Because I pledged in like January to do a better job not stealing my own joy, I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to write up a “how I got into Author Mentor Match” post, because (spoiler alert) I got into Author Mentor Match. And I figured a follow up was due, since I talked about submitting to AMM in my rare querying post.

But every time I go to write a celebratory “here’s how it went” post, I end up roasting myself instead. And then I spend far too long on the actual story.

if yeeting my own joy were an Olympic sport…

This is partly because I feel a need to contextualize literally everything, so the post is like “sure, sure, here’s how it happened, but first let me tell you the ~backstory~”, like one of those recipe blogs where you’re scrolling past 5k words about the author’s love for autumn and dedication to pork, thinking, “I just want to make a pork roast, please just get to the goddamn recipe already.”

And it’s because I’ve felt extra and constantly bad about querying lately, even though I’m barely doing that at this point. But I hate being sad on main, because I just feel like a dramatic bench, so I roast myself with memes like this one to compensate for the fact that I’m allowing people to perceive me and my feels.

Henry Fuselli, "The Nightmare," with text added. the woman on the fainting couch is like "woe is me, fetch my smelling salts," while the gremlin on her chest is like "can she please just chill she got picked it's gonna be fine"
my AMM mentor friends watching me cry about AMM and querying 2 days before mentees were announced

So let’s see how short and non-roasty I can keep this.

the book

Peter Shaughnessy is over two hundred years old and ready to die. But he can’t. A youthful encounter with one o’ them folk left him with a curse: to wander eternally far from home. Now Peter travels from town to town, ridding each place of troublesome ghosts and leaving town when the job is done. Better to choose loneliness than have it thrust upon him.

When his wanderings bring him to Harrington, Ohio, he expects a job no different than usual: find an angry spirit. Send it on its way before it causes trouble. Leave before anyone so much as learns his name.

Harrington’s residents have other ideas. As he searches for a vengeful spirit, Peter finds himself drawn into the townsfolk’s lives, troubles, and homes. For the first time in over a century, he wants something other than death. But the people of Harrington will die someday. And he won’t.

As Harrington slowly buckles under the weight of the supernatural, the ghost hunt pits Peter’s well-being against that of his new friends: if he stays, he risks heartbreak; if he leaves, he risks their lives.

The Many Buried Things of Peter Shaughnessy

the timeline (but brief)

  • May 2020: false start – a spot of drafting followed by “y’know, I think this one needs…dare I say it…planning” *scandalized gasps from the audience*
  • December 2020: weirdly a lot of planning for me, plus some out-of-order scenes written up
  • February 2021: drafting, but for real this time
  • July 2021: revising
  • August 2021: y e e t – time for betas and theoretically for me to focus on grad school, but then I didn’t
  • December 2021: panic! at the revisions, due to overthinking a small portion of beta feedback
  • January 2022: “maybe I’ll submit to AMM,” followed by (1) religiously keeping up with #AMMparty prompts, (2) hasty, chaotic re-do revisions based on the larger portion of beta feedback, and (3) even hastier, more chaotic line edits and a yeet that I immediately regretted
actual image of me, regretti spaghetti, the moment after I submitted to AMM

the process

Step 1: Decide you might, maybe, possibly, perhaps finally submit to AMM this year after years of FOMO over mentorship programs, and create a thread for #AMMparty.

Step 2: Investigate the mentors. Focus on anti-MSWL and mentoring style more than MSWL and genre, because an MSWL can be incomplete and mentors can be surprised by things they didn’t know they wanted. And let’s face it, after a year and a half of “not a good fit” rejections in the query trenches, you know that an apparently perfect fit for someone’s MSWL can get passed over anyway. Anti-MSWLs are a straightforward no, much simpler.

And mentoring style is super important if you hope to be working together. For example, if you have, say, RSD and are, say, a melodramatic bench who will cry over the least little thing, a mentor with a blunt style who is not going to gush over what you did well probably isn’t a great fit, even if they might want your manuscript.

Step 3: Choose 4 mentors to submit to. Oh god why are there so many good ones? How are you supposed to choose? Okay, okay, it’s cool, it’s fine, just p i c k.

Step 4: Prepare your query package. Hopefully you already have one that you can revise. If not, time to put one together. Shit. You forgot how hard writing a query letter is. Good thing it doesn’t have to be perfect because that’s what the mentors are here for.

Step 5: Answer the submission form questions posted ahead of time. After all, you have a tendency to overthink *checks notes* literally everything. So you could spend two hours answering these questions once the sub window opens, or you could spend two hours answering them now and c/p all your answers once the sub window opens.

Step 6: When the sub window opens…yeet and forgeet. Only you won’t forgeet. You will cry, because it’s the first time you’ve submitted your new manuscript after a year and a half of rejections on the old one. You will regret giving into FOMO after all these years. You will highkey consider withdrawing your submission, but you don’t, because (a) you’re stubborn and (b) you and a friend promised each other to submit together.

But you’ll do the #AMMwaiting prompts, so that’s kinda fun, and you’ll obsessively check the #AMMteasers, but none of your mentors are posting any, so that’s kinda fun too. You can see behind the curtain without wondering whether the manuscripts they’re talking about are yours.

Did you get a full request?

No: oh :,)

Yes: good, time to panic. Especially because you thought you’d have until after the sub period ended to finish your line edits, but NOPE, the request comes within 48 hours of yeeting that first 50 pages, and shit, now you have to finish your line edits way faster.

Well, okay, fine. You could take your time and submit a day or two late. The AMM folks will understand.

But you are s t r e s s e d o u t and just want to forget that your stupid manuscript exists, so you get as far as you can and are still 100 pages from the end at one a.m. the night of the request, but too bad, it’s getting yeeted as is, and if it ends in rejection, so fucking be it, you are tired.

Did you get follow-up questions?

No: probably for the best, honestly.

Yes: good, time to panic again. Only this time you panic even more because oh god you didn’t know there were follow-up questions, and every time you’ve basically forgotten your submission, they ask for more things and you remember, and you spend two hours writing an email in response to said questions, feeling all the while like you’re taking an exam you didn’t study for because you didn’t even know you were in that class, it’s like a literal nightmare and you’re sure you’re somehow going to answer wrong—

Did you get an email welcoming you to AMM?

No: that sucks. After all the panic, after all the frantic work, after all the fun and the hope and the expectation…rejection. A little like querying.

Except with AMM, hopefully, you’ll get some feedback or a supportive message from one of the mentors you submitted to, even though they didn’t choose you. And unlike querying, you’re welcome to resubmit the same manuscript again (or a new one, of course): rejection from AMM doesn’t close the door. And hopefully you’ve made new friends during the waiting period and come out with more than you went in with, even if a bit of what you came out with was heartbreak because you weren’t chosen.

Yes: wait. what? really?

You’ll know it’s real because as soon as emails go out, any mentors you’re friends with will DM you like “I know you got the email” because they’re relieved not to have to keep it a secret anymore. A moment later, your phone will blow up, because now the mentee list has been posted, and everyone went to look at it, and now they’re all DMing you and tagging you in tweets to congratulate the fuck out of you and whoa turns out being perceived can be kind of nice sometimes if it’s for something good???

the end, but really the beginning

Anyway, my phone blew up. Which was overwhelming and a little anxiety-inducing, but notifs also bring the good brain chemicals, so on the balance it was mostly good.

Author CJ Connor chose me as their mentee, after reacting to The Many Buried Things of Peter Shaughnessy pretty much exactly the way I hope readers will react: with a lil crying (sorry, CJ) and love for the characters and themes. And I have calmed down considerably about revisions, even if I’m still in my feels about querying Edna’s story and half-dreading querying Peter’s.

I’m also in the AMMR9 mentee Slack, which has me always a little on this side of awkward, but overall it’s a lot of fun and I like finding out what people are working on.

What’s next? Reading the manuscript, for one thing – especially since I dove into both recent rounds of revisions in a complete panic and didn’t actually read through the thing first. I should have my edit letter this week so I can spend my silence retreat this weekend starting revisions: ideal since I started drafting for real during last year’s retreat, and the ole English brain lives for coming full circle.

Hopefully, given the nature of the planned revisions, I’ll be ready to dive head-first back into the querying trenches in time for #LGBTNpit in mid-April.

If you enjoyed my post, check out my fellow mentees’ posts, too!

6 thoughts on “This is where I thrash talk about Author Mentor Match

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