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Slush Pile Story

It is 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, and am I out having fun?

No.

I am here, writing my slush pile story.

And the truth is, it's now 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning and every time I try to post this my internet connection resets.

I'd blame it on the pneumonia recovery, but the truth is ... I'm just lame. That or the cyber gods really, really don't want me to post this.

So, my first book is called TIPS ON HAVING A GAY (ex) BOYFRIEND.

I'd heard that Llewellyn had a YA inprint that was accepting queries. So I submitted. I did everything wrong.

1. I had just done a first draft. I'd barely revised. BAD IDEA!
2. I hadn't let anyone see it. VERY BAD IDEA.
3. I changed the title at the last minute but failed to change the title in the query letter. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? SO STUPID. SO VERY VERY STUPID.
4. But get this... It gets worse. I posted this on my lj when it happened, and I'm going to post it again here so that anyone who hasn't been published yet can understand that it is possible to do everything wrong and still get off the damn slush pile.

Okay... Here goes...

The 30th, 2006

Okay. Here’s the big question of the day: Why am I so stupid?

I will work on the self esteem exercises tomorrow… but today! Today! Today I am allowed to realize the full extent of my idiotness.

Here’s why.

I sent out some manuscript queries on Thursday.

I get a phone call this morning, from a real live editor who says, “Um, is this C.C. Jones?”

“Yes,” I say while pouring out cat food.

He then proceeds to tell me he got my query, wants to see more of my manuscript, but his email requesting it bounced back.

“Really?” I say. “That’s weird.”

“Let me tell you the address,” he says. “cjonese at…”

“Oh,” I say. “Oh. Oh. Oh.”

“What?” he says.

“There’s no e on the end of Jones.”

“I didn’t think so,” he says.

I then apologize and berate myself for not even being able to spell my own last name! What an idiot. He gives me an email address. I send him the rest of the manuscript.

Yeah, that baby’s going somewhere. Not.

Although, he was kind and he did say, “It’s the manuscript I care about, not your inability to spell your own name.”

What a nice man. Even when he rejects the manuscript. He’s still a darn nice guy.

This means now that MY BOOK has been requested. The JOHN WAYNE LETTERS has been requested (by agent and house). And another book, which was crucified at workshop, has been requested. Will anyone actually buy anything? No…. And if they did, will they be able to contact me? Not unless I can remember to get my email address right. Geesh.

The 31st, 2006

So, despite the fact that I can’t spell, the nice editor man called me back yesterday and talked to me for 40 minutes and told me all the good stuff about my book and what he thinks could get better. It was like talking to a Vermont College mentor. It was really cool. He was brilliant and really, really nice.

And he’s starting the book through the acquisitions process at his imprint, which is really cool… But, I’m not getting my hopes up about it, until papers are signed.

Still, he had the best insight on the piece and I am so excited about working on it. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go work on it. He only wants another 10,000 words. Geesh. Piece of cake. Ha.

The 4th, 2006

Well, here’s a quick update on the sweet editor man. He sent me an email, which I can not quote verbatim, because it’s somehow infringing on copyright. HOWEVER, he said that he wanted to let me know what’s going on, that the piece is heading to the acquisitions committee on Thursday and he’ll call me when they’re done.

That is so sweet of him.

But now I’m going to be a nervous wreck until Friday and I’m already hyper and neurotic enough as it is. I think everyone in my family will soon disown me.

On a positive note, I wrote 15,000 more words on it this week and I’m really happy with it. It’s done the Sarah A. rubbing thing, where the characters work off each other. I’ve put more setting in, which is good because I’m weak with setting. I’ve also changed the ending and added a couple of conflict scenes. Oh, and sweet editor man said he hopes I’d have a great weekend. Is he crazy? As I told Emily Wing Smith, no matter what happens I’ve made the piece better already, so I can’t complain when he dumps my butt. So, yeah… Now, back to revising my critical thesis.

The 9th, 2006

Um, okay… Sweet Editor man called and he continues to be Sweet Editor Man.

He talked to the acquisitions committee today and wanted to call me about it before he battled the snowstorm and drove home. He said they were all “very enthusiastic about it.” They liked the writing, especially the details and he said even the people who don’t like YA were hooked.

YIPPPEEEE!!!!

So, he’s calling me in the morning to give me contract details, etc… which is great except I know absolutely nothing about contracts because I never thought I’d get offered one. Oh, the stupidity of me continues….

The 3rd, 2006

Well, today was a happy fine day because today the JOHN WAYNE LETTERS (title soon to be changed I am sure) passed an acquisitions committee and is now officially wanted with an offer on the table.

Yippee!!!

What karma gods did I appease? Was it when I helped the little old lady at the grocery store heft her 20-lb bag of kitty litter on to the checkout thing? Was it when I agreed to help run the middle school civil rights team or the drama club?

Was it simply when I refused to succumb to road rage when the guy in the Subaru refused to yield and almost t-boned me? Instead of succumbing to road rage, I thought, ‘Oh, perhaps I’ll get a new car out of this. I hope there’s no major injuries involved.’

I don’t know why. I’m just happy. That’s two YA books now. Now I need to find someone who’ll like my middle grade.

AND my birthday was good despite the fact that I am now old, old, old because I am the same age my mother was when she had me. That is just horrifying. Sigh.

No, wait. I am happy, happy, happy. So happy, in fact, that I’ll even spell check this.

-Carrie Jones

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
sarah_prineas
Dec. 9th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
But now I’m going to be a nervous wreck until Friday and I’m already hyper and neurotic enough as it is. I think everyone in my family will soon disown me.

Heh. Isn't that just the way it is...

Great slush story!
carriejones
Dec. 9th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Are you going to share your slush story somewhere, Sarah?

sarah_prineas
Dec. 9th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
Hah! Just posted it this minute.

It's pretty much the same old story...with a happy ending!
carriejones
Dec. 11th, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
I LOVE your story. And I LOVE the happy ending.
dpeterfreund
Dec. 9th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC)
that's hilarious! You're a lot braver than I am -- I was terrified to blog about anything submissions-related during the whole process because i just knew that I'd sound like "abah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah..."

Congratulations!
carriejones
Dec. 9th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
I think I friends-locked it when it happened, and I was so overwhelmed by own stupidity that I felt the rest of my friends should know that you can absolutely do everything wrong and still get off the slush pile.

Plus, I'm used to sounding all abah bah bah bah blah bah.

Thanks for reading the whole post by the way.
pickledherring
Dec. 9th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing the story - it was so encouraging!
carriejones
Dec. 11th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
I think it's good to see how someone can absolutely screw everything up and still get off the slush pile.
(Deleted comment)
carriejones
Dec. 11th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
He is a VERY sweet, brilliant editor man.

I'm sad that I'm currently in the stage where I don't get sweet editor man calls all the time.

Don't you love when he calls?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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