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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How I Got My Agent: The story you've all been waiting for!

This year has been good to me, so far. Amazingly good. And I do not forget that I am already living my dreams -- that I was living them from the moment el husband threw his unconditional support behind me as a writer, who just writes, and we moved back to upstate New York, and out of our apartment into this house, wherein the potential for goats is just a fence and a small barn away from reality. That the moment I signed with World Weaver Press, the unreachable had become reachable, and here I am, after all this time, a published author.

But I was still hoping for something more -- one more goal post to make this MY YEAR, the way I had been saying every year would be my year for the last three. 

I was still hoping for The Agent.

So I threw myself into the trenches again, determined to give it my all, because after all, Helen and Theseus deserved at least that much, if not more than I could give. I sent out queries in larger batches than ever before. THIS YEAR was going to be MY YEAR. The Universe, I could tell already, was sympathetic to my cause. Partial and full requests starting coming in more frequently than ever before. I wasn't sure what I was doing right -- but whatever it was, things were starting to get exciting.

One Agent told me while it wasn't what he was looking to represent, as a reader, it sounded great, and he was looking forward to seeing it on shelves. Another agent told me she thought my manuscript was wonderful, but she'd just signed another author with too similar a voice. Again and again, I received personal responses and encouraging feedback. 

The strangest response was the one in which the agent I had queried told me, that while my manuscript wasn't quite his thing, he had an agent friend at another agency who would probably be interested -- and he had shared my query with her. 

Needless to say, I followed up. But this wasn't something I was prepared for! I'd heard of the mythical referral before, of course. But in my head, it was always a parting shot with a name. Maybe, if I were lucky, I'd be forwarded on to someone else within the same agency, but this? 

The agent I was referred to requested my full manuscript, and of course I sent it! Immediately I began to do research. I knew the agency had a great reputation, but this particular agent hadn't been on my list. The hallmarks I had looked for when deciding who I should submit to weren't there. The likelihood is, I never would have thought to query this agent on my own, and while she sounded WONDERFUL, I didn't want to get my hopes up. In my head, I kind of wrote it off -- because you just can't do anything otherwise and survive the query wars. 

I kept querying. I even got a few MORE requests.

But just shy of 3 weeks later, I got an email that stopped me in my tracks. The agent to whom I had been referred had read my full manuscript, and she wanted to chat. 

On the phone.

I think I could not actually speak in real words for ten minutes. I could not form any kind of coherent sentence in response, even in writing! This was the moment I had been waiting for! Well, I hoped so, anyway. I mean, the agent did not say she was making an offer, but, I argued with myself, why else would she want to CALL?

Eventually, I pulled myself together and sent an email back, trying to play it cool. (I limited myself to only one exclamation point! ONE AND ONLY ONE!) We scheduled a time. I couldn't believe it was happening even after everything was set to go. But I knew I had to prepare. I made a list of questions, wrote up small summaries of my other projects just in case, did some more research and agonized. I really, honestly, was not sure which direction things were going to go. 

But two days later, when Michelle Brower called, once we started talking, I knew! This was a person I could really work with, who wanted to help get me on the path I wanted to walk, and who was willing to work with me and embrace a few deviations along the way. This was a person who I could be comfortable approaching if I had any concerns or questions. And indeed, she patiently listened to the many, MANY questions I had prepared, and answered a few I didn't know I cared about! 

Unfortunately (fortunately?) I had pages out with a few other agents still, and I knew I shouldn't necessarily say yes right away. I had to give the other agents a shot to read, respond, and offer -- but the waiting, it was an agony. The agents I had emailed to withdraw my submission responded immediately with kind words and best wishes, but the agents who still had my work... 

It was the longest wait of my life, because by day two, I was already 99% sure that Michelle was my best match. Every contact with her confirmed those feelings, and so did my further research.

On Wednesday, February 20th, one week after The Call, I accepted her offer of representation, and on February 27th I was thrilled to officially sign with Folio! Historical Fiction publishing land, here we come!

For the NUMBERS, check back HERE tomorrow!

(And don't forget that if you bought Forged by Fate, you can still enter to win the GRAND PRIZE -- the deets are over at the blogparty blogpost!)

15 comments:

  1. Huzzah! Congratulations, dude, I am so stoked for you! The cosmos has truly aligned in your favor.

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    1. Definitely!! A very strange and magical confluence of events! Thanks!!

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  2. Yayayayay!!!!! *throws confetti* SO excited to see Helen on shelves after I read the early version. Squeeeeeee!!! :-D

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  3. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is awesome. As I just said on Twitter, I have goosebumps!! I am so excited for you! HELEN is a WONDERFUL story and I can't wait to see what else this year brings for you! EEEEEEEEE!

    And btw, I am very impressed by your use of only one exclamation point. Seriously. If that time ever comes for me, you will have to tell me what powers you used to control yourself.

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    1. Well, there were definitely MANY MANY MANY exclamation points in my head. Also in the email but then I went back and deleted them because I was all "gotta look like a pro! BE COOL, AMALIA!"

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  4. Sometimes the stars just align in our favour, don't they??

    I cannot wait to read the rest of your novels!!!! :D

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    1. Yes, totally!! And I hope you'll love my historical fiction as much as you love my fantasy! :D

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  5. My favourite "How I got my Agent" story ever because it is YOURS and that makes it infinitely WONDERFUL. :)

    <3

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    1. Ahhh you are so lovely to say so!! <3 <3 <3 One day, it will be YOURS, and then it will be my favorite :D

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  6. I am so excited to read this exciting new! Congratulations!

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