2020 has been quite a year. In happy news, my baby boy turned one!
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
He’s still my squishy baby though. He has thoroughly discovered walking and reaching up high for all the things. He’s practising how to run, already, and loves doing his dragon roar and walking really fast (his head tilted forward) after his screaming sisters. You know what that means. IMMA EVEN MORE EXHAUSTED THAN EVAAA hahaha.
In book news, wooo alhamdulilah I am so, so excited to share that Allison Hellegers of Stimola Literary is my literary agent! I am so, so grateful to have her as a champion of my YA book, and future books! SO EXCITED. I’m also hard at work with edits for her, so stay tuned for more book news. (Also, this is the same agency that reps Suzanne Collins of the Hunger Games so aaaaahh my agency helped Hunger Games become a MOVIEEEEE mebbe one day mine also can??? hehehe)
To anyone still in the querying trenches in this pandemic, please hang in there. Rejections are so hard, and so normal in publishing. At some point, I’ll share my rejection stats. Surround yourself with a tribe of supporters while you figure out how to improve your manuscript. Trust that the right agent for you will fall in love with your story and your vision for your long-term writing career. Trust your gut! Take mental health breaks from querying when you need to because it’s never easy to receive rejections. Personalised rejections are a nice bonus, but take the advice that resonates with you. Even though the agent who offered me a fantastic R&R didn’t offer me representation, I’m still grateful for her incredible advice.
My best tip for querying: Take. Your. Time. I know the rush that comes with finishing a novel and wanting agents to read it already!!! But. Take deep breaths. Have beta readers and CPs (especially CPs! Sending hugs to you, Sarah!) read your manuscript so you can make it even better. Right after I finished my novel (literally before I gave birth to Suhail!), Michele Sagan professionally edited it, which helped so, so much. Meredith Ireland, my incredible #DVPIT mentor, helped me revise my manuscript to an even stronger version during the 3 month MCO (movement control order) in Malaysia. That’s the version Allison fell in love with, and the one we’re working on to make even stronger before it goes on submission to editors. It takes. time.
Okay one last thing about querying, I promise. Landing the best agent for you is like…tea. Some agents LOVE Earl Grey. I love Lady Grey. But some agents already have cupboards full of Earl Grey, so even if yours is the best Earl Grey everrr – it won’t suit their list. Other agents love Jasmine tea. And that’s cool too. Some agents love Rooibos tea. Personally, I don’t, and that’s okay! It’s so, so subjective. The right agent for you has that gap in their cupboard with your perfect tea blend of a book, and it’s only a matter of time before you meet your perfect-for-you agent match ❤
Some courses I did and loved throughout my 10 month querying journey:
- Writing in the cracks: Finding Time for Writing When You Have None – this course is INCREDIBLE because it truly goes to show that scraps of time do add up/sikit sikit lama-lama jadi bukit WORKS.
- Character building workshop – so enlightening! I kinda wished I did this course before I finished my book!
- Description and Delivering Information for Genre Writers – Still working through this one but so, so good.
- Two week’s to your best children’s book – I did course when I felt my brain go to mush when I thought about writing another YA novel….and then I realised that um wow picture books are complex too for entirely different reasons.
- The triangle method of character creation – because…I am addicted to writing courses. lol.
- Character-first story – free deep dive!
Back to my edits!