It’s Cinnamon Roll Day

May 17, 2010 at 6:00 am (Events, Virtual Gems)

Last September I started to query agents for my dark Victorian romance, BROKEN, and I had some good response–in fact, some great response. So, of course, I did what I naturally do  when given just a teaspoon’s of encouragement and started to envision grand things which included, but was not limited to, finaling in the GH, being signed by my dream agent, having her sell my book in a pre-emptive multi-book and seven figure auction, and finding a magical unicorn in the backyard who could find diamonds in the earth with its horn. (I know–overkill, but I said grand, not timid.)

Then I started to calm down. (That also may have been when I cut back on the caffeine–I’m not sure, but it’s veeeeeery possible.)

And in one clear and calm moment, I told Montana I’d figured out the one thing that would happen for me to consider this year a success: to not have to sign up for agent/editor appointments at the RWA National Convention in July.

You see, every year many of the lovely and wonderful editors and agents who go to RWA spend a great deal of their weekend listening to 8-minute pitches from those authors who are un-editored and un-agented (most times, both.) Here’s been my experiences with these little 8-minute golden tickets:

On the RWA site, there’s a chart of interests to help you find the right agent and/or editor right for you, and then according to the schedule, you get online and sign up. Now, I have no proof of this, but I firmly feel that when these appointments hit the web during successive Monday mornings in May, there is a worldwide frenzy of romance authors young, old, tall, short, sweet, sexy, ready to be published, and those who’ve just typed ‘The End’ two minutes ago, all anxiously hovering over their keyboards, clicking on the choices and seeing who of their list is still available (all while praying to whatever god(s) in their religious arsenal that day) and hitting submit, rubbing their lucky talisman(s) for it to go through and not to get that damned ‘server  is busy’ notice. I know we crash the RWA server each and every May. (I also feel very sorry for the RWA webmistress and IT department those days, but that’s another story.)

As I mentioned, these spots hit the website Monday mornings in May (depending on your status–GH nominee, PRO member, etc.), and they hit at 8:00 a.m. RWA headquarters time, which is 6:00 a.m. me time. So I’m up at 5:45, making sure I’m ready to go–computer up and active, sheets of research with my fully vetted list of wants, and enough stomach acid to burn through Old Ironsides. Because, in my desperate and burning desire to get published, these opportunities were indeed a golden ticket–most times an absolute invitation to put those coveted “Requested Material” words on your envelope (or email)–and not to be taken lightly.

So, in 2007 while querying my rom-com-para-lite, I got my agent request, and when I tried for my editor request (the late, amazing Kate Duffy) I was told it didn’t go through. Merde! Back to the website! I was able to choose another fabulous editor, but by this time I was getting really late for work and didn’t have time to wait and see if my second choice went through or not. I slapped some peanut butter on an English muffin and my dearest and sweetest Montana volunteered to stay behind and watch the computer for me. After I get to work (a 40-minute commute), he called and told me it had gone through–hooray! But wait, what kerfuffle is this? When I check my email for confirmation of my appointments, I do see my agent request, but I show BOTH Kate Duffy and choice #2. By this time the stomach acid is in full roll, and I immediately email RWA telling them what had happened, and who my first choice was. (For, you see, when you sign up, you’re warned in Very Dire Terms, that if you skip out on your appointment, you will be kicked off the list for next year and have other possible repercussions fall upon your sad and unpublished head. (Or something like that…)) The last thing I wanted was to be placed on that black list due to an internet error. Thankfully, RWA got me straightened out and got me on the Kate Duffy list (8 minutes I treasure to this day), but by this point, I had made myself sick with worry and ended up going home from work shortly after 11:00 a.m.

In 2008, the list of those agents and editors taking appointments seemed smaller, or maybe just in my categories (both paranormal and women’s fiction), but I had my list, by god, and I was going to register for another round of golden tickets. Again, up at 5:45, this time with better internet service and a backup computer on standby, and was able to break through to get an editor and agent appointment. Thankfully, I didn’t get sick that year, but the stress was there all the same.

Then came 2009, ah-the heartbreak year. Now I was ready to query my dark Victorian romance. I was able to get not only an excellent editor choice, but I was able to land a spot with my dream agent. Only to have to cancel my trip to Nationals not two weeks later. Truthfully, I don’t remember the stress, or the crazy and frenetic weeks of research leading up to that Monday–just the immediate joy followed by the awful and heartbreaking anguish.

But fear not, lovely and supportive blog readers–there’s a happy ending! No, I wasn’t able to get that face-to-face time in Washington D.C. last July, but in my September queries, I did send to that dream agent, and you know the rest–I signed with her three months ago based on my query, my story, and my voice. No golden ticket necessary.

So, I remember on that Saturday so many months ago when I told Montana I’d be happy not having to repeat the 5:45 a.m., multi-computer, weeks of stress, dive into the appointment tank of pain, I was going to celebrate that Monday instead. Yes, you guessed it–that Monday is today. So I am indeed celebrating by not getting up way too early and making myself sick from too much stress, but by pouring a big glass of milk, putting a scrumptious and frosted cinnamon roll in the microwave with some butter, and eating that warm and gooey goodness with a big old smile on my face. That, my friends, is happiness.


  1. coffeegirl88 said,

    Congrats again, on what’s proving to be a wonderful year for you.

    Now off to grumble that you’ve made me very hungry and there’s NOTHING in this house that even resembles cinnamon rolls. And when I’m done there, it’s off to get some writing done.

  2. Pamela Cayne said,

    Thanks, coffee! Maybe get a lovely roll after you’ve written–does the reward system work for you? Or I can send you a virtual roll–there’s plenty up there, so feel free to grab one! 🙂

  3. coffeegirl88 said,

    Virtual ones are better. The reward system has never really worked for me. So now, back to eeking out a word or two. I have no attention span today.

  4. Marilyn Brant said,

    SO well deserved, my friend!
    I remember how you talked about Cinnamon Roll Day way back when, and I’m living vicariously through you right now as far as the actual roll (I already ate a giant chocolate-chip cookie today, I can’t have any more sugar ’til tomorrow…), but I know just what you mean about the lack of sign-up stress, and it’s a Very Good Thing. 🙂

  5. Melina said,

    What a fabulous tradition, Pam! I LOVE it!

    You’ve got talent, patience, and determination. As I’ve said, you’re a roll model for us all!

    (You’re also very brave. This is my 3rd conference, and I’ve never pitched.)

    May you always have lots to celebrate! 🙂

  6. Karen said,

    This year was my first year doing the Monday sign up thing. And yes, the anxiety was there.
    We missed you at Nationals last year.
    So looking forward to meeting you this year 🙂

  7. Pamela Cayne said,

    Marilyn–It was lovely to have you share in Cinnamon Roll Day (chocolate chip cookies are more than wonderful substitutes!) This was one section of writing I did not enjoy, so am very happy to be done with it! 🙂

    Melina–you are just determined to a) make me blush like crazy and b) make me hug you even *harder* than I’ve threatened to before! And I know you’re going to hit it soon–your writing is too fun not to! 🙂

    Karen–sorry about the anxiety, but I’m glad you got such great results! And I am so looking forward to meeting you, too!!! 😀

  8. Heather Snow said,

    Your post made me laugh out loud…that’s exactly what it’s like!!! Particularly this year, the very first day (when GH finalists got to sign up) there was some sort of snafu on the website and I’m sure RWA office was barraged by phone calls as frantic authors tried to get signed up. I know I was up WAY too early that day…

    And super congratulations on signing with Ms. Poelle. Any day, I know you’ll be announcing that big sale!

  9. Katie Reus said,

    That picture is making my stomach growl! As I’ve never been to Natl’s (and wouldn’t you know it, they’re having it in the city I literally just moved from! Gah!) I’ve never dealt w/ the stress but a lot of my friends have. Glad this part of the year is stress free for you! Can’t wait til I see your announcement of a sale!! 🙂

  10. Pamela Cayne said,

    Heather–it’s so good to hear from another tortured soul! I’d say we should form a group, but truth be told, we already have several groups to deal with this, don’t we? And thanks for the encouragement–I’m waiting to hear a similar (and rocking) success story from you! 🙂

    Katie–I’m thinking I shouldn’t post food pix anymore, or at least post more! And one of these days you and I will cross paths at a conference and celebrate our sales and releases, k? 😀

  11. Melina said,

    Gah! I spelled “role” wrong. Just saw that.

    I just had to stop by and say that now I’m even MORE excited about nationals. Your enthusiasm is catching!

    How many more days?

    Karen – if you need to practice that pitch, I’m all ears!

  12. Pamela Cayne said,

    I thought you were just being very witty, Melina! (That, or I just have rolls on the brain so much I didn’t even notice!) And I’m so glad you’re getting excited for Nationals!!! 😀

  13. Robin said,

    Great story, Pam! And I’m so happy and excited for you that you’ve started a new chapter in your writing life!! I can’t wait to hear how awesome it is to meet your agent in person, and I really can’t wait to see you in person myself!

  14. L.A. Mitchell said,

    I’m so happy for all you’ve accomplished this year and so sorry we won’t have that drink in Orlando. I’m hoping next year will be my cinnamon roll year 😉

  15. Pamela Cayne said,

    L.A.–I’m just thinking how cool it’s going to be (finally!) meeting you in New York when we both have many ribbons and nominations to be dragging around! 😀

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