Remember this little contest I mentioned a month ago? Well, the results are in today and... my name is on the list! The good list. The list of 1000 authors whose pitch was good enough to get them into phase two. Frankly, I was shocked. I have confidence that I have written a great book, but my confidence that the world of agents and publishers would also find it great was eroded in the query process. A tiny bit of confidence has now been restored. In case you're curious, here's the pitch (up to 300 words were allowed) that worked for me:
When she doesn’t get a place in a Mexican study abroad program,
Rachel anticipates another summer working at a coffee shop - until an
opportunity to spend a month with a family in Turkey drastically changes
the course of her summer. This intercultural coming-of-age novel is
full of exotic tastes, summer heat, promises, and love. In a summer
village on the western coast of Turkey, you’ll meet Rachel, who doesn’t
know what she wants; Aylin, who doesn’t know if she wants the one who
wants her; and Leyla, who knows who she wants, but doesn’t know if
she’ll get him. Love and romance are secret pleasures in the summer
village, which only make them more exciting.
Can coffee grounds tell
your future? Will fate bring you to your soul mate thousands of miles
from home? Would the evil eye dare stop two souls on their paths to
each other? Travel with Rachel on her journey far from the comforts of
home, to a place that will captivate her and leave her changed forever.
of a Summer Village is a novel in which modern, middle-class Turkish
culture is seen through the eyes of an American teenager. In the 91,075
-word novel, Rachel learns that many aspects of Turkish culture are
different than her own, but that family, friendship, and love are
Maybe you noticed that there is no period at the end of paragraph three of the pitch. Apparently, it wasn't enough to get me thrown out of the contest!
The next step involves a 3000-5000 word excerpt. That may sound like a lot of words, but it's not when you consider that the book is just over 91000 words long. About 5% of the book in my case. And the catch is that it has to be the first three-to-five-thousand words, not your favorite excerpt. That said, it makes perfect sense. First, a potential reader reads your back cover, which would certainly not be longer than 300 words. Then, they stand at the bookstore (or read online) the first few chapters before they decide whether or not they want to buy the book.
I am pretty nervous about this stage, but thrilled I got into it. Are the first 5000 words of my book enough to make a reader want more? We'll find out around March 20th...