Friday, July 6, 2012

Hope Is in the Air

I’m back. But my belly is sore. You see my friends, I am recovering from what is known as EBFS. Otherwise known as Extreme Belly Flop Syndrome, EBFS, occurs when you suffer public embarrassment. This can occur at obvious places, such as the public pool, coming out of a restroom, or in my case, online!  Others may refer to this as a banana peel moment.
I have a whole blog series dedicated to humbling moments.  I am anything but immune to them. But that doesn’t mean I am open to disclosing each and every horrific detail. Ohhhh noooo. No, no, no. 
Oh wait. Yes I am.
Learning about the online pitch contest for EMLA agent, Tricia Lawrence, was like learning Ben and Jerry’s was having its annual free -scoop giveaway!  Normally closed to submissions unless by referral, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pitch my quirky picture book to Tricia, since I had recently read she would soon be opening her doors to picture books. I also read that she really liked a particularly quirky book, I WANT MY HAT BACK and I thought, hey, I have a quirky picture book where characters have frizzy chest hair! I mean they are basically THE SAME! =) I put two and two together and  went for it! Well, it turns out, I think I need to brush up on my math skills a little bit. Two and two did not equal five in this case.
As a participant in Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12, I let my online writer family know about the contest. We got our query letters together , the first 250 words of a polished manuscript, and posted just under the wire. It was exciting. Hope was in the air.
And then the results were announced.
It was AMAZINGLY AWESOME! I am almost positive that each of my 12 x 12 friends made the cut.   My heart leapt for each of these people.  I am proud to know them and they each deserve this recognition.
But my name wasn’t on the list.   

Gulp. Enter the onset of EBFS.  I sulked  all the way  to where my children were sleeping, squeezed between them , curled up in fetal position and let it out! Well, it was more like I tried to keep it in but the tears came out it spurts and gurgles. It was very attractive.  
It looked like this only I have a little more hair and a tad more wrinkles.

Belly flops hurt.
My work was out there for the world to see, to point and laugh at. Exposed to cringes...


and intimate conversations between hypothetical readers and their Great Aunt Velma that probably sounded something like, “Hey, come ova to the computa and git a load of this gal.  And she wants to write fa kids? Oy.”

But now, a few days later, my achy brakey heart has healed. I realize that it was one manuscript and it is only the beginning of my writing career. While more belly flops are guaranteed, so are manuscripts that will knock the knickers off some agent, if they are the kind of agent that chooses to wear knickers. (I do not discriminate.)
P.S. I have also convinced myself that there still may be an agent out there that has a thing for silly, macho men with frizzy chest hair. Hope is in the air.

39 comments:

  1. I thought your pitch was great! And this blog post is, too! Great voice! The right agent is out there somewhere...

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  2. I admire your guts, Elizabeth, for both putting your work out there and sharing your heartbreak that your entry wasn't chosen. I mean that takes Serious, with a capital S, guts. So, kudos to you for your honesty and sincerity. I'm rooting for fewer belly flops in your future :)

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    1. I Love, with a capital L, the way you emphasized Serious, with a capital S. =) That's the thing about having a blog that promises the ups and downs of becoming a writer. At this stage, there seems to be quite a few more downs than ups and they are Doosies! (Note the capital D.)Thanks for rooting for me Kim!

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  3. I totally agree with Tina - you have great voice - and with Kim - you have a lot of guts! What an amazing combination!! Just keep putting yourself out there and it'll happen!!

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    1. Sheesh! How nice. Thanks for your support Lori!

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  4. I would have sobbed, too. You have a strong voice, Elizabeth, and I honestly found your pitch as strong as many that were chosen. Remember, every agent has a really subjective scope on what they are looking for. Your story will find its place. Because of you, a bunch of our friends are going to be considered by an agent. That is no flop! You just keep putting yourself out there there, girl! You are so sweet to share your pain with us, though, and we do feel it!

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    1. I am glad you would have sobbed too. Sometimes I wonder about the thickness of my skin compared to others'. =)

      It is true what you say. It is so subjective. And I am truly, truly glad that our friends' work has caught the eye of such a fabulous agency.

      Thanks so much for your kind words of support Joanna!

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  5. I was so excited for everyone in 12X12 who made the cut in this contest and was really, truly and honestly surprised not to find your name on the list. I went back and reread it because I thought I had to have missed it! Your macho, frizzy chest haired men are fantastic and I love this story. (it's my favorite of yours so far!) It just hasn't found the right home, yet. Don't give up, there has to be someone out there who wants this wonderful story!

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    1. I love you Heather! SO lucky to have you as a critique buddy. =) Thanks so much for your support.

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  6. So much ditto. Especially to the guts part. You know who had no guts to even attempt a belly flop?! This girl. You get a perfect 10.

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  7. A HUGE DITTO to what Tina, Kim, Lori, Joanna, Heather, and Carter said ;~D

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    1. A HUGE THANK YOU to you for being so supportive Lori! Hope you had a wonderful birthday and that your husband is recovering well. =)

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  8. I missed this whole thing! It must have happened while I was away or just after I got back and was swamped under. I'm so sorry your ms didn't get picked, but I've read some of your work and I know the right agent is out there somewhere. Just think how much fun it will be to share this banana peel moment when you are a famous published author :)

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    1. I missed you missing the whole thing! You don't know how uplifting your presence is here in the online kidlitosphere! =)

      Yes, down the road, WAY down the road, this will be fun to share. =) Thanks so much Susanna for your support!

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  9. I'm going to say this again (and not because I don't think you're listening)... YOU, Madam Elizabeth, have a talent that many writers do NOT have: You're brave.

    You not only wear your heart on your sleeve, you also post it on every giant billboard in town, you broadcast it on each radio station, and you make sure to tattoo it on the arm of each person you meet. You know what's great about that? It's hot. I mean, downright attractive! You have a way of inspiring every person around you, and you lift spirits in each room you enter.

    YOU WILL SELL THIS BOOK!

    Bottom line. No ifs, ands, or buts. And when an agent finds you, the gem of our kidlit world, THEY will have discovered pure gold. Just please be sure to remember us when all 10 of your mannys become best sellers! ;)

    I believe in you!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Holy shishcabob! Talk about inspiring! This comment has lit a fire under my tushie! Thanks so much for your kind words and continuous support. It means SOOOOOOOO much Bethany Telles! Forget the heart, I think I should get a tattoo that says, I Heart Bethany Telles." =)

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  10. Ditto to everyone's comments.
    You are so brave for trying but even more AMAZING for writing and sharing this heartfelt post. My hats are off to you, I can only hope that I am as graceful as you are when doing belly-flops. This is a very subjective business, and the right agent/editor is out there for your quirky story of frizzy chest haired men. You have a wonderful writing voice. I look forward to reading your work on-line again soon. :-)

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    1. Awwww....Darshana! You think my bellyflops are graceful?! What a huge compliment! Thank you!And thanks so much for your kind words Darshana. I am SO glad your is in Tricia's hands! Best of luck!

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  11. Agree, agree, agree with everyone. When someone can say about your story, "I've never seen this before," you know you have something. And you DO have something in your Macho Manny. That thing is going to emerge victorious in this publishing world smack-down!

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    1. Yay Amy D.! Thank you! Ohhhh...and like your use of the macho phrase "smack down". It is very appropriate for the situation!

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  12. I'm sorry your name was not on the list. But, I thought your pitch (and story) were super creative, well-written, and great for boys, which seems to be really hot right now. Your story inspired me to strive for a higher bar when thinking of creative story ideas. Remember, this was only one contest and one agent.

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    1. Margaret G.!

      My goodness. This comment shall be printed and tacked on my great wall of inpsiration and happy moments! Thanks so much for your kind words. And I tend to be a teensy dramatic, so I appreciate your reminder that this is one contest with one agent. Sheesh! =) I really need to calm down!

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  13. Ouch! You helped a lot of people out by spreading the word, Elizabeth, so it doesn't seem quite fair. But even though you didn't make the cut this time, you will. :)

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    1. Thanks Dana. =) And "ouch" summed it up perfectly.

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  14. I NEED to hear this story! I missed reading the pitch submissions, waaahhhh! From what I am reading in the comments you are inches away Elizabeth! If mustaches are in, it's not much of a reach, is it!

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    1. Ha! Julie, you're right. I was just rolling with the current trends in body hair! I should put that in my query letter! "This book will appeal to moustached hispters and their children." =)

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  15. Oh! ditto to every damn comment here Elizabeth, I know I would have felt the same way as you did, but listen to what everyone is saying.... it's true you are an awesome writer (with the little I have seen) and you are an awesome person, cause you've helped so many others and most important because you're you. Yes hope is in the air!

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    1. Diane! I love your use of "damn"! That really perked me up! =) Thanks so much for your support and kind words! This comment was sooo sweet and uplifting. Another one to print out. I can't thank you enough!

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  16. I love you. That's it. You're awesome and I just love you! UGH!

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    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH Genevieve! You sure know how to put a smile on a girl's face! UGH! =)

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  17. Hugs to you, Elizabeth. I noticed your name wasn't on the list -- that was a particularly tough one to take. I agree with everyone else -- it's one agent, one book. Your story will find its audience. The most important thing is to keep trying and get your work out there. You're brave to write such a great post.

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    1. Thanks so much Carrie for your kind words! =)

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  18. Elizabeth, I thought your pitch was excellent and your story a total hoot. I admired the fact that you went WAY BEYOND the regular stuff out there and did something so ridiculously unique and YOU. Now I feel even better about all the weird little non-mold-fitting characters in my brain, so you see? You inspired another one! If all your stories are like that, I'd be a fan. I love absurdity, and fuzzy chest hair is just as fine by me as murderous bears in hats. Buck up, buckaroo. We might have to look for the same agent who "gets" us. ;)

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    1. Aw shucks Renee. Thanks so much. That means so much coming from someone as talented and unique as you! Twisted sisters unite! =)

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  19. Elizabeth, I haven't even heard of that pitch contest but wow I would be gutted too. I'm terrified about getting my work out there... If only writers could get discovered like models, walking the streets. Now that would be cool.

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  20. Congratulations! We've shared an award with you! http://cupcakepetrillo.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/sisterhood/

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

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  21. I liked your voice, it sounds great:) the 2 baby photos are awesome, its damn Cute:-D

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