The last two weeks felt like they were part of someone else’s life—a real author’s life—that I got to borrow for a little while. I went over my manuscript with a virtual magnifying glass to find any problems I might have missed the first hundred times I revised it, and I found that I rely on crutch words far more than I would have liked to believe. (I will also use ten words where one would do, as that last sentence makes clear.)

I very much enjoyed working with the awesome and supportive writers who were on my Pitch Madness team. I got some (badly needed) help with my query letter, something I was brand new to doing. I probably learned more in the almost-two weeks of Pitch Madness than I have from years of perusing writing books and forums.

And ever since our pitches went live for the agent round on Thursday, I’d been telling myself that even if I got no interest, the experience I’d had was already enough of a win. I went through the list of participating agents and noticed that horror is not an overwhelmingly popular genre, so I was trying to keep my expectations realistic.

(Here is my pitch and first 250 words, if you want to see.)

But I got a request! An agent wants to see more of my story.

(“Gumdrop Pass” means that the agent wants my query, synopsis, and first 50 pages.)

So it was a very happy St. Patrick’s Day indeed.

I cannot say enough good things about the Pitch Madness experience. As a person new to the process of seeking an agent, I am incredibly grateful to Brenda Drake and all the published writers and agents who participate every year to help people like me. And special thanks to Mary Ann Marlowe and Samantha Joyce, my helpful and supportive mentors for the contest. You guys actually made the process of writing queries and polishing the manuscript seem—gulp—fun.

(I also learned that it’s a good thing I’m not an agent, because I had NO sense whatsoever of which books would attract a lot of attention and which ones would not. Any time I tried to guess, I guessed dead wrong.)

If you have a polished manuscript ready to query by the time the contest rolls around next year, you really owe it to yourself and your novel to submit it. And there are plenty of Twitter pitch days before that. I’ve been bitten hard by the querying bug, so I’ll be there for #PitMad next Thursday.

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