During a writer’s conference that Andy and I attended in New York City during November of 2010, literary agents at the conference repeatedly expressed the need for Young Adult horror manuscripts. Andy and I looked at each other and said, “We have a scary story to tell.” For much of our growing up, we had told a campfire story that scared the socks off of family and boy scouts. For the next 2 days as we traveled the subways around NYC, we discussed characters and plot twists and turns.Once back in Colorado, we spent the next 9 months writing and perfecting the manuscript. I sent out over 150 query letters in 2011 to literary agents, hoping one would want to represent us. Although we had several opportunities to submit portions of our manuscript, we had no takers.
At this point, Rachel Black entered our lives, though we didn’t know it. She was a member of a writer’s group and attended a writers’ conference in Utah where a publishing company named Jolly Fish Press made a presentation. Rachel was impressed and told her sister, Becca, “They seem pretty sharp and they’re looking for manuscripts.”
Well, Becca took the word back to her father-in-law, Andy, recommending we try Jolly Fish Press. Middle of January 2012, I sent Jolly Fish Press a query letter with 30 pages of the manuscript. The next weeks were feverish as we responded to requests for more pages, continually polishing until we were asked to send the complete manuscript. Then we waited. And waited.
One vivid memory stands out. My critique group was just finishing up in a meeting room at the Courtyard by Marriot near my home, when I looked up to see my wife standing at the door. All she would tell me as we left the hotel was, "Chris Loke, chief editor at Jolly Fish Press wants to talk with you." I got Andy on a conference call. Together we listened to the enthusiasm in Chris' voice as he welcomed us to Jolly Fish Press.
Such exciting times followed and continue to unfold. But in the middle of it all is a little thread that stretches back to Rachel Black. So we say, “Thanks, Rachel” (and Becca) and shake our heads thinking how slim the odds were we'd hear of Jolly Fish Press or have a book published.
Was it fate? Was it karma? Or just blind luck? I’m not answering that one.All I can say is, "Let's Party!"
What do you think?
What do you think?