Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Much Agent Love

I started my agent search in April of 2007. And much like all other writers, I was…terrified of screwing up. I’d heard all of the “Must Do,” “Never Do,” and “You’re An Idiot If You…” via Miss Snark (R.I.P.) Although much of it was common sense, I was still deathly afraid of making a small mistake since, in my mind, something as small as having the wrong date on a query letter meant instant rejection.

But, I put on my big-girl panties and forged ahead. I made a spreadsheet of close to 100 agents and started going down the list. Within my first batch of 25, I got 3 partials requested. Immediately, visions of a quick sale for multiple six-figures danced in head. (Yes, I know. Ha ha.)

And, of those 3 partials? All were turned down.

So, I cried. I threw things. I wished I could drink gallons of wine in my very pregnant state.

But, I gave it a few days and went back and re-read the emails. And buried in-between the “liked it but didn’t love it” and “going to have to pass” were some great suggestions. Suggestions that rang true the second I read them.

So, I made the changes and sent out another batch in May, and got another handful of partial/full requests. One of the agents I queried was Holly Root of Waxman Literary. Immediately after sending my query, she asked to see a partial. But, her email back to me was…different. It made me laugh. I was all, “Whoa! I didn’t know agents had a sense of humor!” :)

Then, two days later, a full request and a week later, an offer.

The second that 212 number popped up on my phone, I started flipping out. As I let it go to voicemail, I scrambled to compile a list of questions to ask her. But, of course, when I finally spoke to her, she was so charming and engaging on the phone that I don’t think I asked her any of those questions and most likely promised my first-born child to her.

And I knew I’d made the right choice when, a few months later, my book had gotten REALLY REALLY (Seriously, REALLY) close to selling but didn’t. And she stuck with me, with my book, and kept submitting until we got a “Yes! I loved it!” a full seven months after I signed with her.

So, yeah. Whenever I hear someone say they “don’t see the value in an agent,” I would like to transport them back in time and show them myself at this time last year, sleep-deprived with a newborn and praying my book would sell, reading Holly’s encouraging emails and keeping the faith.


Jillian Cantor said...

How great that you found an agent who loves your work and makes you laugh!!

Lesley Livingston said...

Everything I've heard of Holly tells me she's a smart cookie.
And lucky to have you!

Tracy Madison said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it. :)

Lisa Patton said...

I still can't believe how similiar our paths have been. It's so great to be in this group with you!!