Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Success Story: On Account of a Bookmark

I swear these keep getting better!

Dear Authoress,


I’ve been inspired by the recent success stories people have sent to you to send you my own (this is a new story): I stumbled upon the Secret Agent contest sometime after finishing my first novel. At that point, I’d already decided it would probably need to be shelved so I didn’t enter my first page. However, I read the archives of all the past Secret Agent contests diligently. I scanned through all the comments, trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t and gave myself the goal of winning the Secret Agent contest when my next book was finished.


I entered the February 2010 contest with my brand new novel based on everything I’d learned from reading the past entries, and held my breath for the next week or so. The comments coming in were mostly positive and when my entry was announced as the only winner for that month, I was ecstatic. Not just because I won, but because I proved to myself I could accomplish what I wanted if I worked hard enough and set my mind to it.


My prize was a query critique from Nathan Bransford along with along with an autographed SECRET YEAR bookmark from one of his then clients – Jennifer Hubbard. When I got the query critique back, Nathan said it was actually quite good already and requested a partial. Everything was falling exactly into place and it felt too good to be true. And it was. Nathan didn’t end up requesting the full, but he did give me a bit of feedback that I ended up using later on. Soon, I got the bookmark in the mail, but by then my spirits were a bit squashed. After staring at the bookmark and trying to figure out what to do next, I figured I might as well read the book. I bought THE SECRET YEAR and read it in a few hours. And something happened. I fell in love with YA.


I hadn’t picked up a YA book since I was a young adult myself, and I realized I’d been missing out! After much consideration, (and many more YA books read) I decided my book needed to be YA. I did a lot of research, went to a conference, and tackled the rewrite that spring and summer. I was ready to query again in the Fall with a brand new query, and yes, I even changed most of that first page I’d worked so hard on (talk about killing your darlings).


My request rate went from 8% to 50% and I had 3 agent offers by February, exactly a year after winning the Secret Agent contest. I signed with Meredith Kaffel at Charlotte Sheedy Literary and am now trying to survive submissions. :-)


So thank you for all the work you do on this blog. My journey wouldn’t have been the same without it!


Thank you!
Monica Goulet

13 comments:

Sarah Pearson said...

This is a brilliant story! Well done :-)

term paper help said...

very cool post! thansk a lot for sharing!

Danielle La Paglia said...

Congratulations, Monica! What an amazing story. Best of luck with submissions.

CNHolmberg said...

What a great story. Hard work pays off! Inspiring--thanks for sharing!

DEMETRA BRODSKY said...

Stories like this make the journey worthwhile. Congratulations! : )

lindapepstein said...

I'm not sure which thing I'm most blown away by: Monica's tenacity or Authoress's generosity of spirit... I love this blog. I love the opportunities it opens up for people. And I betcha Monica's manuscript is awesome!

Bron said...

Congratulations Monica! I think it's nice to hear from people who didn't sign with their Secret Agent, but who have still benefited from the contests in another way and have found an agent. Please let us know when your book is coming out :-)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Congratulations... What an inspiring story. Good luck.

And many thanks to the Authoress that helps many writer's dreams come true.

Julianna Helms said...

This is such a wonderful and inspiring story, Monica! When (and I say when, not if :) ) your book comes out, I'll definitely get it. Congratulations!

And of course, thanks to Authoress for giving writers these fantastic opportunities!

Deb Sanders said...

Real life inspiration! Doesn't get any better than this. Thanks for sharing.

Landra said...

I love it! Here's to the Journey! *raises glass in toast*

This story shows true investment and how you can win!

buy thesis said...

This article is really the one that I needed. I really learned a lot by reading the whole content. Thanks for this.

Monica said...

Thanks everyone! It's been a fabulous (but not easy) journey and I look forward to the rest of it!