In the past three years of querying agents for my novel, Outta Here!, I’ve gone from running on pure high hopes and confidence, to almost hitting the game-ending “I quit writing forever” button.
After working on my pages for four years and attending a master novel workshop in 2013, where I was told, “It’s ready. Start querying;” and after having 10+ full reads in the first two rounds of letters I sent, friends were behind me: “It’s gonna happen fast, Fadden. You’ve got Book Two ready, right?”
Fast. Um. Hah. I love how much my friends believe in my work, but I feel like I’ve been living inside the slowest game of baseball ever.
I’ve had amazing rejections, you know, the kind all writers truly are thankful for. “I loved these and those elements, but the ______ didn’t quite ______” or, “I would snag this in a heartbeat, but I don’t quite know where to sell it.”
Very early on, in 2010, a short story version of Outta Here! earned a praisey-rejection from The New Yorker: “Your writing has merit.” (Trust me, non-writers, this sounds flat as f*#k, but it is dance-inducing champagne-popping praise).
In 2014, an excerpt won the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival Fiction Prize. The judges said beautiful things, and several people have since recommended me to their agents. More bits and pieces have been published.
When I made the Hobart 2014 baseball issue, I thought surely the right sports’ loving, girl-power backing agent would find me.
I thought, “If I see the Phillies play, it’ll happen.”
I thought, “If the Phillies do well this year, it’ll happen.”
I thought, “Mo’ne Ikea Davis pitching… hot damn, yes, now it’ll happen! Now is the time of the girl pitcher, and now is the time for Outta Here!!!!”
Last fall, an indie film team in L.A. asked to read my novel, believing they might option it. (I’ve been told countless times that because Outta Here! is so dialogue heavy, it’d make a great film. I’ve touted it as A League of Their Own meets The Sandlot.) And these film guys are legit and wonderful, but their own film is experiencing such wild success (going from the film festival circuit to the big screen this fall, and well… hey… I get how long shots go, I really do.)
So then today, TODAY, I saw this clip of Pitch…
and I thought, “Yes, now! Really now is the time to strike!” (No pun intended.)
And then I realized, I haven’t sent a round of query letters in four months.
I thought about all my silly softball/baseball/girl power novel superstitions.
I reviewed my query records: On and off, these past three years, when I am in the “empty and maybe this novel was just the love of my life and that alone is what it is worth,” phases, which come regularly and have lasted at times for months, I am not doing the work necessary to keep my pages in front of people’s eyes.
So, tonight, I’ll go to softball practice.
I’ll think: “If tonight I catch every ball and if tonight I throw a bit further and if tonight I hit a few doubles (no, a triple or two– god is that possible, do I have any triples left in me?). And if don’t injure my thumb, my Achilles tendon, my damn face (the shiner from last week has almost fully faded)–yes, if tonight I do all this and then in two weeks our team wins our first game, I know one of the agents I reach out to tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, will verify, finally, that my work is everything I believe it is. And this novel, a gift to my long gone Phillies’ loving grandmother, will be home.”