I have an agent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(I'd go on with the exclamation points, but I think you get the point.) I have accepted representation with the fabulous Ted Malawer of Firebrand Literary. I can finally say those four wonderful words I've been waiting to say for the last NINE years: I have an agent! I can also say things like those writers in movies who are terribly busy and successful--things like, "I don't know, let me check with my agent," or "My agent just called," or "Run that by my agent." I'm giddy just thinking about it.
So for my friends who don't know what an agent does (and can't figure out why I'm so excited), an agent is someone who sells your book for you, brokers your publishing contracts, manages your career, and tells you that you are wonderful and talented when your crippling self-doubt gets out of hand. Since 80% of publishing houses won't even look at your manuscripts if you don't have an agent (I totally made up that figure, but it's close, if not on the low side), getting an agent is like getting the "golden ticket" and then eventually moving on to the final 3 on American Idol. It's not a guarantee you'll get published, but it ups your odds by about 95% (yet another made up statistic, but it's close, I swear). The biggest conundrum in the publishing industry is that it is nearly impossible to get published without an agent, but almost more impossible to get an agent without being published. Seriously, why would anyone wonder why writers are so neurotic?
So you can see why little old me is so darn excited.
For anyone who is wondering, this is how the process went (Warning, this goes on for a bit):
1. Wrote a book.
2. Revised, revised, revised, and revised book some more.
3. Realized 1st book was just for practice and started a second book
4. Repeated step 2 (plus a little more)
5. Sent queries (1 page letter describing yourself and your book) for the 2nd book to about a dozen agents. Half flat out rejected it. Half asked to read the first few chapters of the book. One or two asked to read the whole thing. In the end, all rejected it with positive feedback and well-wishes . . .they "liked" it, but weren't "in love" with it.
6. Being several months pregnant and void of all brain-power, I decided to put the book away for awhile and let it percolate.
7. Started a 3rd book and after several months, ideas for the 2nd book started conflicting with the third.
8. Put the 3rd book in a drawer and picked up the 2nd book again (almost 1 year after I put it away) and set to work completely rewriting 75% of the novel and adding 101 pages of new content.
9. Had the first chapter critiqued by an editor at a conference who said she loved the story and wanted to see the rest of it as soon as it was finished (May 2008). Joy. Self doubt. Stress. Panic.
10. Sent MS off to the editor at the end of August 2008
11. Decided to look for an agent instead of twiddling my thumbs
12. Did research and narrowed my list to about 8 agents who I thought would be the best fit for my manuscript.
13. Wrote query, showed it to writers groups, revised, revised, and revised it some more
14. Sent very first query to the top agent on my list with the first 2 pages (What was I thinking?! Who queries their top choice first?)
15. Sent out second query with client referral and first 5 pages. Got immediate response asking to see the full!
16. A couple of days later, #1 agent responded asking for the full asap because he's leaving on a trip and wants to take my MS with him!!!
17. Sent MS right away. Obsessively checked email for a few days. Convinced self that both agents were probably never going to respond even though it had been less than a week. Sent out 3 more queries without any pages of my MS. Got almost immediate rejections on all 3. One rejection came in less than 2 minutes from when I sent the email query (Was that a world record?) Major self doubt ensued.
18. Wait, exactly one week after sending full to agent #1, got email saying that he's almost done reading the manuscript and he LOVES it. Wants to show it to the other agents in his office on the following Tuesday. Do I have a synopsis I can send him for the other agents to look at? Sure, I have a synopsis. It's over here somewhere . . .
19. Hurried and wrote a synopsis. (Actually, I had a synopsis but I hadn't revised it since I sent out the manuscript the first time over two years before--and it stank!)
20. Sent synopsis Monday morning. Got one of the best emails of my life from agent #1 outlining all of the things he loved about my book and promising to get back to me after his meeting on Tuesday.
21. Tuesday came and went and no matter how many times I refreshed my email--no email from agent #1 appeared. Major self-doubt ensued. . .convinced self that the other agents must have hated the manuscript and convinced #1 that he must be on drugs if he liked it. They're staging an intervention right now . . .
22. Wednesday afternoon: received email saying he got great feedback from other agents and wants to call me on Friday so we can chat. Later that afternoon, received email from agent #2 with a very complimentary rejection of the manuscript with an invitation to send other materials. Couldn't care less--still doing the happy dance about #1.
23. Thursday: another email asking if we can postpone chat until Saturday. (Somebody just shoot me now. I can't take the anticipation anymore!) Used the meantime to do more research on #1, talked to a couple of his clients. Convinced self that he must just be calling to give me some revision notes or something. Husband said, "Why would he call you on a SATURDAY for that?"
24. Paced anxiously around the house for the next 48 hours and practically jumped out of my skin when the phone rang and then sat down and gave the fakest-calm, "Hello . . .this is she. Hi, Ted . . ." you've ever heard. And to make this very, very long story short: He offered representation and I accepted. The happy dance has yet to stop at our house!
So that's the story in a very large nutshell. And since Ted is an awesome agent, I will hopefully have more announcements to come in the next few months. So stay tuned . . .
P.S. Thank you to all of my friends, family, and teachers who have supported me, and helped me revise over all these years. You know who you are. XOXOXOXOXOXO