discouraged, but I guess the lesson to be learned is not to give up. Things won't happen unless you keep trying and the way you're trying I think you will make it.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Thanks, Lee. Like the old song says, "Nobody told me the road would be easy." :)

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  12. Linda, I love how you just keep going. You're so encouraging.

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    1. Thanks, Danielle. Good blogging buddies like you keep me going. :)

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    2. Congratulations Danielle! You were selected as the winner of Linda Jackson's "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride" giveaway!

      Shoot either Linda or me an email so we can get the book to you.

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  13. Happy anniversary Linda. And like everyone else has already said, you just keep in trying and it'll happen. I think you are so inspiring because of your perseverance. Good luck!!!!

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    1. Thank you, Cristina. :)

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  14. Jeff, thanks for letting me hijack your blog today. It was a blast. :)

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    1. It's been a blast, Linda! I can't wait to try my hand at cybershuffling later this week to see who wins the book!

      ** I'll conduct the drawing late Saturday, everyone. Return here or visit the next Sunday Surfing post to see who wins! All comments made before the drawing are eligible!

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  15. Happy anniversary!

    And I know the waiting game. Oh, how horrendous it is. It used to not bother me so much, but now I've got literary fleas and I go a little crazy if I think about it too long!

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    1. Thanks, Charlie. Actually the waiting doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to. I guess I really have learned "how" to wait. :)

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  16. And we have our winner, folks! It's Danielle L Zecher!

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