Friday, December 7, 2012

My Writing Journey: Part 4—The Conclusion




Thanks to all of you who have been dedicated in reading each part of my journey. I don’t normally post so much in a week, so if you’re as exhausted as I am, I understand! Because of the big Alexfest (I mean Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest) on Monday (If you haven’t signed up, click here), I wanted to finish my story this weekend. I originally had this planned in two more posts, but wanted to finish up today. So, please forgive me with the extended length—but I figured if you were interested, you’d read it. And if you weren’t, you’d leave a generic comment anyway. ;-)

If you missed it, click here for Part I, Part II, or Part III.

Part IV:


I had hope again. And I had a sparkly new idea for another manuscript. I was okay shelving my first novel, because this next one was going to be it.

I threw myself into NaNoWriMo 2011 and vomited my MS out in 30 days. Then I took until March 2012 to polish it up and MAKE SURE I was ready to query this time. I was NOT going to go through the same query experience again. If I did, I was convinced I would die. But I knew this manuscript was stronger, and had complete faith in it. Or complete faith that Karen was going to love this manuscript.

Yes, I was still hung up on the fact that we were supposed to work together. The feeling wouldn’t go away. My whole writing journey seemed to be centered around her. The way her rejection had thrown me into the darkest part of my journey and the way meeting her had pulled me out of it.

Karen was closed to unsolicited queries at this point, save for those she met at conferences, so the fact that I had met and spoken with her in LA was another sign we were meant to be. So I emailed off a query and she immediately responded, remembering who I was and told me to mail my full.

I DIDN’T EVEN QUERY ANYONE ELSE I was convinced Karen was the one. I practically skipped to the mailbox and whistled a tune as the postman took my package away. This was it. I had fought through hardship and I was going to rise above the ashes and finally succeed. Karen was going to want my manuscript.

She didn’t.

Holy. Crap. Shock. The most depressed pic I could find of myself-------->

I think I stared at the rejection on my computer screen for two days. I couldn’t believe it. My gut had failed me. AGAIN. With two manuscripts. (Do you have any idea how much work 2 novels are?!) With tears streaming down my cheeks, I typed out a response, thanking her for taking the time to have a look, etc, etc. Of course, with her being so kind, she wrote back and asked if I was going to the SCBWI conference in LA again that year. And if I was, it’d be great if we could connect and have coffee. I showed the email to my mom and mother-in-law, and they both told me I HAD to go—that they would help sponsor and help with kids. (To which my mom also told me I better start drinking coffee, because I don’t, lol)

So I continued to query, and continued to get great response from my manuscript. Partials were upgraded, fulls were requested, but I didn’t care about that. I was focused on pounding out a new project, and the looming coffee date I had with Karen.

In May 2012, I sat down to write my third book. And honestly, it was like all the stars aligned for me. This story flooded out of me in 6 weeks, and it became the essence of who I am. It was like I had to write those two books before SO I could write this book. I couldn’t believe I had the capacity to write anything else. This story was me.

July 2012, I started querying. I sent out 10 test queries. Seven of which requested. I didn’t want to query Karen yet, because I wanted to see if I could get helpful feedback from rejections before going there. I had already made that mistake before. Plus, I was going to meet her in August, and I’d much rather query her after.

Within the month, I received two R & R’s (revise and resubmit), which told me I was close. I was really close with this one.

August came and I flew to LA with my dear friend, Cortney, who I had invited to come have “coffee” with Karen and me. It ended up being breakfast. For two hours. And I swear it was the two most magical hours of my life. The energy and passion around this woman was undeniable. My soul just connected with hers, and it was so comfortable and easy and natural. And there’s nothing better than talking the publishing business with someone who knows their stuff. Karen also invited me to send her any future work. (Because she was still closed to queries) She even mentioned me in her blog after the conference, which made my month!

September came. I was working on my R & R’s, when an unexpected email came. Phew. I GOT AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION. It was the most… unexpected, crazy moment ever. It was the moment I had been waiting for FOREVER, but I wasn’t ready yet! I had just started my revisions, and I hadn’t even queried Karen yet! (Not officially) This wasn’t the way this was supposed to happen.

But of course I was delighted. And I would’ve been beyond pleased to work with this person. So I threw myself into finishing the requested revisions, and sent my updated manuscript to all the other agents who requested. I also had 2 other requests that were thrown into the mix—one AMAZING agent who contacted me, and another who wanted to see the story whose client had referred me.

Thus began 2 of the craziest weeks of my life. Note to everyone: When offered rep, don’t ask for 2 weeks to consider the offer, just ask for ONE. No need to torture yourself more than needed.

I informed the other agents who had requested about the offer and waited.

And then I wrote Karen. I told her about the offer and how I wouldn’t feel comfortable accepting rep from anyone else without at least having her look at it. (I of course wanted to scream, “WE’RE MEANT TO WORK TOGETHER, AND THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE! PLEASE WANT ME!”) She responded quickly and very graciously said I could mail her the full.

And the waiting began.

Except, I didn’t have to wait too long. It took two days for the MS to mail out. Karen emailed me that Friday afternoon when she received the MS, and I NEVER EXPECTED to hear from her the NEXT DAY. Saturday night, I received the longest email of my life, with Karen saying she’d love to represent me with this series, and gave me a whole slew of notes. I’ll NEVER forget running upstairs and shoving my phone in my hubby’s face and telling him to READ. My gut feeling was right.

But I couldn’t accept right away, because I had given the other agents 2 WEEKS to get back to me. What was I thinking???

Not two days later, I received my THIRD offer. From an AMAZING agent. I loved speaking with her on the phone, and on paper, it made total sense that I go with her! Then I received a FOURTH. And a FIFTH. And a SIXTH. I spoke with each of these agents on the phone and (don’t hate me) but I began to doubt the gut feeling I had had all along. The story ideas these other agents were throwing at me sounded SO appealing, and their passion for my story really shone through and I sorta fell in love with them.

I was seriously debating about which agent to go with—they were all so awesome—one standing out more than the others—but my gut had always been so strong about Karen. And we had such history! I honestly was physically ill. I couldn’t eat, sleep, the works. My mind was playing tricks on me and I knew I needed to get Karen on the phone and fast.

Karen called me on a layover on her way to a SCBWI conference at which she was speaking. The conversation was amazing. The minute I hung up, I felt better, not whole, but better. I knew the connection was there, but I was still conflicted. It wasn’t 30 minutes later that Karen called back.  It was after that second conversation that it was sealed. I KNEW Karen would fight for me no matter what and I suddenly felt stupid for EVER doubting my gut. I had NO DOUBT in my decision.

Writing rejection letters to the other amazing agents TRULY was so difficult. I felt attached to some of them and not to be dramatic, but it really was like cutting out a chunk of my heart. But it made the moment when I could finally say, “YES!” to Karen so worth it.

I’m grateful for my journey so far. I’m glad it hasn't been easy. I've learned how to face rejection and now I’m not afraid anymore. I've learned how to persevere even when I didn’t know if the work would be worth it. I've learned to trust my gut, even though "reality" said my gut was nothing. I've learned that good does happen to people who duck their heads and focus on the work. It doesn’t matter what others are doing around you, all that matters is that we are each doing our best, pushing ourselves to see how far we can stretch ourselves. And the coolest part? Is that it isn’t about the writing. It’s about the journey, and the change that takes place inside of us.

Thanks for reading.

Red. Head. Out.

Other Parts: Part I.  Part II.  Part III. 

73 comments:

  1. Just kidding! :) (I crack myself up). I can't believe you wrote the novel that got you a deal in only 6 weeks. Also, I think it is amazing that you have such a connection with Karen. I hope to have that one day with my agent.

    I've always heard that asking for two weeks is best (if you have multiple offers) because it gives agents adequate time to respond. Did you find that agents responded quicker than that? Because if I don't have my heart set on one particular agent, I'd want to make sure I gave everyone a fair chance (because I flatter myself that I'll get TONS of offers, lol. Ah, one can dream, right?)

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  2. Ha! Okay, so the first part of my comment got deleted. It said "insert generic comment here" but I put it in brackets and the commenting system must have read it as HTML and deleted it. How funny!

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  3. 1ST COMMENT HECK YEA! Biggest fan of your journey right here :) I loved reading all of this, and it truly is all about the journey. This really was an amazing, amazing series of blog posts, probably one of my favorite 'writer's story' I've heard in this community. Thank you so much for sharing, and now there is no more leaving us hanging :)

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    1. SHOOT never mind, I didn't get first comment.... Uuugggh. I was first when I came! Really! It must have taken a while for me to type the comment up on my IPad... grr

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  4. Wow! Talk about hard work paying off! This whole series of posts has been so inspiring. I'll be sure to remember your perseverance when I start querying. :)

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  5. Tiana, SO funny. And truth, two weeks was nice in that regard--though it was TORTUROUS. I got an offer about every two days, so some were fast, and some took their time. But there were others that said they couldn't read with the time restraint, so...

    And SC, you crack me up. :D

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  6. OH MY GOSH!!! What a story! The fact that you got so many offers bodes well for you when you go out on submission! I have a feeling we'll be celebrating MORE good news in the not so distant future!!!

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  7. Hooray for success (and perseverence) stories! :) Thank you for sharing, Morgan!

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  8. Hi Morgan! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. It reminds me that trusting your gut feeling isn't always wishful thinking.

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  9. Love, love, love this part of the story. It is so motivational. I'm going back to work....as soon as I'm over this cold and can see straight again.

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  10. Glad you held out for what you knew was right!

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  11. All I can say is wow! I think that's so cool the feeling you had came true. And it's a great reminder to never give up!

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  12. Lovely! I really enjoyed reading about your journey. It is so inspiring.

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  13. I've waited until now to comment about your journey, and I have to say, Morgan, a movie needs to be made about this. Seriously. This is like Julie and Julia material. Amy Adams could even play you! Next time we meet, you'll have to share your secrets, cause I can surely take some lessons from you. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing! :)

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  14. I love hearing "how I got my agent stories", and I think yours might top the list. Wow. Thanks for sharing. And you are so right, it's all about the journey. Way to go, Morgan.

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  15. Wow! You're an inspiration to all of us! So happy for you! It's awesome to know that there can be happy ending after all those rejections. You're amazing!

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  16. So beautiful, Morgan. It sounds like Karen also had a "gut feeling." Why else would she ask you to have coffee with her then turn it into a 2-hour breakfast? She knew that you were one of her "ones" as much as you knew that she was "the one."

    A "toast" to a long and prosperous agent/author relationship.

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  17. This is so great and so inspirational! You're talented and so deserve this! Now you begin a whole new journey, how exciting!!! (:

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  18. What a tremendous story.. I'm equal parts impressed, inspired, and green with jealousy. Mostly the first 2 though. :p

    Proud to consider you a friend.

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  19. So glad it has a happy ending! See? The red head doesn't fail because she never quits!

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  20. Seven? Are you kidding me? :notworthy:

    You rock, lady. That's all there is to is. But then, I knew that. I'm so excited for you.

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  21. Wow! What a fab story and proof that our dreams can come true. Thanks for sharing with us :)

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  22. There is nothing like having more than one offer to keep you up at night - until your book goes to the "board" at a publishing house... Which yours definitely will ;-)
    SO loved reading about your journey, thanks for sharing.

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  23. Wow Morgan-- what a story of perseverance and listening to your heart!

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  24. I'm thinking a lot of prayer was involved in this. Major congrats, Morgan!

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  25. You were definitely meant to write. I got put into your head with this, and I was suddenly excited. I'm out of breath now *drinks coffee.

    I know writing is your forte, but seriously, you should also consider being a movie star. That depressed picture just radiates emotion. Plus you're very beautiful and could totally hang with Emma Stone and Anne Hathaway.

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  26. Wow, how gratifying to have so many agents fighting over you. I was rooting for Karen, lol. The way you described it, I knew it had to be her. Congrats on everything!

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  27. I love this story! Isn't crazy how gut feelings work? Congratulations. I am so happy for you!

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  28. Eeee, I have still never heard of a single person getting SO MANY offers before!!! I can't wait to see your stellar book on the shelves!!! Such a great story!

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  29. Wow, Morgan! Your story is amazing. Thanks for messaging me on FB. I'm in a pickle, as you know, but not even close to what you dealt with. You HAVE to be extremely confident that you have a fabulous manuscript sitting in your hands. CONGRATS!! So excited for you. :)) Btw, thanks for your help with my questions on FB!

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  30. Wow! This is awesome, Morgan. :) I'm so glad you found exactly the right person to work with. Looking forward to reading your books someday!

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  31. My experience was very similar to this, and reading yours sort of makes me want to throw up all over again! It was sooo stressful! I am so glad its over. For the both of us :)

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  32. This is a woman who knows what she wants!! :)

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  33. Thanks for sharing your story, it's been a great read, I've enjoyed finding out about your journey! :)

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  34. Wow, oh wow, Morgan!! A HUGE congrats. I loved reading your journey. What a crazy ride!!!

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  35. What an amazing story! So glad it ended so well. I can't WAIT to read the book that got so much attention. Way to persevere!

    (haha...and after part three I was about to give you self-publishing advice)

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  36. So impressed with your journey to your agent and that work and feeling that came with it. Best of luck with revisions and subs!

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  37. I love reading your writer's journey, Morgan! It's been so inspiring and uplifting to read!

    I haven't gone through query hell yet, but just reading your words are giving me hope that I will succeed - will get repped by an awesome agent in the future.

    Your story is incredibly well told from an awesome perspective! With that said, good luck on getting published and writing more stories! You can do it with never giving up! Thanks for the wonderful messages and story! :)

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  38. What a great story, Morgan! You have awesome things in store for you, I know it!

    I met Karen at a local SCBWI event and she was awesome. You're in good hands. :-)

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  39. Morgan, thank you so much for sharing in such detail. I can only imagine half of the things you went through on this journey. But doesn't all the bad, difficult challenges make it that much more savory? Kudos to you for hanging in there and persevering. You're proof that persistence pays.

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  40. I just got caught up on the rest of your writing journey, and it was captivating every step of the way! It's amazing how much you've been able to accomplish while raising such a big family! Sounds like you made all of the right decisions, and all of your hard work paid off.
    Julie

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  41. What a great ending to a wild journey. I'm so happy for you, Morgan! Congrats and way to go on chasing your dreams and sticking with it!

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  42. Hi Morgan .. trusting your gut is so sensible and believing .. what a great story though - and so many ups in it! as Julie says above .. what a lovely supportive family you have - good luck with your future career - Mrs Author!!

    Cheers and happy days ahead .. and now enjoy those pre Christmas preparations with the 4 little ones!! Hilary

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  43. Hey,

    You already know my thoughts about Karen, but thanks for sharing your writing story, Morg... just know that someone (if not already) will click on your series and maybe they were about to quit writing or had given up querying, or they'd had one rejection too many... well YOUR amazing story will give them a boost and/or the motivation to keep going, send it just one more query, or save for that special writers conference they've always wanted to attend...

    PS: Good on you for opening the curtain and letting us peek in :)

    May your journey continue in such a positive way for many years to come :)

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  44. What a build-up. Hard work and persistence definitely pays off. I found it hard to put a manuscript away. It's difficult thinking you spent so many hours and months on something for it not to pay off, but I would always start the next manuscript.

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  45. Hi Morgan thank you so much for sharing your story. I follow you on Twitter (I'm Rachelwrites007 on there) and I love how hard work pays off in the end here. I also love reading that you had a gut feeling, even when it didn't quite work out the way you originally planned. I have an R&R now and I soo have a gut feeling with this agent. (I'm tempted to return the ms to her and not query anyone else but...I know I will lol) Thanks for sharing your story again and good luck with submissions!
    Rachel :)

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  46. Wow! What an amazing story of struggling and perseverance and learning and coming out where you were meant to be. Just think -- you're a much better writer now than you probably would have been had your first manuscript been accepted. It really all does work out for the best, doesn't it? May you two have amazing successes together!

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  47. A wonderful ending to a wonderful story!
    I enjoyed every detail... and you could actually write a book about your journey... fictional/autobiographical... either way it will be a winner!

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  48. This is such a wonderful story! I know that everyone's journey is different, and you are such a trooper for sticking it out. I'm just so glad that you've found your agent.

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  49. Wow! Can I say that again . . .Wow! Your writing journey story is so awesome! You have grit and determination and amazing strength. Wow! Way to Go and Get that Agent!!!

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  50. What an awesome journey this has been. Congrats on getting the story and Agent together. Dreams (or gut feelings) can become true :)

    .....dhole

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  51. What an amazing and inspiring story!!! So glad I got to read it through. How amazing that you KNEW all along. Love those bits of our subconscious that make us wait for the right moment!! :)

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  52. Wonderful journey, so exciting and heartbreaking, but with a happy ending, just how I love my stories!

    Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to the Alex blog hop. He is so deserving!

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  53. Now I'm speechless.

    What an incredible journey... and Sweets, it's only the beginning! The future holds so much magic for you, I can see it sparkle around your golden red strands. each one illuminating a bright, shimmering light.

    May all your writing dreams come true....

    M

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  54. although i didn't comment on them all, i read every word. so inspiring..and i will be emailing you when i' m needing that publishing world help! *hugs*

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  55. Morgan, I can remember a while ago when you were doubting your writing? There was no need, you are an incredible writer, who will go very far!:-)

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  56. Congrads! You're on your way woman! I loved reading about your incredible journey and got goose bumps for ya. Thanks for following. I'm definitely following you back. *waves peace sign*

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  57. Wow that's a great story! Thanks for sharing. I love hearing how people break through.

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  58. Holy cow!! This is just magical. I know the future for you is brighter than ever.

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  59. Man. This gave me chills. I went back and read all the parts. How amazing...and fated! Congrats! I sure hope my publishing story ends so perfectly.

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  60. oh my gosh..your story is a story!
    yea yea yea... and good luck!!! I am rooting for you.

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  61. That was awesome! I can't wait to get to where you are at in your career. Thanks for giving all of us a glimpse at the golden light at the end of the tunnel!

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  62. That's great that you reconnected with your dream agent in spite of the initial rejection. Sometimes someone is meant to be in our lives (spouse, friend, agent, etc.), but it's just not the right time yet when we first connect.

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  63. What an awesome story! Ugh. I HATE decisions like that - the ones you can't go back on and alter the course of your life. But it sounds like you made the right one. ;)

    Great blog series, Morgan. I really enjoyed reading about your journey. :)

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  64. Such a beautiful story, Morgan! Congratulations on landing your dream agent! It's all so exciting!

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  65. What a story, Morgan! And look at you - quite the juggler - juggling all of those offers AND ending up with your dream agent. HUGE congrats to you!!

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  66. This is all very exciting Morgan!
    I'm happy for you!
    You have a lot of experience now and, allow me to say, it all came from the times you've been rejected before you were offered representation.
    It would be great if you had the time, one day, to post something on how to deal with the agent business! Just saying... I'd be your first reader and commenter!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  67. OMGosh! MORG!!! This is what I miss when I'm away??? I have to fix that! I can't miss this kind of wonderful news! This is A-MAZ-ING and I am so glad that you've shared your story! This is what it's all about!

    You are such an inspiration! Love you girl! Congratulations!!!

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  68. Thank you so much for sharing! This was seriously such an awesome story (not being sad and down and all, but overcoming it) Very, very much what I needed to read this morning. I'm so glad to hear how it worked out for you and can't wait to see what happens with this story!

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  69. I know I'm late to the party, but I finally read this installment and WOW, thanks for sharing. It sucks that you had to go through the rejection, but it made you stronger and made your journey that much more worth it. I mean, who would want to read a book about a character that won all the time? Right? It's struggle that makes us human. Way to overcome, girl. Thanks for the inspiration :)

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  70. Sorry it took me so long to read this. But HOLY COW IN A PASTURE your story is freaking AMAZING. So happy for you!

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  71. HAH HAH HAH what an awesome story! It's weird how when you finally get there, all these offers start flooding in, isn't it? It's really crazy. I'm so happy for you and can't wait to see all the amazing things you'll accomplish!

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