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.

4 comments:

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!!