How I got my literary agent!

This post is something I’ve been dreaming about writing for over a year, so you know what that means?

I’m going to be LONG WINDED!

I learned a LOT along the way, so pull up a seat and settle in, because Aunt Dee’s gonna tell you all about it…

So I revised my manuscript last May and then began querying for about a month until I realized that my manuscript was just not strong enough yet.

You see, I subscribed to the rule of send out more queries every time you get a request because that means it’s working. It’s not always a bad theory, that is until you start getting form rejection after form rejection on your fulls, which is agent speak for “I stopped reading because it didn’t keep my interest.” Yeah.

Do you know what a form on a full feels like? Like this:

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Then something exciting occurred, I got an R&R (or in layman’s terms: an agent who says this is what I didn’t like about it, why don’t you try to fix it and then I’ll read it again). I totally agreed with her thoughts and so I immediately pulled my manuscript from consideration from the remaining agents who hadn’t gotten back to me and started working on it, but I was having a lot of trouble trying to fix certain areas of the book.

It wasn’t until I decided to enter #pitchwars and was selected and then mentored by the amazingly talented Trisha Leigh, who gave me such a comprehensive edit letter, that I kicked back into full gear. This book became an entirely different beast than the one before. I added almost 20k words, combined characters, changed up plot points, etc. It was a total overhaul!

I ended up getting several requests out of that contest and then additional requests in #pitmad a few weeks later. Then I began querying (not as widely this time) and got a really encouraging response on that as well.

I had silence for most of January. Just nothing but crickets in my inbox. I had basically stopped querying in December, so I was twiddling my thumbs, waiting on responses to requested materials.

Then, one afternoon an email from an agent I was really thinking would be a good fit pops up. Negative nancy over here immediately assumed that it was a rejection. I was already mentally preparing myself for the epic pity party I was about to throw myself because I had really thought that my manuscript would be right up her alley.

I took a deep breath and clicked on the email.

It was only 2 paragraphs… totally a rejection.

BUT THEN I READ IT! In those two paragraphs she gushed about my book and my characters and then told me she wanted to set up a call.

So what did I do?

I started balling my eyes out.

I called my husband and not being one to normally resort to tears, he immediately thought someone had died. It took him a few minutes to calm down from the scare and then he started crying too 🙂 I then called my mom and my sister (who cried), texted my CP’s and just jumped around all night long and consumed some champagne.

We had our call the next morning and we absolutely clicked. We laughed a lot and she GOT my book and my characters. It was like oxygen to my soul to hear her discuss Aniq and Willow like they were real people. Her vision for the book really echoed my own and it just felt right.

Ahhh! I probably talked way too much and interrupted too much (I do that when I’m nervous), but in the end, I didn’t scare her off because she offered representation.

I wanted to accept right there, but I still had requests out and so I needed time to be able to nudge.

Then came the longest ten days of my life.

I had several step asides throughout the week ranging in reasons from didn’t have time to read or didn’t feel passionately about the project to throw their hat into the ring. I then had one agent who read it and loved it and said she wanted to offer, but didn’t think she was the best agent to take it to market. She very graciously told me to go with the offering agent as this agent was just getting into YA and wanted to give me the best shot. It wasn’t until the very last day of my deadline that I got a call from a very amazing agent who has been in the industry a long time. Our call was almost an hour and I was beyond impressed with him and his vision for the book and my career. Both agent #2 and agent #1 had very similar revision ideas and it was absolutely not an easy decision, but in the end, I had to go with what my gut was telling me all along. So on Valentine’s Day (aww!) I accepted representation from Kirsten Carleton at Waxman Leavell.

I’m so incredibly excited to start this new phase of my career and roll up my sleeves and start revising my manuscript again!

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Right after I signed the contract!

And now for the thank you part of this speech (cue Oscar music):

I have so much to be thankful for, but want to give special shout outs to Ashley, Rachel and Alexa who let me show my crazy during this intense period in the query trenches and for somehow making me feel normal 🙂 To my amazing husband who saw my crazy, got scared, but still loved me. To the insanely supportive community of PW writers that I’ve been able to share this journey with! Our “secret” FB group has been a God send! And obviously thank you to  Trisha Leigh for taking on my MS and helping it get shiny enough to catch Kirsten’s eye! And finally, thank you Kirsten for taking a chance on me and believing in my writing! I think we are going to make a wonderful team and a force to be reckoned with!

And for the stats for those of you who love stats:

Queries sent: 25
Contests: 2
Requests: 26 — 11 cold query requests (7 fulls and 4 partials – 2 of which upgraded); 15 contest requests (all 15 were partials and 8 upgraded)
R&R: 1
Offers: 2

Total time in the Query Trenches: 4 1/2 months (2 months for the first round and then 2 1/2 months in round two)

I’m done…

 

 

 

After finally finishing a massive revision last week…

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Go Time!

Today is the alternate round of Pitch Wars!

Thanks a bazillion to my mentor Trisha Leigh whose insights, encouragement and brilliant suggestions made my manuscript a whole new shiny object! Thanks to my fellow mentee Anna Patel for all the encouragement and behind the scene freak outs! And finally special thanks to Brenda Drake and Dee Romito for hosting and putting this whole contest on!

This was such a fun experience and I met so many amazing writer friends! I am so happy I was asked to be involved!

#TeamLeighgit #forever

 

Write-and-keep-on-writing

Revision Update

My OH my!!!

What began as a simple revision has really evolved into almost a totally new book. I have learned so much from Trisha that I will forever be grateful to her for all her writerly wisdom she has bestowed upon me!

If nothing else comes from this Pitch Wars contest, I will have at least learned how to be a better writer. I learned a lot about plot structuring and character arcs and unnecessary dialogue tags! 🙂

I’m still not done revising and the deadline is creeping up on me.

Oh and did I mention that we are moving the weekend before the contest goes live and all my revisions are due?

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How I’m going to balance work, parenting, volunteer stuff, writing, revisions, school, family, friends AND moving… actually just thinking about all that makes me sleepy. Night y’all!

Pitch Wars Contestant Alert!

So as you might be wondering… I am STILL working on my directed revision from the end of June and have not sent another query letter or anything. In fact, I contacted the agents who still had my MS and asked if they would hold off on reading it until I got them a newer draft. They were all absolutely gracious and agreed. That’s how much I believed that I needed a huge overhaul on my book.

You might guess that due to the lack of progress, I was what you might call – STUCK! I was overwhelmed and not really sure how to get where I wanted my book to be.

I’ve been watching Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest for the last few years, but never was at a place where I could enter. This year, when submission time came around, I decided to give it a shot. Getting a chance to have my novel edited by a professional YA writer would be a dream come true. So I entered and lo and behold, Trisha Leigh picked me as an alternate!

I’m so ridiculously excited to begin working on my SIX PAGE edit letter and a MS full of line edits! Eeks! I have such a renewed vision for this book and it felt soooo good to get picked out of so many people (over 1200 submissions) and have someone who loved my book! yay!

Girls wanna have fun