Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bragging on a Friend - Perseverance Pays Off!

"Pansy Smith has just heard the most amazing news in her life. Her best friend Anna, who became brain-damaged fifteen months ago, is going to have an operation that could cure her. Now it’s time for Pansy to become all those things she hasn’t been in the past: Brave. Smart. Talented. Exceptional. The perfect friend for Anna Liddell, the most extraordinary person she’s ever known."

That's the opening hook that my friend, Miriam Franklin, used which landed her an agent.  

Recalling the process Miriam said, "DEAR ANNA grew from a book I wrote 7 or 8 years ago. I queried agents without any luck so I turned to other writers for feedback. I received a few kind and encouraging critiques with revision suggestions. But the critique that was most helpful was the writer who bluntly told me to start over. Painful as it was to hear, I knew she was right. I put the book aside and  the idea for DEAR ANNA came to me while I was working on another manuscript. I kept the main character and rewrote most of the story. I exchanged with a few more writers, including the one who’d told me to start over, and I revised some more.

"When I posted my query letter on a writing message board for feedback, agent Mandy Hubbard [with D4EO Literary], wrote a comment saying she loved the premise and was looking for a good MG novel (hint, hint). So I queried her with sample pages. A few days later she requested the full, and a week after that she asked for an exclusive on revisions. She gave me detailed notes on what needed to be done, and I knew right then that Mandy was the agent I wanted to work with. A week after I wrote the revisions, I received the call offering representation."

Miriam is a great example of perseverance and working at her craft. She and I first met 15 years ago when she came to the Charlotte, NC, SCBWI critique group. I admired her writing and yet her efforts to gain publication fell flat. 

But that has finally changed. "After 15 years of writing middle grade novels, revising, critiquing, rewriting, and facing rejections," Miriam said, "I've found an agent who loves my novel!"

And that's worth the wait. Don't you agree?

15 comments:

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Carol,

Thanks for sharing Miriam's story. I know her writing, too, and she well deserves to finally be recognized for the great writer that she is!

CL said...

That's a great story! I'm trying to find an agent right now, and it's encouraging to hear about your friend's success. Thanks.

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, it's an encouragement to us all when the system really works and rewards good writing! Hang in there!

Augusta Scattergood said...

Carol, That's not unlike what happened to me either! Perseverece is the answer. I worked for 10 years to get my middle grade novel sold.

And FYI, I'm reviewing a terrific book by a Charlotte writer who, according the the publicity info, has been working on it for longer than that, and she's getting her first novel published at age 71. Don't give up folks.
(FYI, that Charlotte writer's novel is for adults, but I think it will have great crossover with the YA market. More to come soon, on my blog.)
=)

Kelly said...

What a wonderful story! Congratulations, Miriam!

Carol Baldwin said...

I'm glad that all of you are enjoying Miriam's story! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

The book sounds amazing and congrats to Miriam!


Great query!

Miriam said...

Carol,
Thanks for writing about me on your blog, and thanks for all your encouragement and support throughout the years. I really can't believe that my story is the one you're telling this time!!

Carol Baldwin said...

I know, Miriam. Kind of cool, isn't it?

Jean said...

How over-the-top exciting!

Blessings, Miriam.

Jean
write2ignite.com

Linda A. said...

Hi Carol,

Keep them coming! You must be a good luck charm.

Linda A.

Carol Baldwin said...

I hope so, Linda! Actually, I'm just blessed to be encouraged by other serious writers.

wordwranglernc said...

I was discouraged this week, after only 8 or so years of seeking publication. Your friend AND you have given me renewed hope to cling to a wee bit longer!

Congratulations!

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes,Donna,It is a long haul.We need
talent,a story,AND perseverance!

Bonnie J. Doerr said...

Carol, you seem to keep the good news coming and coming. Miriam's story is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it. Congratulations seems far too quiet a word for Miriam, but adequate words escape me.