I am thrilled to announce that I am now represented by Amy Giuffrida of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency! Amy blew me away with her enthusiasm for my work and her belief in me as a writer, and I’m so excited to grow our careers together.
I know, in a lot of cases, social media can make it seem like people write a book and signs with an agent overnight. That someone has an idea, churns out a book, and snags an agent on the first round of queries. I think it’s easy to look at Twitter and Instagram to see someone’s successes, then look at ourselves and only see failures. To see the pile of rejections in our inbox. I’ve been there. Trust me. This is not one of those stories.
It’s no secret that BLOOD LIKE ROSES is the first book I finished in six years. From finished first draft to offer took a few days under six months. Just typing that out blows my mind – It took me over a year to write A MAGIC DARK & BRIGHT, which I queried for close to a year before going the indie route with it. The book before that (ALERION’S ROAD) took a year to write as well.
BLR? The first draft took 6 weeks. The second? 17 days. I revised it, entered Pitchwars…and didn’t get in. I made some friends with other PW hopefuls, and revised again. I sent a few queries (the first garnered a full request within TWO HOURS and I almost fell out of my chair). Pitched in PitMad & SFFPit. Sent a few more queries, ended up with a few more full requests, one of which led to a revise and resubmit, which I decided to take. I notified the other agents with the manuscript, and started planning. Entered AMM because I was panicking (and didn’t get in). Rewrote the book again. Went to Tin House and typed THE END on Valentine’s Day. Made a few tweaks, and sent it back to the agents waiting on February 22 (including Amy).
On Feburary 26, Amy sent me a note saying she was loving the book and would be in touch as soon as she finished.
On Feb 27, she sent an email with the subject, “Let’s chat.” I think my husband thought someone had died, because I let out a strangled noise, slid off the sofa, and burst into tears.
On Feb 28 – almost exactly ten years after I sent my first query for my first book, we had The Call. I knew immediately that Amy was The One – she had a plan and an enthusiasm for my work that went beyond my wildest dreams. But I made myself do the responsible thing: I asked for two weeks. I notified everyone with the query and the full, and received a flurry of further requests. And I freaked the heck out.
Now, listen. This wasn’t my first time in the query trenches. The other day, I peeked into my Query–Rejections label in gmail. The total? 215. 215 rejections. 215 nos. Form rejections. Rejections so kind I cried for days. Rejections that urged me to keep writing, rejections that said they couldn’t connect with the plot. Rejections that said they loved it, it was just too similar to something on their list. The market had moved on. The genre was saturated. They couldn’t connect with the voice. My voice was confident and magical and engaging but they didn’t think they can sell it. Send them my next book. Please feel free to query them with future projects. They’d love to see more of my work. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.
After 215 rejections and five books, I was used to being told no. So used to being told no that I had stopped myself from thinking about what would happen if someone said yes. I stopped thinking I would ever get a yes. I even stopped writing for a long time (which I wrote about here), and when I finally started again, I wrote a book just for me. I didn’t think about the market, or querying, or anything beyond the blank page in front of me. I wrote a book full of tropes I loved. I wrote a book more fun than anything I had ever written before, a book that reminded me of all of the fantasy I’d devoured as a teen: of Sharon Shinn and Jane Lindskold and Kristen Britain and Sherwood Smith. A book that poured out of my heart and my soul.
That book earned a yes.
Here’s the query I sent to Amy, for those interested in that sort of thing (click to expand).
Ever since her mother burned at the stake, seventeen-year-old Hannelore has been determined to avoid trouble of any kind. It keeps her family safe…or as safe as they can be in 16th century Germany, a region devastated by war, plague, and religious upheaval. But when her father is kidnapped by a pack of werewolves, leaving her beloved stepmother and half-sisters on the brink of ruin, Lore braves the wild mountains of the Black Forest to bring him home.
In the wilderness, the seeds of a long-hidden magic bloom within her, giving her the ability to control the flora of the forest. She confronts the wolves holding her father captive and offers them a bargain: in exchange for her father’s freedom, she will use her magic to help them break the curse that turns them to beasts during every full moon.
Bound by her promise, Lore races to uncover the thorn-laced truth that connects the wolves’ curse, the forest her mother once called home, and the witch hunters who damned her mother to the flames. As the pack fights tooth and claw to cling to their humanity, Lore must embrace the magic in her blood to save those she loves…or burn alongside them.
BLOOD LIKE ROSES is a 95,000 word YA historical fantasy that will appeal to fans of UPROOTED and THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION. I am a 2021 Tin House YA Workshop alum, and I hold degrees in Medieval & Renaissance studies and library science. In 2015, I self-published a YA paranormal romance, A MAGIC DARK & BRIGHT, which sold over 2,500 copies and spent several days in the Top 5 of Amazon’s Teen/YA Horror category.
Thank you for your consideration,
So keep writing. Keep dreaming. Keep trying. It didn’t happen overnight for me, but it happened. And I can’t wait to see what happens next. ♥