Kindness goes a long way….

Another agent has stepped into my journey to publication. Dear Agent#3, Kelly Mortimer. I’m finally mentioning one of the agents I queried to because it seems almost impossible to share this brief, but special story without identifying her. Just check out her interview and you’ll see why: She’s an agent I think everyone should consider when querying.

I queried to her. A few days later, she emailed me back. It was not a rejection. It wasn’t even a partial request. She was offering a second chance. This is mind blowing when one is used to getting automatic rejection emails. And if requests for revisions are made—they’re made only for manuscripts. But for a query letter? My respect for her rose to a whole new level right then and there.

She kindly pointed out that in my query letter, I was marketing TRC as an inspirational romance, yet had no inspirational elements present in the story’s summary. I read over the summary and realized how right she was! It was an ignorant mistake on my part. It showed my inexperience. And yet, rather than rejecting me right away, as she obviously is a very busy lady (the evidence), she had the heart to point out this problem and then asked me to resend the revised query letter to her.

She even added a smiley face at the end of the email. I smiled along with the emoticon.

I spent half the day reworking the query letter. I let my sister read the first revised draft; when I saw her cringe, my heart sank. She said it was too corny. So revised it again and again, incorporating the suggestions my LTWF ladies suggested, and putting my own twists here and there. I sent it to M.M.Bennetts because she’s experienced in the querying field and always replies back so quickly to me, never leaving me hanging with dread (I absolutely adore this historian and brilliant novelist). And finally… I pasted the summary into the letter, read it over a thousand times, then clicked SEND.

Her response came on the same day. She wrote that she liked the query letter “much better” and requested the first three chapters. In the following brief emails exchanged, I felt in my heart of hearts that she was one very special agent. There was something about her that makes her seem almost like a mentor.

Whether she signs me on or not, is besides the point. I’m just writing about this experience because this single act of consideration meant a lot to me—me, who, having to start querying AGAIN while revising for agent#1. It felt like I had my toe cut off and had to learn to walk all over again. Frustration. Frustration. Frustration. But now I feel motivated once more and also have an appropriate query letter to work with.

I know there are many more special agents out there. Agent#1 and #2 were both special in their own ways. They taught me lots. Especially Agent#1—who redirected my entire career as a writer, introducing me to a new market. Now…. If there are any agented writers out there reading this, could you share a bit about your relationship with your agent? And if you’re a writer seeking representation, please do share a bit of your journey with us all! I find that sharing our querying journeys always ends up becoming an encouragement to others who are planning to begin one. Or who have stumbled along the way— *cough* Me *Clears throat*

Currently reading: Pillars of the Earth. IT IS SOOOOOO GOOD! I can’t stop thinking about this book. I smile stupidly each time I crack the humungous book open. The characters are so alive it’s unbelievably inspiring. And the atmosphere the author creates—breathtaking. This is a truly amazing medieval epic.

I can’t, can’t, can’t WAIT until I can watch the TV series. I am determined not to watch it, however, until I finish the book. Don’t worry. I’m almost finished! Why, I’m on page 127….out of 1007 pages.

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42 Comments

Filed under Querying, The Runaway Courtesan

42 responses to “Kindness goes a long way….

  1. Yay! Agent #3 sounds awesome. What a nice thing to do. 🙂 I wish you the best of luck with your new round of querying. May you encounter lots more nice, helpful agents 😀

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  2. Laura V

    Your posts are always so inspirational June! I wish you the best of luck with querying, I have such a strong *feeling* something big will happen for you very soon! Keep chugging along! 😀

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    • I’m super glad that you find my entries inspirational! It makes blogging all the more important to me. And I very much hope this *feeling* of yours will prove right! I hope I can work with an agent like her, who values partnership

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  3. YAAAY! Another step closer!
    And I agree with Laura, your posts are so uplifting. I do hope agent number three pulls through for you, or if not that, then one of the 25 others to whom you also sent 🙂
    And I love Rufus Sewel. Just saying.

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    • All 24 rejected me in one way or the other longggg ago. One of whom is agent#1 who didn’t really reject me; with her, I’m still trying to figure out how to approach the revision request she gave me…with no instructions attached. I haven’t queried for months. The Mortimer Agency was the first in a long while. I might send out some more…or maybe not…I’m going to take this slowly now, now that I have another book to work on

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  4. Kim

    Kelly Mortimer the Nicest Agent. Has a Nice ring to it!

    The trailer looks interesting! I remember seeing it before.. and now that it’s brought to my attention again, it has triggered another trailer in my mind..um..*looks up IMdb* oh, “Ironclad” with James Purefoy (and I know how you like him).

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  5. This agent is awesome and seems too good to be true. I guess there are people out there who empathise with the writers. Wonderful news, too. Congrats.

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  6. This agent looks awesome, I’ll put her on my “to query” list! Maybe she’ll listen to another Italian… 😉
    Good luck with her! 😀

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    • Definately add her into your query list! One cannot go wrong with this agent, it seems. Whether she signs you on or not, I’m sure you’ll gain a valuable lesson from her, as I did.

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  7. Lua

    June, this is excellent news, another step closer to the goal and I’ll be praying for you to finally get the answer you deserve! 🙂
    But also- you are SOOOO right! A little act of kindness goes a long way, it gives you hope and motivation, helps you move forward. And it’s great to know that there are still people like Agent #3 in this business, it tells me that there is a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

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    • “… it’s great to know that there are still people like Agent #3 in this business, it tells me that there is a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.” This is EXACTLY what I think about agent#3, and I told her something along this line in my query letter to her. It was a bit difficult to express my appreciation towards her while trying to remain professional.

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  8. That sounds like a wonderful experience! I’ve only recently discovered your blog, but I’m really enjoying reading your positive take on the trials and tribulations of writing and I wish you the best of all luck with this agent. Fingers crossed for you!

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    • Sometimes my intial emotions when it comes to some of the trials I go through during this journey isn’t at all positive. But what’s the point in sharing negative emotions, right? If I complain about querying it’ll only burden others who are planning to begin. There’s nothing to gain from pessimism. So I let myself cool off a bit. I search for the positive side of the hardship, and that’s what I decide to share. And, after I write all that down, that’s what I end up believing. Of course, sometimes my despair does leak through…. But I truly do believe that the journey to publication needs to be enjoyed.

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      • It sounds like I need to take a lesson from you – my negativity is probably my greatest weakness! What a positive use of writing – maybe I should try writing up the positive so I can believe it, too.

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      • Ahk, my negativity is my greatest weakness as well. I’m still struggling to overcome it. I don’t think I ever can. But I do believe I will get better at being able to find the positive aspect of things more easily and holding onto it.

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  9. Awesome news! And I looooooooooove Pillars of the Earth. It’s one of my favorite books ever. I’ve been counting down the days until the show!

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    • Yes! Someone who loves Pillars of the Earth! How long did it take for you to read it? The story is SO long that I think, by the time I finish the book, the characters will be lilke living people to me. Because I’ve spent so much time in their world…

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  10. June, this is great news!

    As I’ve said before, agents are so busy, even the nicest ones can’t take the time to review work of writers they aren’t interested in–so this is very encouraging–she’s interested, clearly! I’m thrilled for you.

    Over the years I’ve had interactions with several agents who acted very much like mentors and I was always so grateful for it because every bit of advice they deliver–no matter how small–helped me build on my craft. Best of all, June, you’ve shown this agent that you are open to growing as a writer (you’d be amazed how many writers aren’t) and that in itself is very appealing to an agent who is looking in to your work and the possibility of representation.

    Can’t wait to hear the updates!

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    • Woohoo! I guess openness is a key factor.

      You should one day share your querying journey with us, about all those agents who came to know. What lessons you learned. So we beginners might learn as well. That would be awesome 🙂

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  11. She sounds wonderful! It’s great to hear, amidst a lot of complaining from all corners of the blogosphere about agents not replying, not helping, not seeming interested in writers, that there are certainly plenty of agents who don’t fit that profile at all. I recently got the world’s nicest rejection on a full (yes, it wasn’t fun to get rejected, but) in which the agent wrote literal paragraphs assessing what wasn’t working. Will I query her with the next project? Absolutely! It was so kind of her–and completely unnecessary, from a “professional” standpoint, to do so. Incredible.

    Best of luck–and God Bless the agents and others in the industry who are willing to help!

    PS Pillars of the Earth is sitting on my bookshelf, unread–my mother-in-law gave to me last Christmas and I completely forgot about it until now! Must dig out from cobwebs…

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    • She has amazing work ethics….!!!

      And you *must* read PotE. YOU MUST. I think you’d love it… come on, Rowenna. Everyone is reading it. It’s like all the rage right now. What Twilight was to the Young Adults, Pillars is to the History-lovers. Aaaaand I made that up. I don’t know how popular Pillars is. But it really is a must read

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      • Oh, hold on. I just reread your comment. Is this the agent you were waiting so long to hear from? Ahk! Well, at least she was so considerate with the rejection. Didn’t you also have your manuscript with another agent too?

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  12. I checked out that agency. She does sound really nice O.o

    I`m nowhere near ready to query any of my work, so I haven`t bothered to check out agents yet. Is it normal for agents to state on their websites that they only want to represent unpublished authors? O.O

    I read the submission guidelines, and she sounds really nice. Like a person who would rather help people than make money.

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    • It actually is *not* normal for an agent to state that they only rep unpublished authors. I’ve come across several agencies that they welcome queries from unpublished writers…but it’s never exclusively to unpublished authors only.

      “..she sounds really nice. Like a person who would rather help people than make money.” I agree with you 100%

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  13. This was such a great post. It’s so nice to know there are agents out there who actually seem to care. Sometimes it just feels like a big black hole out there in the agent world. Good Luck!

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    • A big black whole is right.

      Man-oh-man. Agents are like guys. They’re mysterious and you long to open up their mind so to read their thoughts. Yet, at the same time, you’re thinking it might be better off not to know everything.

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  14. Fantastic news! I have to agree with Erika above, that there are so many writers out there who think they’ve got it all figured out, and are unwilling to incorporate others’ critique and guidance into their work. You’re ahead of the game — best of luck!

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    • I would think desperation and crazy ambition to get publish tends to have that affect on a writer? That willingness to take in any constructive crit for a second chance? haha. Anyway, thank you for pointing out the benefits of being open. I’ll have to always keep this in mind the next time a 20 page revision request comes my way from an editor (apparently that’s what happens, sigh)

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  15. Ooh, I love hearing about these little acts of kindness, especially in the publishing industry. Thanks for sharing, June, and good luck!

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    • People need to write more about kindness in the publishing world! Because I’m sure there are so many such stories that writers are keeping to themselves *pouts*

      Thanks for dropping by!

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  16. Yay! It’s great to see good karma going your way. And good on you for passing the good karma right back to the kind agent. How nice of her!

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Junebugger. I can feel my heart racing whenever I read your posts. I think you are so close, so close!! And agent three sounds like the kind of considerate, knowledgeable professional you want representing you.
    I have my fingers, and everything else, crossed that your receive the big, “yes” very soon.

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    • “I can feel my heart racing whenever I read your posts.” You can’t imagine [or maybe you can] how much this meant to me! Many of my blog posts tend to be almost like a personal diary on my road to publication. Sometimes I wonder why anyone would want to bother reading about my trials and joys. So, knowing that my entry can actually affect another in their own personal way, is such a motivation to me. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

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  18. I enjoyed reading this lovely snippet, June. It warms me to hear about the agent’s thoughtfulness. It is also so exciting to hear more good news from you! You are on your way 🙂

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  19. Anon

    Yes! I think she is really great also! She has given me not one but two second chances!!!!
    And in both said… “most don’t get second chances!”
    The first time she tried to go to my web site just from my query and ended up on the total wrong site..
    As a result rejected Me based on this wrong web site! I desperately pleaded in an all CAPS subject line.. Something went wrong!
    So we discussed a change to my web site which I made– yes, a change to my web site— and I requeried. Then she asked for my proposal. I made a lot of changes got more marketing prospects during a very long waiting period having heard nothing.
    So I checked in telling her that I had made major changes, and I had new marketing prospects and she asked me to resubmit my proposal!!!
    Although I had not heard back on the first one even!! She thought she had rejected it but was remembering the query!
    She gave me two second chances.
    This is an agent people should try very hard to get!

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