Slush Pile Part Deux

Birthmarked wasn’t in the slush pile for long—two months—but that’s where it started.  What I knew about the process of trying to sell a novel was based on my failures with my literary novels (see previous post: Slush Pile Code) and my success with six romances I’d published (agentless) before I became a teacher.  I had no experience with children’s publishing whatsoever and no contacts, but there’s a way in for unknown people like me: through the slush pile.

I knew one thing for certain: the only… Continue reading

Behind the Scenes: A Query Letter

In May, 2008, I wrote to three dozen literary agents to see if any of them would be interested in taking on Birthmarked, then called The Baby Quota.  Here’s my initial email correspondence with Kirby Kim, who now represents me.

Dear Mr. Kim:

In a dystopian future, the world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside.  It’s Gaia’s job to turn over her quota of infants to the authorities within the wall, until… Continue reading