Volume 9, Issue 1, Page 3

"Sometimes the rainbow is better than the pot of gold"*

I'm not sure if 60 seems like a lot to you or not. It doesn't sound like a lot to me but at this point I'm not sure I can even make it to my goal of 100 queries. Don't let my breezy tone fool you, this process has taken about 10 years off my life. I am way too sensitive for this. I come home and see the rejection sitting with the mail and I think, "Oh look, another one." Or sometimes, "Oh, sh*t." But sometimes 4 or 5 will arrive on one day and I just melt down and convert these setbacks into a lifetime of failures. Poor Bob and Trish have had talk me off the ledge too many times to count.

Pam's Birth Family

Now, if you are reading this and just itching to hurry up and remind me of how all writers get rejected, about 2000 people have beaten you to it so you can be sure I've already heard it and I might add that it is not particularly comforting any more. I heard on the radio that the SPAWN (comic) guy got something like 700 rejections before he had any success. I'm never going to last that long.


In August, Bob convinced me to go to the Willamette Writers Conference which is in Portland every year and a big conference. He has been trying to convince me to go to the conference for years. There are regular workshops and for a fee, you can set up meetings with agents and editors to pitch your manuscript. I set up two meetings with editors.

I hope you realize how far I'm come since 1992 when I was afraid to tell even people I know that I was writing something and now I'm going to do a 10 minute pitch for a New York editor. My friend Trish helped me put together the pitch and before my first meeting I walked around outside in the parking lot and practiced it.

The conference was at this hotel at the airport, so I wandered around with the jets booming in the background and I was so nervous and so unsure of myself that I decided, "Hell with this. I'm going home. We're having a baby, getting a minivan and a dog and I'm going to stop this nonsense." Then I pulled myself together, went in and did my pitch and the woman laughed (at the story, not me) and asked me to send her the entire manuscript.

I floated home.

I started obsessing on what I would wear in my author photo. I practically cried.

The next day I had my meeting with a different editor and she liked my pitch and asked me to send the whole thing, too. And she referred me to her boyfriend, an agent, telling me he would be interested. My confidence soared. On Monday I carted my chapters and synopsis down to the post office for the agent. In the meantime, I did one more quick proofread of the manuscript and printed it out and made and mailed two copies to New York. (Do you have any idea how much it costs to copy and mail 450 pages?)

In the meantime, during all this hoo-haw I get a phone call from an agent in the Bay Area who had received one of my query letters and she was interesting in seeing the first 100 pages. Can you imagine how worked up I am getting over all this? I jet that package off too.

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PHOTO THIS PAGE:Pam is reunited with her real family. June 1999.

*Poison, "Cry Tough"

Posted: 12.9.99