Writing the novel? I’m starting to learn that’s the easy part.
I finished writing and editing my first Women’s Fiction novel in July of 2020, and started the querying process. (For non-writer types, that’s when you pitch your book to literary agents in the hope of getting signed with one of them, so they can represent you and sell your book to a publisher.)
Admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing at first. But I did the research. I learned how to write a query letter, how to write a synopsis (yes, it includes the ending), and how to decide which literary agents might be a good fit for my work. I sent out a few queries …
… and then … crickets.
Well, all the advice says to focus on writing a new novel while you’re querying (because it can take ages to land an agent, but also because you want a career as an author, not a one-time publishing deal), so I started writing a second novel in August of 2020.
In the meantime, I participated in #PitMad events on Twitter, once in September of 2020 and once in December of 2020. There are 12-hour online events where you have three tweets to hopefully attract the attention of an agent and have them “like” your tweet, meaning they want you to query them.
September 2020 #PitMad pitches …
December 2020 #PitMad pitches …
Each time, I shared three tweets about my first novel, #LastNightNextDoor, and received exactly one agent “like” per event.
Both times, I queried the agent excitedly …
… and they passed.
No problem. I kept my head down and focused on writing Novel #2, probably (definitely) not spending enough time also querying Novel #1.
I finished writing and editing my second Women’s Fiction novel at the end of February (2021), just in time to promote it during the March 4 #PitMad event. I shared three tweeets about my second novel, #LastNightWithYou (yup, they’re part of a lil’ series) and received exactly one agent “like” once again. That was only a few days ago, so I’m still waiting to see if I hear back.
March 2021 #PitMad pitches …
It’s like matchmaking, honestly.
Research tons of agents to see who might be a good fit for your work, pouring everything you have into crafting the right package for them (whether they prefer an email query or a form query), and then praying for a positive response.
This weekend, I spend three hours yesterday and three hours today poring over agents’ bios and manuscript wishlists and sending out 10 queries.
Will one of them love my work and want to read more? Who knows?
The point is that I’m going to keep trying.
Somewhere out there is an agent who will love my work, totally click with my personality, and fight hard for me to be a published author. I just don’t know who they are yet.
I’m Heather Laura Clarke. I’m a writer living in beautiful Nova Scotia, I have a 12-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter, I married my high school sweetheart, and this is the story of my handmade life.
I have depression and anxiety, and I fight like hell every day to keep them from taking over my life. Creating things helps.
Whether I’m writing novels, decorating a room, busting out my power tools to build furniture, getting muddy in the pottery studio, sewing clothes, or cross-stitching a swear word, I’m all about using my creativity to craft a life I love.
I’ve been writing this blog since 2009, so if you dig deep into the archives, you’ll meet a bright-eyed 25-year-old newlywed who was basically obsessed with having kids, buying a cozy house, and supporting herself full-time with her writing. (Spoiler alert: she got exactly what she wanted.)