My reading list grows exponentially. Everytime I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.
-A.J. Jacobs

Monday, February 8, 2010


Last night after finally realizing that there was nothing more I could do but sit back and relax (yeah, right), I prepared my email for Miss Snark's February Secret Agent. I read the rules and requirements 32 times, because if you don't know me, I am a major rule follower. I could go off on a tangent about that, but I'll spare you and save it for another post. I saved the draft into my mailbox and even went to the extent of setting my Outlook calendar to remind me when I was supposed to hit send. I've never done one of her contests before, but knowing how many aspiring authors are out there, I knew I wanted to be ready. The contest was going to be open for 24 hours or until the first 50 submissions were received.

I had my students in the computer lab, working on goodreads when my timer on my laptop went off to remind me to send off the email. I hovered over the send button, not wanting to look extremely desperate, or more likely because I was worried that my clock could be off by a few minutes and I didn't want to be disqualified for sending it a minute early, and finally pressed send at 11:02.

The little circular wheel of sending hell, spun repeatedly and displayed a disturbing message that said something to the effect of, "Sending is taking longer than expected." I watched the clock as time ticked on. 11:03, 11:04...Finally at 11:05 my email was posted as sent. I was so consumed with the frustration of the how long it took and still having my mind unnaturally wrapped up with the Amazon contest, that I didn't even take time to think about how I would feel if, ahem, I mean, when I would come face to face with rejection.

Now, I am not a stranger to rejection. I've faced it plenty of times. It always stings at first, but I am a pretty determined person. Once my mind is set on something, I, in some way, shape, or form make it happen. I prepared myself for the possibility of a no, because in this world of writing it is inevitable to recieve a no. The crazy thing is that I was sort of hoping for a no. Weird. I know. But here's my logic. The first time you get the no has to hurt the hardest, right? So, I was just ready to get the first no over with. Logical, right?

Well, I'm sure you can imagine my shock and astonishment when I opened up my confirmation email saying, "I'm sorry, but the 50 submissions have already been reached." GAH!!! That's worse than rejection!! Ugghhh. But, I'm over it. It wasn't meant to be. (This is how I have to reason with myself.) No use dwelling over it. You pick up and keep going.

Keep going right into the next contest. To the Dear Lucky Agent Contest, to be exact. You should check it out! The short sting of disappointment was quickly replaced with the reminder that we authors are given so many great oppurtunities to shine and show our stuff! I'm glad to be a writer right now.

Also other inspiring news is that I'm starting YA MS number 2. The idea has been eating away at my mind for almost a month and I am very excited to get it started. It kind of reminds me of the beginning stages of a relationship. So fresh and new and euphoric. We haven't had our first fight yet and we still love eachother. Best. Feeling. Ever. Mary at Kidlit had a great post today talking about beginnings. It's definitely food for thought. *Note to self: Don't start with, "One stormy night..."

Questions to all of you writers for tonight:
How have you prepared yourself for rejection?
How have you started your novels? What techniques have worked for you? Which haven't? I am constantly telling my students during writing class that I can grade their papers from the first line they write. And, "Hi, my name is..." and "Once upon a time..." aren't gonna cut it. How are you going to get that agent to keep wanting to read past your first sentence?
Oooh and should I write in first person or third person??

Other VERY cool news! I'm over the top and a good friend, and by golly, people like me. HeeHee. I got two awards today from some other awesome writers. First, I recieved the Over the Top Award, which suits me fabulously. Thanks Kimberly! :) Now I must answer these questions with one word answers. Since this isn't the honesty award, my answers may or may not be true...

Your Cell Phone? IPhone
Your Hair? thick
Your Mother? Supportive
Your Father? Kind
Your Favorite Food? Everything
Your Dream Last Night? Aliens
Your Favorite Drink? Coffee
Your Dream/Goal? Published
What Room Are You In? Living Room
Your Hobby? Duh..
Your Fear? Heights
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Older
Where Were You Last Night? Mars
Something That You Aren't? Ordinary
Muffin? Top
Wish List Item? Success
Where Did You Grow Up? Jersey
Last Thing You Did? Ramble
What Are You Wearing? Socks
Your TV? Big
Your Pets? Dexter
Friends? Fabulous
Your Life? Chaotic
Your Mood? Optimistic
Missing Someone? Always
Vehicle? Pathfinder
Something You Aren't Wearing? Glasses
Your Favorite Store? B&N
Your Favorite Color? Purple
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Today
Last Time You Cried? Today
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Work
Facebook? Yup
Favorite Place To Eat? PF Changs

I pass the Over The Top Award to:
Andrea at You Live and Learn. At Any Rate, You Live.
Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
Jade at Jade Hears Voices

I also received The Circle of Friends award from Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time. Thanks Nicole!! I was totally flattered that you said I inspired you because that is something that I find to be the most important thing about being a writer. To inspire. Thank you!

I shall pass this award over to:
ChristaCarol Jones for helping me way more than she should!
Chelsea who has read my MS too many times to count
and Anissa at Anissa off the Record a new writer friend!

12 brilliant remarks:

Kimberly Franklin said...

Congrats on your awards!

Lindsay Champion said...

Aww, that's too bad about the contest! I'm curious, because I've never seen these types of contests before. What is the advantage to submitting to a "secret agent" contest rather than querying agents that take work that is similar to yours? Is the feedback more personalized? Just wondering! :-D

lindsay ||

Rebecca Lynn said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's great to connect with another writer in the blogosphere!

Oh, and I love your blog design. Beautiful.

Morgan said...

wow, your dream sounded pretty cool last night: with the aliens and all. LOL.

I loved all your answers and enjoyed hearing about the contest.

Mystery Robin said...

Hey Tiffany - thanks for stopping by my blog! I've also hovered over the send button for the secret agent contest - only to hit send at just the right time and then get a response that it was sent too early. GAH!!

DebraLSchubert said...

I did the Secret Agent contest once. I submitted the second the clock turned to whatever time the contest opened. I did make it in, but I can't say it was a terrifically enlightening experience.

I think querying directly to agents is a much more useful endeavor. My agent is completely awesome, and I found her through a combo of querying and "meeting" her on Twitter. You have to be brave, bold, and confident, and - dare I say - unafraid to break the rules!

Best of luck in your agent search. Enjoy the ride and remember it really is all about the journey. ;-)

Jen said...

Congrats on your awards!!

ErinB said...

HI Tiffany! You're blog is great, I'm so glad you started blogging. You should check out MckMama's blog - it's awesome.

Shelley Sly said...

Congrats on the award, and I'm sorry to hear about the contest, but you're right -- it wasn't meant to be. Luckily, there are many more contests and opportunities for you, and with your determination, you will get somewhere. :)

Diana Paz said...

Hi Tiffany, thanks for stopping by my blog! Yours is beautiful :) Good attitude with the contest let-down; preparing ourselves for rejection, having a good attitude, and learning patience, are the best things we can do for ourselves as writers. Those are all things that will serve us well even after we're published. Nice post!

Chelsea & Nick said...

Congrats on finishing 1, starting 2, entering a new contest and, and, and, and....

Oh AND thanks! It was my pleasure. Really.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Congrats and I'm sorry about the rejection. I can't believe how many people must have been like you, poised at their computers waiting to hit the send button.