Thursday, January 23, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #7: Jennifer Novotney @jennovotney

We are thrilled to bring you yet another awesome success story from PitchMAS! 

We'll give Jennifer Novotney the floor so she can tell you all about her recent publishing deal with Anaiah Press!

Take it away, girl! And HUGE congratulations!!! 

It all started when I saw the Twitter/blog contest for Pitchmas, a pitch party run by Jessa Russo and Tamara Mataya, where editors and agents can see your novel pitch and request material. The first part of the event was on the blog and only the top 75 entries got in. Honestly, I was hesitant to enter it. During the query process for Winter in the Soul, while I had managed to rack up at least 40 agent rejections, a successful, high powered literary agent expressed interest in it and was reading the full manuscript. I didn't know if I should try and pitch it, but I gave it a shot anyway. I also sent in two other pitches for my other unpublished works. One of them, not for Winter in the Soul, got in and was displayed on the blog. The first request I received was from Kara Leigh Miller, the managing editor of Anaiah Press, who requested to read the first three chapters. It got even better because just four short hours later, she asked to read the entire manuscript. I was ecstatic! This was the farthest I had gotten with a publisher and I couldn't wait to hear back from her.
The next day was the Twitter Pitchmas pitch party where any writer could pitch their work for the day. No one was biting on Winter in the Soul. The other work, the same that had come in at number 11 on the blog contest, was getting all kinds of requests. I saw that Kara from Anaiah Press tweeted about wanting a young adult story written in third person and I told her I had one. She asked me to send the first three chapters and I waited patiently for her to request the full, just like she had so promptly with the other one. Only this time, nothing happened, at least not right away.  Six days later, she requested the full manuscript and then the next evening, just 31 hours later, she emailed to offer me a contract for publication with Anaiah Press.
I couldn't believe it. I wasn't even seriously pitching it and now, I had a bona fide offer. I had some thinking to do. I didn't even have an agent yet and I didn't plan to publish my work before getting one. I let the agent who was reading the full manuscript for Winter in the Soul know about the offer, but without a written contract from him, I decided to go full speed ahead with Anaiah Press. For one, they are amazing. Every single staff member I've interacted with so far has been professional, positive, and excellent at their job. This gave me so much confidence in them that the choice was clear. I wanted someone passionate about Winter in the Soul to be behind the book and since Kara had read it in nearly a day, I knew they were the ones to do it.
I am looking forward to working with a small press who can give me the attention I deserve for my debut novel. I'll be posting updates along the way so follow my blog to keep up to date on my publishing story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#PitchMAS Success Story #6: Vicki Leigh @vleighwrites

We're so happy to bring you yet another awesome success story! This one not only includes a publishing contract, but an awesome agent as well! Woot! 

HUGE congratulations, Vicki! 

Now, we'll let Vicki take it away! You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, her website, and Goodreads

The short version:
In July 2013, I participated in Pitchmas. All total, I received partial requests from six agents and three full requests from editors. After completing a R&R for Alison, an editor at Curiosity Quills, she excited me with an offer of publication! At that time, I queried a few agents, requesting help negotiating the deal with Curiosity Quills, and was absolutely thrilled when Sarah Negovetich offered representation! And on December 16th, I signed the paperwork with Curiosity Quills. Thanks, Jessa and Tamara, for hosting such an amazing event. Pitchmas helped make my dreams come true! 

The long version:

Now that things are official, and I've sent my first round of edits to my editor, I can finally share my success story with you all! (I can't believe I'm writing this post.)

Last July, I participated in Jessa and Tamara's fantastic event called Pitchmas. For those of you who don't know what that is, head over to their website right now and check it out. You won't regret it, because all this good news I'm about to share can come down to one word - Pitchmas.

All total, I received partial requests from six agents and three full requests from editors during the event. Which was freaking amazing in itself. After lots of squealing, I sent off my submissions to these nine fantastic publishing professionals and waited like a kid the night before Christmas for their responses. Would they like it? Those that had partials, would they ask for more?

A few weeks later, Alison, an editor at Curiosity Quills Press, told me she loved my story but wanted a few changes before she could make a final decision.

Um, can we say AWESOME??!! 

There are three types of responses you can receive from agents/editors: 1) No, 2) Please revise and resubmit, or 3) Yes, I love this! Two of them are positive. And I just got a request for an R&R. My first one ever.

I spent days working with my critique partners, pouring over her notes and making changes to my manuscript like my feet were strapped to a bomb if I didn't finish fast. After my CPs liked my new changes, I sent it back to Alison. 

And then a few weeks later, everything changed: She not only loved my changes, but she excited me with an offer of publication! 

Immediately, I queried a few more agents, seeking help negotiating the deal with Curiosity Quills. (Don't underestimate the fantastic-ness of agents, you guys. They are so incredibly wise and they know the business.) Again, I got three more requests for my full manuscript, one of them being the absolutely amazing Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

A couple days later, I signed the contract with Sarah, and on December 16th, I signed the paperwork with Curiosity Quills. 

What a ride, let me tell you. A terrifying, exciting ride. 

If you have a chance to participate in Pitchmas this year, I so recommend it. Doing so literally changed my life. 

Thank you, Jessa and Tamara, for hosting such an amazing event. Pitchmas helped make my dreams come true!