<![CDATA[Abby Cooper - Writing]]>Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:32:49 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[777 Challenge]]>Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:22:35 GMThttp://abbycooper.weebly.com/writing/777-challengeHere you go! From the challenge issued on twitter - 7 lines from the 7th page of my WIP, starting 7 lines down. 

I looked around the whole circle for the first time, trying to take everybody in. We did similar things at camp and in school—go around and talk about yourself things—but this time was different. These people had all different hair colors and accessories and were wearing t-shirts with names of bands I had never heard of. Everyone seemed so exotic. I glanced down at my navy shorts and plain sky blue V-neck. What if everyone thought I was boring? 

<![CDATA[I Have an Agent!!!!!]]>Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:45:56 GMThttp://abbycooper.weebly.com/writing/i-have-an-agentPicture
Once upon a time, the most awesome mentor ever in the history of mentors (not like I’m partial or anything) chose to work with me during PitchWars. (But seriously, do you know how amazing Gail is? Because you should. Here’s her blog: http://gailecn.blogspot.com. Okay, shameless plug over. For now.)

After lots of revising came the Agent Round. I stayed up till midnight on a school night and watched eagerly as the entries were posted. And then I refreshed the page like a madwoman (taking only the shortest possible breaks for food, sleep, and, y’know, my job) until it was all over only a short two days later.

When it ended, one thing was very obvious to the world: I had not gotten any requests. Like, ZERO. None. Nada. Zippo. (Okay, to be fair, I did get a full request from an agent not involved in the contest, and that was super cool. But still.) Of course, I was happy for all who had gotten requests, and was beyond grateful for the experience of working with Gail (have I mentioned that Gail is incredible? She’s INCREDIBLE.) And there was still querying. So, query I did.

I decided to query in batches, since that was what the Writerly Masses advised. I did my research and started sending them off. And things happened! Request things. Rejection things. Me staring at my e-mail for hours on end things. (For the record, it’s true when people tell you not to check it every five seconds. Literally everything book-related that’s good has happened at times when I was away from the computer. When I did #PitMad in March, all four requests came during my four bathroom breaks that day. I’m not kidding. And sorry if that’s too much information. But just saying. In related news, how annoying is it when you unsubscribe from a list-serve only to get an e-mail five seconds later saying you have been unsubscribed from this list-serve? OMG, e-mail while querying. I can’t even.)

After I got two full rejections in two days (ouch), I decided that I’d send out one final batch of queries and then call it quits for this book. I love, love, love this book, but maybe it wouldn't be The One. I promised myself that in this batch, I had to send the one query I kept safely stashed in my drafts folder, the one I was nervous to send because everything about this particular agency/agent screamed perfection and I was just never in the right mood to find out that the feeling probably wasn’t mutual.

After messing with the query and changing a whole bunch of teeny tiny details that probably didn't matter whatsoever, I hit send. Then I ate this frozen yogurt. Because stress. Also rainbow sprinkles.

Later that day, after said fro-yo was long gone, I received a full request from Amazing Agent’s assistant.  

Two days later, Fabulous Assistant e-mails again that she had a chance to read it and thought it was “wonderful” and Amazing Agent was eager to dive in. I spent that whole weekend in a daze where I kept repeating “wonderful” to myself like I had never heard the word before.

Three days later, Amazing Agent has had a chance to read and would like to chat and is there any chance I’m available for a phone call later that morning?

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do a darn thing except stare at the computer like a unicorn with twelve heads had just popped out of it.

Then I realized I should possibly brush my teeth. You can’t talk to an agent with morning breath, even if it’s over the phone and it’s legitimately the morning and you haven’t had a chance to brush your teeth yet because you’ve been busy stalking--I mean researching--the agent on Twitter.

In case you’re wondering, it’s ridiculously difficult to brush your teeth when your hands won’t stop shaking because you’re about to talk to an agent on the phone. So, #querytip: always keep mints handy, just in case.

She called right on time and we talked for almost an hour, and I tried my very best to pay attention to what she was saying and not the little voice in my head that was all OMG YOU ARE ON THE PHONE WITH A REAL LIVE AGENT OMG OMG OMG.

She told me some of her ideas for revision, and they were brilliant. Like, so brilliant. I couldn’t even find words to tell her how brilliant. (It’s kind of awkward when you’re a writer and you can’t find words, isn’t it? Anyone else ever experience that?) Instead, I chose to nod along extremely vigorously. Which is one of the many, many reasons the phone is not one of my natural talents in life.

The call ended with her saying she’d send more detailed editorial notes sometime in the next couple weeks. So it wasn’t an offer, but it was a super promising R&R-like thing.

Well. Guys. The notes came THE NEXT DAY.

I couldn’t get over how she’d put this together so quickly after our talk. Not only was it unbelievably speedy, it was detailed, thoughtful, and basically the most incredible thing ever. She loved the book and knew exactly how to help me take it to the next level, and I couldn’t wait to get to work.

Amazing Agent mentioned that I could contact her if I had questions, so I reached out and asked about one of her notes. And when she wrote back, she answered my question, and then…wait for it…she said that she couldn’t stop thinking about my book and wanted to offer representation.

I know, right? I’m still in a state of awe/shock/all the emotions. 

And boy, was it difficult not to send in the contract right that second. I literally had to restrain myself and bribe myself with chocolatey snacks so I wouldn’t go down the street to the post office. I altered my running route so I wouldn’t pass it. And I quickly notified the other agents who had queries/partials/fulls.

And then I waited. And waited. And wrote this post, which is currently five pages long because I’m excited and anxious and I want it to be the day when I can tell you the news but it’s not so I’m just going to keep writing until it is. (Update: now it is!!!)

Responses from other agents started trickling in, and you know all those blog posts where people are like, “Agents are the nicest people in the world?” THEY ARE. Even the rejections are worthy of being framed and hung on my wall. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with two other phenomenal agents on the phone, both of whom were amazing and spoke so thoughtfully and kindly about my book. It would be an honor to work with either one of them.

In the end, I knew I had to go with the original Amazing Agent. She completely blew me away with her editorial notes, her client list, her sales, her… everything. But the decision wasn’t without a lot of “CAN’T I JUST WORK WITH THEM ALL?!” moments.  

I am so beyond thrilled to be represented by someone with such talent, such knowledge about the industry, and such passion for what she does. But the very best thing is knowing that you’ve found the one special person who truly believes in your book and will help you grow as a writer. (Cue super cheesy song a la The Bachelor…)

Without further ado, I am beyond thrilled to announce that I am now represented by the incredible Rebecca Sherman of Writers House!!!!

Writing really is a team sport, and I am so incredibly grateful to all the people who have been there for me along the way: Kalvin, Gail, Lori, Jeff, Erika, all the people who read early drafts of the query, and my critique group, GWWWAADT. (Yes, that’s an acronym. No, you can’t know what it stands for. You also can’t know our secret handshake. Sorry.) Everybody, I can’t thank you enough for your help and moral support.

Now, numbery things for you numbery people:

Disclaimer: these might not add up like you want them to. Math is not my strong suit. Just go with it, okay? They are approximate.

Pounds of fro-yo consumed during this process: bazillions

Queries sent: 70

Rejections: 30

No response: 26

Partial requests: 4

Full requests: 9

Offers: 3 (!!!!!!!!)

<![CDATA[Reclaiming Self-Esteem]]>Sun, 04 May 2014 19:29:55 GMThttp://abbycooper.weebly.com/writing/reclaiming-self-esteemClick me ---> http://jezebel.com/happiness-in-children-drops-after-11-girls-hit-harder-1571528123

I read an article today called "Happiness in Children Drops After 11, Girls Hit Harder". It talks about how, at only eleven years old, "the average girl's emotional well being is already worse than that of boys." 


I remember being eleven. It was a good time. I was on student council, I had friends, and I thought I looked like all that and a bag of chips in my fake tattoo choker necklace thing. (Remember those?)   Picture
For better or for worse, there's a lot more to life now for most eleven-year-olds than ridiculous tattoo necklaces. Between everything they're exposed to online, on TV, and at school, girls growing up today have endless opportunities to compare themselves to others. 

And that usually doesn't end well.

So how do we help them remember how amazing they are?

One way is with books. Especially books where girls are the heroes-- maybe even girls who consider themselves ugly, weird, bad, and insert-negative-adjective-here. (Because guess what? They're really none of those things.)

This is why I like to write for girls around this age. Books are especially empowering for them. Plus, they make them happy, and, most of all, help them hold onto something that's getting taken away way too soon: their self-esteem.