I pitched to Ginger Clark and Amy Boggs and both asked to see 50 pages. I pitched Angel Odyssey to Brian Hades at Edge and he asked for three chapters. I was pretty much walking on air after that. Particularly after the appointment to see Amy Boggs literally fell into my lap (though I had to be in the right place for my lap to receive such largess. More on that in a minute). I WAS walking on air until Bob Mayer got up to give his rapid-fire closing address.
Bob said that almost every agent there at the conference was going to ask for 50 pages. Almost no matter what. That made me feel a little less special. He said the reason why the agents and editors will almost always say 'yes' to a pitch was because 90% of the people they talk to, won't follow through.
90% of people won't follow through with an invitation to send in their novel? Is that possible? I couldn't believe it. And then the part of my brain the clicks around to see all sides of an issue got into gear. Oh yeah. Yeah, I can see that.
We as writers can be our own worst enemy. We reject ourselves long before anyone in New York or California ever can. We second guess how good our work is, how good WE are.
I mentioned, loudly since the dining room was also loud, that being a published author takes a certain amount of arrogance, a thick skin and determination. This was just before we heard from someone with low self-esteem, a thin skin but compulsive stubbornness. But it's true. We need to believe in our own work with stubborn faith and confidence. Stupid stubbornness. We need to SEND THE WORK OUT.
Woody Allen is quoted as saying "80% of success is just showing up". Just showing up. Just putting your work out. Just saying 'hello' with a smile. Just being willing to take a chance. Here's what's written on my computer monitor on a yellow sticky note. "Be bold. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." That is from Goethe.
Amy Boggs works for the Donald Maas agency and if there is one agency in the world I'd like to be at, it is the Maas agency. I wanted to meet Amy but I almost didn't. I saw her at dinner but I didn't go up to her and introduce myself. I didn't want to interrupt her conversations or her dinner. I didn't want to stalk her though the hall. I was giving up. I was losing without even trying to fight.
But then, I was sitting, waiting for my editor appointment. I got up and got into the line to add or change agent appointments. There was almost no line, for the first time in days, literally. I had the vague idea of asking if I could be put on a waiting list to speak to her. There was one person in front of me. That person gave up. They gave up their agent appointment. With Amy Boggs. Literally, while I was standing there, the volunteer got up and wrote on the white board 'Amy Boggs, 1 appointment left'. I was the next person in line. I took that appointment. Met her. Pitched her. Liked her.
But that only happened because I was in line. Because I was taking a chance, even though I did NOT expect to succeed. I knew what I wanted and I tried.
Keep trying. Keep sending your stuff out. Show up. Maybe I am not a special snowflake and my invitation to send pages isn't unique to me. But I am a stubborn snowflake and I AM going to send out my stuff this week.