Hope. That’s my take away after today’s W.O.W. with author, Juliana Brandt. Juliana’s story is so much like other writers. You pen a great story, you query it and you wait. And wait. But with Juliana, after a long period in the query trenches, she decided to move on to a new manuscript. And then the unexpected happened-a call from an agent that would change her life. Her story is proof that if you have an important story to tell, someone will eventually take notice and give it the recognition it deserves.
Here is Juliana’s journey…
Amy: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Juliana: Like most writers say, I believe I always wanted to write and create stories. But I began seriously writing about three and a half years ago. I was in a car accident and sat around for a few months healing-it was the perfect time to start taking writing seriously!
Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered interest?
Juliana: Despite having written six books, I only queried Cadaver Dog. I was gearing up to query a manuscript entitled After Death, when Emmanuelle sent the email saying she wanted to talk.
Amy: If one manuscript was continuing to get rejected, how did you know it was time to move on to a new project?
Juliana: I queried my manuscript for six months and with 70 agents before I decided it was time to officially move on. Shelving Cadaver Dog and moving on to another story idea was wonderful–it gave me a breather from my book and a chance to really enjoy writing and drafting again. It was another six months before I heard from Emmanuelle–my query had been sitting in her inbox for all those months. It’s a perfect story, imop.
Amy: Did your query for CADAVER DOG come easily or did it go through many drafts?
Juliana: Oh goodness, I wish I had all the versions of my query still. I’m willing to bet it went through at least 30 different drafts. Each time I would query and get no response, I would redraft my query to see if a different version might draw requests.
Amy: Did you have critique partners for CADAVER DOG? If so, how critical were they to your writing process?
Juliana: Yes! I adore my critique partners. While I only use a few critique partners now, I had about twenty people read Cadaver Dog before I decided I was ready to query it. Even now, I so value my CPs thoughts!
Amy: How many agents did you query for CADAVER DOG? Did you receive immediate responses or did you have to wait a while for replies?
Juliana: I queried about 70 different agents. I waited…and waited…and waited for responses. I wish I would have known how healthy it would have been for me to start drafting a new book during the time I was querying, but alas, I just sat around waiting for the emails to come in.
Amy: Can you give a short summary of your call with your agent, Emmanuelle Morgen?
Juliana: Emmanuelle is an incredible agent. We talked for about an hour, all about Cadaver Dog and my writing journey and my hopes and dreams for the future.
Amy: Publishing is a very difficult business. What was the one thing you think you did to attract agent interest?
Juliana: I kept writing! I absolutely think this made a difference. Even though I decided to shelve Cadaver Dog after six months of querying, I went on to write two more books and worked hard to become a better writer.
Amy: Was there ever a time you thought about giving up on your writing dream? If so, what motivated you to keep writing?
Juliana: Absolutely not. Even though writing and publication can be challenging and difficult, I love stories and writing and all the people I have met through it. I wouldn’t give any of that up. Some days, it’s hard to put pen to paper and I know on those days it’s okay to take a break just so long as the next day I’m right back at it.
When Juliana’s not furthering her passion for storytelling, she can be found hiking in state parks and learning how to rock climb. She hopes to always be knee-deep in the world of books. You can find her online at www.julianalbrandt.com and on Twitter @julianalbrandt