In today’s Writer Odyssey Wednesday interview, author, Lindsay Cummings shares her journey to publication. What I love most about Lindsay’s answers are her specific goals regarding querying. With a firm belief in her novel, she went after agents who were a perfect fit. She did the research and it paid off. It’s a lesson many of us aspiring writers can learn from and put to work in our own query process.
Here is more of Lindsay’s amazing journey…
Amy: When did you first begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?
Lindsay: I graduated from high school in 2009. I had plans to go to college for vocal studies. But I got sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and needed to decide what to do with my life. I started writing—and soon that became my biggest passion.
Amy: When did you complete your first Young Adult manuscript?
Lindsay: I was 19 when I finished writing my first book. It was a YA dystopian, and I loved writing it. It wasn’t great, though–so I put that away and wrote THE MURDER COMPLEX a few months later. Then everything clicked!
Amy: Did you have critique partners or beta readers that helped you polish THE MURDER COMPLEX? If so, how critical were they to the process of completing the manuscript?
Lindsay: I do! I have a few friends that have graduated from college and are looking for editorial jobs. They have been SO helpful. My agent also does an amazing job of helping me polish up my work! Everyone is different, but luckily, my beta readers and my agent are KIND editors. They tell it like it is, but they are all sweet enough to tell me what they love about my work as well!
Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?
Lindsay: Querying my first novel was pretty crazy. I got a ton of full requests from agents, but no one wanted to offer representation on it. When I wrote THE MURDER COMPLEX, people jumped on it pretty quick. That was the most shocking thing, after months and months of rejections for my first novel.
Amy: How many agents did you query for THE MURDER COMPLEX?
Lindsay: I queried about 3 agents on my first round. With TMC, I was super selective about who I queried, because I really believed in that novel. I just knew someone else out there had to love it, so I queried dream agents.
Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for the requests/rejections?
Lindsay: My agent, Louise Fury, offered me representation within 3 days of my query! She read THE MURDER COMPLEX while she was at Book Expo America—I’m still shocked that it kept her attention during such a crazy convention!
Amy: As many writers know, the publishing world is very hard to break into. What was the one thing you did to help garner agent attention?
Lindsay: I started out as a book blogger first. I think it helped SO much, because it really helped me learn lots about the book industry. By the time I was ready to query my novel, I had a good online presence and a good start to learning how everything as an author was going to work!
Amy: What was your “call” like with your agent, Louise Fury? How did you know she was the right fit for you?
Lindsay: We spent almost 3 hours on the phone. She started right off by telling me HOW she would edit the work….I was so impressed by her vision for the book, and her passion for it, that I knew instantly she was my choice. I had other agents reading the full, but Louise got back to me so fast, and was SO in love with my book, that I had to pick her. Plus, she has a South African accent, so I felt fancy talking to her. (not to mention she has no filter, fits SO good with my personality, and is the most exciting and hilarious person I know!)
Amy: What was one piece of advice you got during your early writing stages that has stuck with you to this day?
Lindsay: I would say KEEP GOING. Writing can be tough, and the journey to publication can really suck sometimes. The ones that stick with it, and keep the dream alive, are going to have a much better chance at succeeding. Don’t let road blocks stop you! Just find a way around them, and keep working for what you want!
THE MURDER COMPLEX…
Your mind is not your own…
20-year-old Lindsay Cummings’ debut novel, THE MURDER COMPLEX, is described as an action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate, and follows Meadow Woodson, a 15-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, kill, and to survive in any situation, and Zephyr James, the orphaned boy she falls in love with, whose sole purpose is to keep her from discovering the haunting truth about her family, even if it puts them both in mortal danger.
Lindsay Cummings is a 21-year-old author of dark futuristic thriller books for Young Adults. Her first blood-soaked novel, THE MURDER COMPLEX, book 1 in her series, is coming Summer 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins. Lindsay deals with chronic fatigue, owns 2 german shepherds, 1 wolf, 2 horses, and a cat, and is currently trying to become like one of her book characters by training in Mixed Martial Arts. She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. She loves Jesus and believes all of her success is His doing! You can follow Lindsay on twitter @lindsaycwrites ! She’s always on, and loves to chat!