It’s my second month participating in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group & it couldn’t come at a more crucial time. If you are interested in joining, feel free to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh’s website: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
The first week of January I sent out my query to 15 targeted agents. So far I’ve received 4 generic rejections & 2 requests for the fulls. I’m not holding my breath. I’ve sent out 15 queries to targeted agents twice before for different novels. Both times I got 3 requests for the full & both times 1 never got back to me & the others ultimately rejected me, all for different reasons. I honestly expected better response this time though. Perhaps the comment from Leah Hultenschmidt during the discussion for “Pitch-Slam Weekend January 13-15 on YALITCHAT.ORG holds the answer:
“The idea of completing a set amount of tasks is all over the genre right now (Little Blue Envelopes, Instructions for a Broken Heart, 13 Reasons Why to some degree), so you’ll need something extra special to make this really stand out. Maybe give more detail at what’s unexpected so that can be as much of the hook as the instructions.”
Yeah, I see her point. But then I go, “Ahem, how many, like, vampire novels did we have before we stopped rejecting those?” So I’m asking for your help. I hosted an agent query contest with the fab Nicole Resciniti last month, but kept myself out of it. Now I’m asking for your honest opinion. Oh, before I post my query . . . a HUGE thank you to everyone following my blog:) The query contest was to celebrate 100 followers, & now I’m already at 200! Please check back next week for the dets on a contest I’ll host on Feb. 15th to celebrate again (hint: get those first pages ready). Ok, *deep breath*, here it goes:
Seventeen-year-old Olga Gay Worontzoff thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers, of course) and not going to the prom with Conner, her best friend, drummer in a popular band and secret crush since kindergarten. But when Conner is struck by lightning during their sailing trip on Lake Michigan, Olga’s life loses meaning. She feels responsible for his death, and all the girls at Grand Haven High who also loved Conner have no difficulty in blaming her, too.
The sarcastic and nerdy girl who never missed a day of school is suddenly lost, replaced by someone with no will to get out of bed. As she battles depression, her counselor suggests she write a list titled “18 Things.” She must complete eighteen quests the year of her eighteenth birthday as part of her therapy. Olga enlists the help of her friends, who are eager to offer suggestions. Now all she has to do is fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record and hardest of all, sail again. What she doesn’t count on is acting as a catalyst for healing in the lives of her friends and finding herself in the process. Then Nate, a good friend who brings a hearty dose of fun to the list, complicates things by asking her out on a date. It’s time to put into practice the lessons her life list has taught her. Life truly does go on. She must risk her own heart, but if she fails, she risks losing her true soul-mate forever.
At 58,000 words, my contemporary YA, 18 THINGS, is a coming-of-age story about acceptance, friendship, love and what we can and should do in matters of life and death. In its own unique way, it could be described as a young adult version of The Bucket List with some unexpected twists.
After working with adolescents as a youth group volunteer and teaching at a public school for the past ten years, I feel connected to today’s young adults. I’m a member of SCBWI, YA-RWA, RWA-PRO and Southwest Florida Romance Writers. I read on the agency’s website that you are seeking realistic YA and I’m hoping my novel will be a good match for your list. As requested on your submission guidelines, I’ve pasted below the first five pages. Thank you for your time and consideration.