Friday, June 3, 2011

HWS: Pressing On & Getting Out There

Today we have writer Mindy McGinnis as a guest on Happy Writers Society. Welcome, Mindy, make sure to visit the VIP room—the cupcake buffet is magnificent. This is your reward for providing such a lovely post for us.

I’m a happy writer, but I freely admit I haven’t always been. Fellow blogger and YA author Anita Howard asked me to guest post on her blog, A Still and Quiet Madness, when I became agented. That post details my decade long wallow of self-pity while on the agent hunt. After over 130 rejections on a single novel, I was this close to being a bitter failure.

So I asked myself, “Alright Mindy, whaddya gonna do? Quit writing? Really? Cause will that make the stories in your head stop happening?” The answer was, “probably not.” I packed up my negativity and started fresh, whipped out a new novel and found My Agent Who Loves Me (a.k.a Adriann Ranta) shortly thereafter.

And yeah, having someone to love you is a totally awesome experience. But at the same time, I’d already made the decision to BE a writer, regardless of whether or not I was ever an author. Even if we stop taking our fingers to the pen or the keyboard, our brains will continue to function in the same way they always have. You can turn off the light switch, but there’s still an electrical current under there.

So I entered AgentedAuthorLand feeling pretty good, started up my blog and shot out a few tentative emails asking agents, authors and industry bloggers if they’d like to come on over and do an interview to help get my blog off the ground. To my total surprise, positive responses started flowing into my inbox the same day. Agents who I’d pelted with bad queries were like, “Sure, send the questions on over.” Authors whose books I had on my bedside table said, “I’d love to! So flattered you like my work!” Bloggers whose sites I’d stalked for years replied, “Of course – I know exactly what it’s like to build a blog. Anything I can do, I will do.”

Now, I’m sure it helps that I start my emails to agents with “I’m recently agented,” so they know that I’m not going to entice them over to the blog with promises of candy, then tie them up in my Basement of Pain until they agree to represent me, but that’s besides the point.

This industry truly is filled with kind, intelligent, accessible people. I’m a newborn over on this side, and everybody is contributing to my care with an awesome – “Yes, I will!” And that’s a damn good thing, cause I’ve totally filled my diaper a few times already.


  1. I love this Mindy and thanks for sharing Natalie! Stories like this make all the hard work and painful rejections worth it:)

  2. Hi, Mindy! *waves* Gatorwriter from QT here.

    Thanks for guest posting for Natalie. So happy for your success! One thing I've discovered this spring is how very cool/nice/down-to-earth authors are. You said it well: "This industry is filled with kind, intelligent, accessible people." So right! :)

    Life as a writer IS good, even with all the speedbumps. :)

    Congratulations again! Thanks for sharing part of your journey with us.

  3. Thanks for posting, gals - and thanks to Natalie for being such a welcoming host. Mmmmm... cupcakes.

  4. Life as a writer, or a life of writing--both fill the soul. And, yes, cupcakes are awesome. Go to

    for the cupcake queen, herself.

  5. I love HWS! Thanks for another encouraging post.

  6. So true!

    The phrase Basement of Pain makes me smile. For some reason. The capitalization, perhaps?

  7. LOL to the Basement of Pain. And this? This is so true.

    "Even if we stop taking our fingers to the pen or the keyboard, our brains will continue to function in the same way they always have. You can turn off the light switch, but there’s still an electrical current under there."

  8. Awesome post, Mindy! I love your story and I'm so happy to be a part of this cool community. :)

  9. What an awesome post! Your story is wonderful, and I'm so happy you didn't give up. Perseverance does pay off. It's also good to know agents aren't the big, bad monsters they're sometimes made out to be:)

  10. You've nailed the writer's dilemma here — how scores of NOES can't prevent the synaptic YES of putting pen to paper.

    In the end, the choice isn't about WRITING or NOT WRITING — it's WRITING or RAGING ABOUT THE PLACE LIKE A CAGED ANIMAL (ie effectively WRITING).

    To anyone other than writers this is the worst form of self-obsessed insanity. And if you can cope with that kind of rejection, 130 naysaying agents doesn't seem so bad...

  11. Thanks everyone for the comments! And yes, the Basement of Pain is not a real place, but rather a small room in my brain where I berated myself for those little mistakes like oh.... attaching the wrong ms to an email request for a full. You know, the tiny things. :)

    But yes, it's true that those No's might demoralize, but they can never really kill the urge to write. And I'm incapable of denying it, so why not query while I'm at it?

  12. hey your blog has great stuff for aspiring writers! thanks! i love writing, more as a hobby than anything else, but i'd love it if you could check out my blog and comment!

  13. Mindy - you ALWAYS make me smile! You make a helluva smart newborn!! :)

  14. Mindy, this was SUCH a fabulous post! I know EXACTLY how you feel. I, too, am a newborn in this industry and actually finding that people are not as scary and intimidating as I once thought they were. I'm so glad you found yourself an agent! I hope your book sells (if it hasn't yet, I'm not sure, since I haven't followed your blog -- yet!!!) Thanks for the post, it's nice to know I'm not the only one out there to discover the goodness in this industry. :)