Friday, February 21, 2014

Getting the Call: Ava Jae

It seems like I've known Ava forever, so it was especially a happy day when I saw her news. The long road makes the joy that much greater. 

For the full post complete with more details, GIFs and some caps lock excitement, check out the original post on my blog, Writability.

So, I started writing my tenth manuscript, a NA Sci-Fi novel, on May 22, 2013 and I finished the first draft on June 14th. It was the fastest Id ever completed a first draft at the time, and I was floating. The book was totally different from anything Id written in a while—up until then Id only written YA (albeit, my characters tended to border 17/18) and a lot of paranormal. But I learned the hard way YA Paranormal is insanely hard to break into right now, so I tried something new.

After several months of editing and trading with critique partners, I sent out my first batch of shiny queries on September 6th. I’ll be honest—I’d been through the query trenches many times before (five times, to be exact, with four different manuscripts, one of which I queried twice), and this time I’d had my query polished to a ridiculous gleam, so I was hoping for different results than my previous query attempts. I knew what to expect, but you know, I hoped.

Unfortunately, the next couple weeks filled my inbox with rejections. I started thinking maybe trying something different didnt matter and the result would be the same as before.

On October 7th, I submitted to Miss Authoresss Secret Agent Contest. Unlike many other writing contests, the entries are chosen by a random lottery generator, so your odds of making it in are 100% random. Those who are chosen get an e-mail before the entries are posted to let them know theyve made it into the lottery.

Except I didnt get an e-mail. My entry wasnt chosen for the contest.

I was disappointed, but I distracted myself with NaNoWriMo plans and continued to send out queries. On October 14th, the Secret Agent was revealed—except it was a surprise of two secret agents, Emily Keyes and Louise Fury, and thus there would be twice the winners. Im not sure why I clicked to see who won—I dont usually, especially if Im still kinda disappointed, which I was. But I clicked and read the names of the winners.

And I nearly had a heart attack. Because listed under “Runners up” was “#41 Slave and Sira.”

I stared at the winner entry. It couldnt be a coincidence, could it? Had someone else named their novel Slave and Sira? That seemed really unlikely, considering “Sira” is a word in a language I made up for the novel.

I raced over to entry #41 and read, with shaking fingers, my entry. The first 250 words of my novel. The entry that I was sure hadnt made it into the contest was posted, and had comments, and the secret agents said it was a strong opening. What. What?!

I ran back to the winner post and checked again to make sure I wasnt dreaming, but it was there! Louise Fury wanted to see my query and the first three chapters of my manuscript. After receiving instructions from Miss Authoress, I sent off the mini-partial that very same day.

On Halloween I received a request from Team Fury for the first fifty pages. I danced for joy and sent the pages, announcing to myself that Id received the best Halloween treat ever, then days later on November 3rd, I received a request for the full. I ran around the house and jumped up and down and sent out the manuscript and squeed with joy. Then just a couple hours after I sent the full, Louise Fury followed me on Twitter and I may have flipped out in mid-text-conversation with a non-writer non-Twitter friend, but I regret nothing.

On December 6th, just twenty minutes before Id been planning to go to bed, I got the e-mail Id been dreaming of for years: Louise Fury had read my manuscript more than once, spoken with her team members, and they wanted to talk to me. Was I available this weekend?


I was immediately overloaded with excitement and anxiety. We scheduled the call for the next day and I barely slept that night. I collected my list of questions and reviewed my research and when the call came, my hands were cold and shaking.

The call itself is a blur. Team Fury shared my vision for the book, and I agreed with the edit suggestions, and Louise was totally supportive of my wanting to write in multiple categories and genres, and when I hung up the phone, I was having a major David After Dentist episode.

I had seven queries out at the time, so I sent out three notices and five withdrawals, including the withdrawal from Pitch Wars. Out of the three notices, I received two requests for the full and one non-response. Both agents who requested graciously bowed out, and I was actually relieved, because it saved me from the agony of having to choose.

Which is great, because my choice? Shes pretty darn awesome. And I am so incredibly honored to say Im now represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency! And I could not be happier to be joining Team Fury. :D

Query Stats (for this manuscript):
Total Queries Sent: 25
Rejections: 21
Partial Requests: 1
Full Requests: 4
Offers of Rep: 1


Ava Jae is a writer, artist and movie lover. She writes YA and NA novels because she loves writing about self-discovery and the complicated worlds of young people. Then she likes to take their emotionally-ridden lives and make them even more difficult. She also has an addiction to movies, but that’s another matter entirely.

You can find her weekly musings on her blog Writability, follow her on Twitter and tumblr, or like her Facebook page.

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