Well, I did it. I just sent out my first agent query! You know, in the past, this process must have been SUCH a pain in the ass. If I was only using the book of agent listings I've had sitting on my shelf for a while, I would have much less idea about each of the agents I'm querying, but compliments of the internet, I've been able to find out more info about most of them. A few of them actually have blogs :-) and a lot of them accept queries via email, so that's pretty cool. Anyway, I have a list of 10 agents who sound good, and I've written my query letter and fiddled with it and I'm hoping it's good. I guess we'll find out when these agents start replying, either saying no thank you or asking to see sample chapters of my work.
In addition, I've put my work a little more out there for feedback this past week. I sent all three novels to my mom, asked a girl who babysits for us to read them (I thought it might be nice to get some feedback from an actual young adult) and I've now heard some positive things about the third, most recently-written novel The Princess of Whatever from two of the people I gave it to. Sure, I'm married to one of them, but he is usually willing to be fairly honest in his assessment of my work, and I don't think he would have led with "I think this is best thing you've ever written" if he iffy about it. He reads a lot and knows all my work, and so this is high praise in my book. Good feedback on this particular novel feels really good since it was, in some ways, SO difficult to write. Reasonable Man says that I got the tone right, which is good to hear.
Getting back to passing the manuscripts on to my mom. She had to ask me for them, and I've been thinking about why that would be. I am tremendously proud of them, and she always wants to read my stuff, so why wouldn't I be passing them along to her as I've written them? Well, there is the fact that she's my mom, and my novels are full of teenagers doing things that parents don't want their teenagers doing, and maybe there is still a little of that whole "she's my mom and I don't want her thinking I do that stuff," which is obviously pretty silly, considering I'm 35 years old and in less than two years, I will be the mother of a teenager myself.
But there's a more general issue as well, and here it is: if a grown-up asks me if they can read some of my writing, I usually want to give them this other novel I wrote called Claim to Fame. It's about people in their early 20s, but at least the target audience is adults. That's great, but the fact is, what I want to do long-term is write for teens. I'm not embarrassed to tell people that, but it would seem I'm a bit squeamish about showing people my work in that area, and if the dream I'm currently (and finally actively) pursuing comes true, these things are going to be out in the world where anyone, not just the people I pick and choose, can read them. So I'm thinking it may be time to try and develop -- hm, a thicker skin is not the right term -- let's say a little more confidence about what I do. I write books for young adults -- they aren't genre romances, but they do focus on romantic relationships, and my target audience is teen-age girls. And not that I've gone around apologizing for them, but I do think I've found myself trying to explain what the heck I'm doing writing for and about teenagers, and I am hereby officially done with that. So there.