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For every epic story, there is a quest. For every quest, there is a hero. And for every hero, there's a sidekick. A sidekick can be anything from your protagonists best friend, to maybe something as simple as a household pet. Heck, in my story, COPERNICUS NERDICUS, Nic's sidekick is a fully functional battle-robot from an interactive video game. Strange, eh? It really doesn't matter who or what they are, there is one thing you have to realize :

They are JUST as important as your main character.

Before I move on and discuss just how important a side kick is to your main character, let's take a look at some famous side kicks in storytelling history. Oh, and feel free to comment with your own personal favorites. After all, every story has one.

Star Wars - There are so many to choose from, but thanks to my love of robots from my own MG novel, I can't resist choosing these two bucket of bolts.

What's great about these two guys, is that they're not even human yet they show such a wide range of human emotion that you literally feel for them just as much as you do Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and all your other "organic" characters. But that's not even the half of it. Without these two characters, the universe would be destroyed as we know it. Without that little R2 unit, we would have never seen the destruction of the death star, and who knows how long it would have taken for Luke to find Obi Wan. And what's a huge alien universe without a protocol droid?

Long story short - without these two guys, our Star Wars story would go nowhere.

Lord of the Rings - Sure, I could have picked Gandalf. Better yet, I could have picked Aragorn. But no, they aren't even close to the same level importance as my favorite hobbit. That's right, folks.

If Sam was hanging outside Frodo's window that night, consider middle earth destroyed. If it wasn't for Samwise's undying faith and love for Frodo Baggins, Frodo NEVER would have made it to Mount Doom. What's great about Samwise, is that he is weak and vulnerable. But the love he has for Frodo makes him stronger than any weapon at their disposal. He never ONCE gives up. Okay, maybe he does have moments of despair, but he comes through in the end. Sam is well deserving of the title hero of the shire.

Now what's the point I'm trying to make? Well, you can say one fact about secondary characters is that they all have their own intriguing back story that cannot be ignored. It creates some amazing depth in your story, and the fact of the matter is, your MC isn't the only person we're following in the story. Plus, it's a lot more realistic if your secondary characters actually appear to be alive, and not just cardboard cutouts or cookie cutters.

Oops, forgot -

I'm sorry Batman, I forgot about you and Robin.

There's one thing about secondary characters that make them quite possibly the most IMPORTANT part of any story. I want you to take a guess. Come on. Guess.

Done guessing?

Here's what it is - it's all about making YOUR MC evolve! And I'm not talking pokemon (but seriously, if you want to talk pokemon drop me a message on twitter or something). I'm talking about growing as a character throughout the story. Look at what I pointed out above with our side kicks from Star Wars and LOTR. Every one of them teaches the MC something about themselves that they didn't realize before. They go through moments in the story that are life changing for both sides. But without those side characters, there's little hope for your MC to get anywhere.

So do yourself a favor when writing your story. Don't just add characters as fluff for your MC to talk to or joke around with. Static conversation with another character doesn't go anywhere. I had made that mistake plenty of times when I first started writing. Make each conversation meaningful in one way or the other. And have each interaction between our MC and sidekick move the story forward.

Remember, it's not only about your MC. Where would Harry be without Ron and Hermione? Where would Wesley be without Inigo and Fezzik? Where would Bruce Willis be without Carl Winslow from Family Matters?!

Get it folks? Good - now get writing, and give me some of your favorite secondary characters!

*gulps* The CALL

You've been waiting for this day to happen for what seemed like an eternity. Since the first word fell on the page, until the last. You've done your research and you've queried only agents you know that would be interested in your epic tale. A handful have gotten back to you and requested pages, and some of them have even upgraded to full manuscript requests.

Then it happens.

You receive an e-mail (or a voice mail) and you can't believe it. An agent wants to schedule a phone conversation. That's right, an AGENT WANTS TO TALK TO YOU!


You are about to make - THE CALL!!!

Feel free to dance! You've earned it! It's no easy feat to get this far, but through perseverance and hard work, you've done it! But now the most important thing is not to panic, and not to let excitement get the better of you. It's time to put your business hat on.

When I first received the e-mail that my agent wanted to talk on the phone, I couldn't believe it was happening. I remember exactly where I was too when I saw it come in. I had just come back from Cape Cod, and picked up my dog from the kennel only to realize I had no dog food left at home. I was at the pet store, and lo and behold the e-mail came in. I responded almost immediately and arranged a call for the next week.

The first part of the call is all about preparation. It's a great way of calming your nerves too. I'll assume by this time you've done your research on the agents you've queried so you pretty much know what to expect in terms of what they're looking for, what sort of clients they have, and whether or not they are a boutique agency. But now is the time to prepare a list of questions that you can ask them.

Here is a handful of questions that I had locked and loaded for my phone conversation -

  1. What did you enjoy most about my work? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?
  2. Are you an editorial agent?
  3. Will I be working solely with you or with someone else at the agency as well? An Intern?
  4. How long have you been an agent?
  5. What are your most recent sales?
  6. How many clients do you currently have?
  7. Can I speak to a current client of yours? (this is insanely important. I can't stress how helpful it is to get insider feedback from someone already working with the agent. It's VERY helpful in making your decision!)
  8. Are you interested in future works by me?
  9. What happens if you can't sell this manuscript?
  10. Which publishers did you have in mind for my work? Will you update me on the submission process?
  11. Besides the novel, what other routes do you feel we can take this manuscript? (great when talking about merchandising, film rights, audio books, etc.)
  12. How much work is needed to prepare my manuscript for submission?
  13. Will you help with my proposal?
  14. Do you work with international rights?
  15. Do you have a verbal or written contract? (although I think now a days most agents seem to have a written contract. It's the best route too. Cover your bases)
  16. What is your percentage? Most agents to my knowledge are 15% domestic and 20% international.
  17. What would happen if we have to part ways? (if it turns out it just isn't working out. This does happen, as unfortunate as it may sound)
  18. What do you look for in a client?
  19. What questions do you have for me?
Now I'm sure you can come up with some other questions that are more specific to you, but this is just a general list I had scavenged up. It's better to be prepared though, trust me!

So the day arrives, and you're waiting for the agent to call you. The phone rings, and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is some sort of gibberish that you never knew was in you. Your nerves have gotten the better of you. It's all over! You've domed yourself!

Alright, alright. Calm down. Here's the most important thing to realize. AGENTS ARE PEOPLE TOO! They are JUST as excited to make the phone call as you are to receive it. There's a reason they are calling you, and it's because they LOVE your work!

Let the agent lead the conversation. Be personable, friendly, and throw in a sense of humor. You don't want to come across as a robot. Unless you are one. Then that's pretty cool. Anyway, they are calling you because they want to know if they can work with you. It's one thing for them to fall in love with your manuscript, but they have to know that you aren't going to be some crazy person too. 

Okay, you can be crazy. But not TOO crazy. 

Now the agent is going to be asking you a lot of questions. Think of it as a casual interview. They're trying to get a read on you and how well you know the industry and how it works. And to prepare you for this, I've even drummed up a list of questions I remember being asked across my phone conversations, and some that I had even planned to be asked about!

  1. How did you come up with your story?
  2. What is your platform?
  3. What is your target age group?
  4. How are you involved in social media? What is your presence?
  5. How would you market your book?
  6. What are your goals with your book? What are your expectations?
  7. Do you see this as a stand alone, or a series?
  8. Are you working on anything else currently?
  9. What do you look for in an agent?
If all goes swimmingly, you and the agent are probably having a shockingly smooth and natural conversation! Just when you think it couldn't get any better the agent hits you with this -

"I would love to represent you."

Feel free to dance again.

Okay, okay. That's enough. 

I know part of you wants to just scream YES, but hold on there! Aren't you forgetting you have other agents out there with your manuscript?

The first thing you want to do is thank the agent for extending the offer. Tell them how excited you are and how much you enjoyed speaking with them. Then tell them you would like a week or so to decide, and that you also need to get back to other agents regarding this turn of events. Trust me, they'll understand. It's business. They know you have been querying other agents, and they probably assumed other agents already have your work. They aren't going to retract their offer just because you asked them to wait a little bit. 

It's a courtesy! And it's very professional of you. Once you say your goodbyes, and you've caught your breath, go ahead and do your third little dance...yeah yeah, go ahead. Do a little jig.

Done? Okay.

Now all you have to do is e-mail every agent out there that has your manuscript currently and let them know that an offer of representation has been extended to you. It's up to you WHO you want to send it to. I personally sent it to agents that had some form of my manuscript (whether a partial or a full). Some of them will get back to you, some of them won't. You might find yourself scheduling a few more phone conversations in the next week depending on how much time you gave. 

Typically, the best mindset is to give around 7-10 days. That should be enough turn around and enough notice for everyone. Not too long. Not too short. 

After another 2 weeks or so, you've had all your phone conversations, and you may have even received a few more offers of representation. The only thing left to do now is decide who you want to champion your book. Now I cant make that decision for you, but I can leave you with a little piece of advice.

Go with your gut. Usually that's the right route to take. That one agent you KNEW you had an awesome connection with is probably the one who is going to work the hardest to sell your manuscript. 

And don't forget to pat yourself on the back - you did good, kid. Go treat yourself to some pizza.

So let's talk a little bit about Query Letters -

Alright, alright! Chill out! This has to be done!

Before we get started, I'm going to give you a little bit of a warning.

I am by no means a "go-to" person for Query Letter advice. I for one despise query letters. They are torturous, foul beasts that need to be sent back to the confines of hell where they belong. Just the idea of summarizing your novel into a few measly paragraphs makes the average writer want to rip off their hands and fling them into the fiery pits of Mount Doom.

Another thing is, there are so many different opinions, suggestions, tutorials, guides etc on how to write a Query Letter scattered across the internet and various books that this is just my humble interpretation. Take it with a grain of salt. I'm just trying to help based on my own experiences dealing with query letters for the last year or so.

Unfortunately, they are what separates you from snagging that gold star agent that you have been drooling over for the last year or so.

With that said, let us continue. I'll separate this into a few Q&A's to make it easier to follow.


What is a Query Letter? 

Simple question, right? Unfortunately, it's not an easy answer. To sum it up, a query letter is a short (typically one page) pitch sent to agents with the hope of peeking their interest enough that they request pages to read based off your manuscript. You need to be creative, yet professional. All in all, you need to show agents that this is the book they have been waiting for their entire lives!

What is a Query Letter Format?

It generally follows this format (although it differs depending on personal preference). So don't go too crazy over formatting. 

The Greeting : (Dear Awesome Agent,)

The Reason you are writing : (some people don't do this. But it adds a personal touch which agents seem to appreciate) I am writing to you today seeking representation for my kick-arse manuscript. I feel that you may be interested since A) you represent these books in my category B) you are looking for a book of this type based on your website / twitter / etc. C) an interview I read says you are seeking this type of book.

The Hook : This is your chance to reel in that agent. Usually this includes a one sentence tag line bringing us right into the thick of your story. You should be introducing your MC in this paragraph as well as giving as a strong idea as to what awesome plot line he is up against. Should be short an sweet. But it all depends on taste.

The well crafted "synopsis" : Summarize your book, but make it enticing. Don't summarize each chapter, because that's not what a query is. Give us the juicy details, but leave us hanging for the outcome. Make us want to know what is going to happen to your main character if he doesn't "Save the day". Back flaps of a novel are a great way to get an idea of what should be in this paragraph.

The Bio : Depends on you. If you have a bio with some great credentials to back your book, go ahead and throw it in there!

The Closing : If you haven't already given your word count, title, and category. Now's the time. Thank them for taking the time to read it, and sign off. 

That's it. Easy, right?

Yeah, you're right. Nobody likes queries :( Unless you're talking about me....*glares*

When should you write your query?

Now this is entirely up to you. I'm the type of person that starts writing a draft of a query as soon as I have an idea for a book. For some reason it forces me to summarize my book quickly, discover my main characters stakes and objectives, as well as a generalized story. To me, it's like a "pre-synopsis" of my book. But it shouldn't sound like a synopsis (more on that later)

Others write it after they've finished their manuscript, and it's gone through its 8,363 revisions, been read and re-read by CP's, and you've finally decided it's ready to be pitched. Most people go this route, as they don't even want to focus on a query letter until the last possible moment.


When to Query?

There's a little known disease out there called PQS - premature query syndrome. Some people suffer from it, and it's evil. I first heard about it on the absolute writer water cooler forums, and I realized I had it. I sent out my first query letter for Copernicus right when I finished my last bunch of edits and had the go ahead from a few CP's. I thought it was ready....but it wasn't.

Got some responses, but ended up losing out because my MS still wasn't 100%. You NEED to make sure you hold off on sending any queries until you are so sick of editing your MS that you'd rather stab yourself in the eyes with a pen. Hold off until you are ABSOLUTELY SURE. And once you are absolutely sure, WAIT SOME MORE. Put it in a drawer for a month or two. Then come back and look at it. 


Final Advice

The biggest advice I can give is to subject your query letter to as many critiques as possible. Get a slew of feedback, and apply it as you see fit. Not every piece of feedback will work, but ultimately your goal is to make your query letter sound as awesome as possible, while still maintaining your voice. Don't make it Frankenstein. Just make it effective.

Re-write it a dozen times. Then re-write it another dozen. It's worth it in the end.

The "DO NOTS" of Query Letter Writing :

  • DO NOT get the agent's name wrong
  • DO NOT forget to provide all your contact information
  • DO NOT forget to include the title, word count, and genre of your book
  • DO NOT forget to personalize each query letter (subjective..not everyone does it)
  • DO NOT forget to check your query letter for spelling and grammatical errors
  • (repeat above)
  • (repeat above again)
  • DO NOT send the query letter to the WRONG agent
  • DO NOT send query letters to agents NOT representing your category
  • DO NOT forget to read agent's guidelines for querying. Each agent is different.
  • DO NOT forget to show past publication credentials (especially if they're good!) - great to put in bio if requested
  • DO NOT forget to include pages if asked for in guidelines
  • DO NOT send your query letter without having other people read it first
  • DO NOT give up
Well, there you have it. My little blog post about querying. And just to make things a little bit crazy, here is my far from perfect query letter that helped me snag my uber-awesome agent.

Dear Ms. Dawn Frederick,

I am writing you today seeking representation of my 54,000 word middle-grade adventure novel, COPERNICUS NERDICUS. You had mentioned in your twitter feed under #MSWL that you are seeking a "middle-grade not-overly-sci-fi adventure with robots", and my novel taps into both. It targets readers who are gamers at heart by bringing to life video game elements while combining the hilarious adventures of Michael Buckley's NERDS series, with the robotic action packed pages of J.V. Kade's BOT WARS.

Thirteen-year-old gamer, Copernicus ‘Nic’ Wilhelm, has one chance to win fifty thousand dollars and prevent his dad from losing his laboratory to the devious inventor, Geoffrey Zorn--The Digital Zone video game tournament. But when Geoffrey Zorn unveils a new virtual gaming console called EVO to be used in the finals, Nic only has a week to master a futuristic robotic fighting game.

Easy enough for Nic, that is, until the game fights back. 

When EVO transforms into a short-circuiting attack robot, the term video game realism takes on a completely new meaning. With the help of his friends, Nic re-programs the rampaging robot, but that wasn’t the only problem. EVO was also installed with a brainwashing microchip by the vile criminal organization, C.O.R.E (Coalition of Rogue Engineers) in order to kidnap tournament contestants, including Nic's best friend, and transform them into pilots for an army of kid-controlled robots straight out of the game.

With the police now controlled by C.O.R.E too, Nic and his friends must pummel their way through C.O.R.E troops using everything from stink bombs to slime cannons in order to rescue the contestants and discover proof of Zorn’s involvement in the mind control plot. Meanwhile, a fleet of robotic drones is preparing to invade Nic’s hometown of Twin Valley, and ultimately the world. Nic is in a race against time to put a stop to C.O.R.E and ensure the tournament goes on, before his gamer guile and new robot’s battery, runs out.

Regardless of your decision, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to consider my work. 

That's it - see? not even close to being perfect. Heck, I still despise it to this day.

Hope you guys aren't still freaking out about query letters now. And feel free to ask any questions you may have about em. So, everyone okay with query letters now? Not so bad, right?

Guess not....

You're kicking back and relaxing with one of your favorite middle grade books. (For me, I have finally caught up with all the Heroes of Olympus books by Rick Riordan...but that doesn't matter). You've just hit the last page, and the only thing left to do is close the book. This adventure is over. Without a second thought you jump from your seat, flinging the book halfway across the room. You stretch out your arms and shout at the top of your lungs.


Fantastic! But, what are you going to write about?

This is the hard part. Coming up with an idea that is not only original, but something that will appeal to a middle grade audience that is seemingly more often than not called a "reluctant reader". Now I am not going to tell you what to write in this post, but rather give a few suggestions as to how to snag the interest of a MG reader and hold it for each and every page of your book.

Phase 1 - Coming up with the Concept aka THE BRAINSTORMING SESSION!

The fact of the matter is, phase 1 doesn't exist. It's a myth. I find the best way to come up with your idea is to just let it come to you naturally. Whether it's while you are driving in your car, on the train to work, during dinner, or waking up from a vivid dream. It can come to you at any moment. Which is why I give you this one bit of advice. Keep some sort of journal, or device where you can keep track of your ideas. You never know when it's going to strike.

Phase 2 - The idea has been born! Now let's keep it original...

First of all, I'd pay good money to see a Star Trek TNG / Star Wars tie in, but seriously folks. Let's keep your ideas original! We all want to grab from other books that have inspired us, but we have to be careful. One of the key things a reader is looking for (especially a MIDDLE GRADE reader), is something fresh and new. Sure, middle grade kids would go nuts over a book with fierce warriors or epic star ship battles, but we have to go where no man has gone before with our books (oh snap, see the star trek tie in right there?). There is no problem with being inspired, but rule #1 is to come up with an original plot behind your concept. Once again, don't rush this. Let it come to you. You'll be surprised what's waiting to break free if you just let your imagination run wild.

Phase 3 - But what do MG kids like?! Determining your target audience.

Good question. And that's up to you to decide. I am in no place to tell you what to write about. Every kid is different, and that's where you have to figure out who you're going to cater your story to. Are you targeting the Sci-Fi buff, the contemporary reader, or maybe the kid dragon slayer? Be careful though. You don't want to put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you're not stretching yourself too thin with your audience. Too much of a good thing could end up being a bad one. Some more advice? Hang out with some middle grade kids! Nieces, nephews, volunteering at your local school or library. Get to know them! Some kids love telling you about what their latest addiction is!

Phase 4 - The kick-butt protagonist.......

Alright, Kirk. You don't need to kick your own butt. But in all seriousness, this is one of the most important aspects of your book. Your NEED to have your audience fall in love and relate with your protagonist. Especially with a middle grade audience, they need to believe that this character could be real. They want to read the book, and have it feel that they are following the MC every step of the way. We want to root for them and put ourselves in their shoes! Learn how they think. Learn how they act, and apply that to your MC. MAKE. HIM/HER. BELIEVABLE!

Phase 5- The diabolical antagonist..........

There he is Khan! FOUND WALDO! Good job, but you're still evil. Second most important part of your book? A villain worth remembering. How can anyone forget he-who-must-not-be-named? Take a look at what JK Rowling did with her villain. A villain is not just someone who is out to get your protagonist. They have just as much of a story as your protagonist does. What drives them to be evil? ARE they really evil? What is their conflict? Do not ignore these things. Villains aren't mindless. In fact, there is usually more going on their heads than the hero. 

Phase 6- Don't give up on your story!

You've come this far, now the only part left is to finish it. Let the story come out at it's own pace. This isn't a race to the finish. Write, write, and write some more. Then edit, edit, and edit even more. You have a great idea right at your finger tips, and I guarantee you, if you put the effort in, an audience is out there waiting to read it.

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me when I was going to act my age - well you get the point.

This is me now. Sitting on my home-made game of thrones, dressed up as some idiotic warlord. At my job. Talk about immature?
(bow before me, minions!)

I just turned the big 'ol 3-0 this past June, and how do I feel? Well, I still feel like I'm a teenager. But I guess that's the point. I don't think I am ever going to grow up. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to. Sure I know how to be responsible (sometimes?), and I know that I have to wake up every morning and go to work. But ask anyone. Ask my friends. Ask my wife. Ask my parents. Ask my co-workers. They'll all tell you the same thing.

Tom Torre? That guy is never growing up. And they aren't saying it in a bad way.

(I mean, how cool am I? Taking a picture with Leonardo)

Which brings me to the whole point of me writing this post. Why I write middle grade? This isn't even a question for me, it's a given. What better way for me to tap into my inner child than by reliving experiences through the eyes and mind of my MG's MC's. With each MG book I write, or outline, or formulate, there's a little piece of me in each one. So many of my fondest memories come from my childhood, and why wouldn't I want to relive it in as many ways possible?
(yup, like I said. I'm awesome)

Who was I in middle grade though? Saying I was a nerd, would be putting it lightly. I gamed constantly, and most of my hang outs with friends consisted of either playing video games, DnD or Magic the Gathering. I wished I was a member of the Goonies, and I would drag my friends out on obnoxious treasure hunts. Sure, as I got older I took part in more "normal" activities such as playing hockey (I'm a pretty dang good goaltender), but I always kept with my nerdly roots. I was that kid known for his stupid voices, and being the class clown. I was also the one that drew on my test papers, and all over my desk. As big as goofball as I was though, I was still a sensitive kid.

As you know, MG wasn't without its heart breaks. It's a critical point of development, and it's really, what I feel to be, the building blocks for the rest of your life. As much as I remember the good times, I remember some of the bad as well. But they balanced out, and I'm lucky for that. And each memory gives me a chance to shape it into a new story. Memories of friends, families, and events that you will remember for a lifetime.

With the hopes that one day my MG books will be on shelves, and you happen to pick up a copy, realize that when you're reading my work, you're reading part of my life. It may not be as it actually happened, but there's bits and pieces of me in there. Not just me from when I was younger, but me as I am now as well. After all, I feel the best group of people that I can relate with, are those I write for. And those that I feel I act like the most.

I'm just kid. Always have been. Always will be.

Anyway, thanks for reading, but that's not all folks!

For my rafflecopter giveaway, I shall offer my esteemed artistic services (which aren't that great mind you..but I was a cartooning major in college lol), and I shall sketch your Main Character & your villain from your novel for you. You would just need to provide me a description so I know what the heck I'm doodling. Otherwise, you're just getting a bear attacking a shark.....and the bear is going to be riding a raptor and the shark is flying on a pterodactly. In fact, that's kind of cool. So i'll draw that instead if you so desire.

Who has two thumbs and a kick arse agent? This guy!

Well, I've been waiting approximately one year to the day to write this blog post. One long year of major ups, and major downs. Finally, after a grueling wait, I can finally say those three words. BUT, let's not jump the gun yet. Our story actually begins.....

Oh, come on. You know I had to throw that in there.  So sit back, relax, grab some popcorn, a soda (or preferably water...too much sugar, ya know?), and enjoy the blog.

It started two years ago during a random car ride into the NYC that I came up with the title for my middle grade book, COPERNICUS NERDICUS. It was all thanks to a friend of mine who told me to name my future son, Copernicus, which I immediately rejected. "Copernicus?" I said. "Are you nuts? You might as well call the kid Nerdicus." I stopped the car, pulled over, and jumped out screaming 'I'VE GOT IT!'.

The 54 Best Animated GIFs Of 2012

"Awesome title, BRO!"

Okay it didn't really happen exactly like that, but that's pretty much how the idea came to be.

A few months after that fateful car ride, I had the first draft complete of COPERNICUS NERDICUS. After another month or so of edits, I gave it to a few beta readers. I got a slew of rips, but also a ton of praise. It wasn't quite ready yet, but I was getting close. In August of 2012, I finished the final batch of edits (I thought anyway), and was ready to start pitching.

The hard part, was coming up with the query. But I'll get into that in another post. I sent my first query letter out on August 19, 2012. I also received my first full request, from that same query, on August 19, 2012...approx 2 hours later. I know what you're thinking. That DOES NOT HAPPEN. The first thought that went through my mind was "That was easy. I don't see what all the fuss was about." I sent out my full manuscript, and 2 weeks later I received a friendly, positive, and reassuring rejection. Within those 2 weeks though, I also received around 5 other rejections from my query alone.

Well, I guess this wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Almost as easy as the rebels thought it would be to blow up the death star with a few measly pilots. (I was definitely porkins)

I took the opportunity to revisit my manuscript and revise it again based on the feedback I received from that first rejection. The MS came to life, and I started to start the query process again. This time, with a revised query and an updated manuscript. By February 2013, I had around three or four full requests out with different agents. I thought my chances were getting up there. But a month or so later, I received rejection letters on each. One open to a revise and resubmit, which sparked a major MS overhaul that would reflect in my manuscript today.

I'll say this - the rejections I received from every agent I queried were better than anyone could ask for. They were reassuring, and complimented my writing abilities. I just didn't seem to be connecting with the right agents at this point. I was a little dejected, but I was forced to push myself forward, especially after one agent who reached out to through twitter to even read my manuscript, told me "Keep trying. You've got something really cool here. Another agent is sure to pick you up." Whether they were telling me that just to be nice, I took it to heart anyway. I had to keep going.

Mario never gave up..even after dealing with those annoying toads.

By April of 2013 I had rewritten my manuscript. AGAIN. This time, it switched over from a battle-bot focused manuscript, into a mixture of battle-bot and video games. For those of you that don't know me, video games are my passion. I'm a nerd, always will be a nerd, and I'm damn proud of it. With my newly revised MS, I felt my chances were the best they could be. But I also didn't want to drain my precious query resources. Instead, I started entering a few writing competitions.

These proved to be invaluable, and really pushed my manuscript to the next level. Especially THE WRITERS VOICE competition. I was lucky enough to be picked for the amazing Team Brenda with the fantabulous Brenda Drake, where my manuscript was exposed to a number of agents. My query and first 250 received more praise than I expected and I was ecstatic when I received a few requests. I sent my manuscript out one more time, and waited. And waited. I was getting SO CLOSE...I could taste it.

During the wait however, something unexpected happened. A little twitter event called #MSWL - a chance for agents to post their manuscript wish lists. I browsed through them, and tagged a few agents that may enjoy COPERNICUS NERDICUS. But I apparently missed out on the most important one. My good writing buddy, Jamie Krakover (@rockets2writing) messaged me and pointed out one particular MSWL. An agent was looking for a Middle Grade Adventure book that wasn't overly sci-fi that involved robots.

I blinked. This can't be true. That was my book. That was EXACTLY my book. I didn't waste a second, and I sent my query out. An hour later, I received a partial request.

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(yup that's what it felt like)

This time, the wait wasn't as bad. One week after the partial request, I received an upgrade to a full. I told myself not to think much of it. It's happened before. I went away for a weekend trip to cape cod a few weeks afterwards, and on the day I returned an e-mail came that I didn't expect.

The agent wanted to talk on the phone. At that moment, I practically pooped myself. Yes I said that.

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I e-mailed back, scheduled a time to call, and prepped all the questions I could. The day of the call, I was a nervous wreck. I needed to pull myself away from my desk and find a nice quiet spot to talk. She called, we had an amazing conversation, and of course with my luck I lost connection three times. Thank you bad office reception. You are so helpful. We talked about my book, what she loved about it, what she thought she could do with it, and her entire process. It was like she was reading my mind and answering every question I had. Even at the end of the convo I had to tell her "geez! you answered practically all my questions before I had the chance to ask!" She laughed, but of course I had a few more back ups!

At some point in the middle of the convo, she asked to represent me. And....I basically felt like this.

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I asked for a little over a week to get back to the other agents that still had my work, and promised I would get back to her with any other questions I had. So, we parted ways, and I immediately sent out a notice to the remaining agents that I now had an offer on the table.

A few agents got back to me immediately saying that they would read the MS asap. Others requested upgrades to fulls. A few stepped aside, wishing me the best of luck and expressing their excitement to see my book on shelves. It just felt weird. I never received so many agent e-mails in such a short span of time.

A couple of days later, I received another offer of rep. Two days after that, one more offer. I gathered my thoughts, took another day to think, but I already knew my decision.

So, I e-mailed agent numero uno back, and accepted the offer. So, I've waited a while to post this, but now I can happily say..I HAVE AN AGENT. I am now represented by the spectacular DAWN FREDERICK of RED SOFA LITERARY. I couldn't be happier. And how do I feel after all this? This sums up the awesome-sauce.

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My final stats, after browsing through all my notes and query tracking are as follows.

Queries sent : 62
Full Requests : 12
Offers Of Rep : 3

And thank you to everyone who helped me out during this long process. Thanks to those who put up with my complaining of the querying process, and to those who helped me revise my query. Without you, I would have never have gotten this far. You know who you are! *POINTS!*

Now, if you'll excuse me. I have a proposal to work on. *bangs head on desk*

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