Action Figures: A Progress Report

No ruminations this week, just some out-loud thinking about a pleasant development with my YA novel Action Figures.

I finished the manuscript in October and promptly set about throwing out query letters. I started with the “agents” section of my writer’s guide and, in November and December, submitted queries to more than a dozen prospective agents. I heard back from nearly all of them, often within a couple of days, and all of them said, basically, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

This month, I moved over to the publishers section of the book and sent out three or four queries, also to no effect.

I was prepared to send out another batch this past weekend, and then I got this from an agent I queried in December:

Thank you for your query letter regarding your manuscript ACTION FIGURES. I apologize for the amount of time it has taken me to respond, but I’d love to read more! If you are still submitting, will you please send me a the first fifty (50) pages of your manuscript?

Hell yes I will.

And I did. That 50-page chunk went out that same day, and now I’m trying to stay focused on everything in the world but this latest development.

That’s proving tough. This is the first remotely positive response I’ve received in, no jive, the past four or five years. The last project I seriously pushed, my comedic sword-and-sorcery novel Strongarm & Lightfoot – Adventurers for Hire, landed with a resounding thud among agents and publishers. That was in 2010.

A couple years before that I received several rejections for a novel project that, frankly, deserved it; it wasn’t ready, and neither was I. It deserved to be shot down. But Strongarm & Lightfoot ? I thought that had a lot of promise. I thought someone might want to take a closer look, but no.

Action Figures has even more potential, which is why I’m more than a little anxious over this request for more pages. It’s a small step forward, but it’s the first step forward in too long, and I want more than anything to get a second e-mail asking for the whole manuscript. If that happens, you might as well sign me up now for an extended prescription for tranquilizers so I can function in my day-to-day life.

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