Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Good things come to those who NEVER GIVE UP!

For those of you who know me, and those of you that have yet to meet me, today is a happy day! Before I jump into the happy news, let me summarize my writer's journey (or at least parts of it):

*In the winter of 2004, I wrote a fabulous book. Seriously, I believed it would make me millions, and I would get to be a writer for the rest of my life. The book went on to garner several form rejections. Epiphany #1: I had no idea what I was doing. 
*In the winter of 2005, I learned about and joined a group called SCBWI: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. The learning process continued.
*In the spring of 2005, I attended my first writing conference in Michigan. I even had an editor critique! This was a major epiphany! Epiphany #2: the editor told me I had a strong voice in writing, and to keep writing no matter what. 
*In the winter of 2006: a short story of mine was published in Writer's Journal magazine for $25 whole dollars! I was now a published, paid writer! Epiphany #3: Writing doesn't always pay that well. 
*In the fall of 2007: an agent, Barbara Markowitz, took a real interest in my book (the one from 2004). It had been revised a kazillion times, but she still felt it needed a lot more work. Epiphany #4: Revisions never end!
*In the spring of 2010: three of my writer buddies (Monica Harris, Leslie Helakoski, and Rachel Anderson) threatened me within an inch of my life (no, not really) to send my revised manuscript to the agent who had expressed interest three years earlier. I followed their advice, and she remembered me! She called me and signed me on! Epiphany #5: Agents do sign new authors!
Two weeks later: a request for a full manuscript from book #2 that I had completed from a completely different agent. She went on to offer me representation. She is none other than Marissa Walsh of Fineprint Literary. In one of the toughest decisions ever, I chose Marissa because she wanted me for my entire career (but Barbara is seriously still AWESOME). Epiphany #6: sending work out to multiple agents can lead to some issues.
2011: The book has been sent to a handful of editors, so far no luck. I begin writing Falling too Deep (to keep me sane). Epiphany #7: keep writing other books; don't get hung up on just one!
2012: Marissa called me with the unfortunate news that she was, unfortunately, leaving the business. (I love you, Marissa!) She is a pretty amazing lady, and I wished her well. Boy, oh boy, was I bummed! She referred me to Rachel Coyne, also of Fineprint. Epiphany #8: Life does not happen the way you expect, but you smile and move on with grace and professionalism. :)
2012: Rachel and I work diligently on Falling too Deep. At this point I have two other novels that are sitting in a "cyber" drawer. She sends it out to a handful of editors. No luck. We hit the drawing board again. Epiphany #9: Revisions never end (oh, did I say that already?). 
2013/early 2014: Rachel emails me that she is taking a break from agenting to focus on her family. Yay, Rachel (I'm all for putting families first). I wish her well, but now I'm at square one. Epiphany #10: this writing business sucks sometimes!
Early 2014: Enter my lovely friend, Kristen Lenz, who is giddy about her newly signed agent, Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. She mentions that we might be a good fit. I mention, "Hey, you've seen my writing, would you be willing to refer me?" To which she replies, "HECK, YEAH!" (or something like that). Epiphany #11: Nothing is better than writer friends who totally "get" you. 
Early 2014: I query the lovely Ms. Pestritto with Falling too Deep. She sends me a kind rejection with some tips on improving the manuscript. Mainly, I needed to do some major cutting, up the suspense, and make the plot move faster! Epiphany #12: Revisions never end!
May 2014: I finish revising a 379 page novel to 212 pages! I email Carrie to see if I could resubmit. Wonder of wonders, she said, "Sure, send it my way!" I sent her the first three chapters of the newly revised book. A week later, she requests the whole manuscript! Epiphany #13: Be grateful for open doors and second chances!
July 15, 2014: Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency offers me representation! Epiphany #14: Hard work pays off! 
July 28, 2014: Talked with my agent on the phone (that's so cool that I can say that), and she is all things lovely and sweet. We're on the same page with my novel, and she said she wants to be my career agent! Epiphany #15: Good things come to those who NEVER GIVE UP!

I know the journey is far from over, but I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that I had to write about my experiences. I want to encourage others that the process is truly long and arduous, but good things DO happen. Hopefully, one day soon, I will post more good news. Until then, I will continue to plug away at my books and pray that the door for publication opens big and wide. 
Here's to dreams. Now let's all do a happy dance! 



  1. Congrats! I believe in the NEVER GIVE UP MOTTO! and sold two pbs that way. I root for the underdog! So happy for you! #DETROITHUSTLESHARDER

    1. That's right, Lisa! And I am super happy for you! 2014 has definitely been your year. Rub some of that magic off on me! :)

  2. Whew, so glad I don't have to keep this a secret any longer! Cheers!

    1. Ha, ha, ha! I hear ya! It was Carrie that encouraged me to let the secret out of the bag! :)

  3. Sending congratulations and warm wishes for lots of good things to come.

    1. Thanks, Ann! I met you at my first conference! You were co-RA then. :)

  4. I knew you could do it!!!!! Love〰 Deanna

    1. Thanks, Deanna! I'm not over the biggest hurdle yet (actually selling a book), but this is HUGE, and I am so happy for another opened door. Big hugs! I'll keep you posted! :)

  5. Super blog post, Janice. You are a FABULOUS author and I knew another agent would notice your FABness. Thanks, Carrie, for seeing what all of Janice's friends see in her - talent and determination.

  6. Yay! Congrats to you--persistence pays off!

  7. So Happy for you, Janice! Way to persevere!