If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen this:
I’m still pinching myself, but I thought I would do a ‘how I got my agent post’ — These type of posts are my favourites. Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, I’d google ‘how I got my agent’ and spend FAR too long scrolling through them. And then afterwards, I’d feel a little better. How I got my agent stories are basically the way I shined my querying armour, and put myself (and my story) back out there.
But I never EVER thought I’d be writing this post. I didn’t want to let myself get my hopes up, and then be shattered. So I kind of went about querying with the attitude of: ‘this isn’t going to happen, but I’m going to give it my all.’
I sent my very first query on May 26th 2015. I know this because, although my first email address got hacked and I lost everything, the amazingly kind agent I queried that day found my new email address and messaged me the most awesome rejection (RULE 1 of QUERYING: REJECTIONS CAN BE AWESOME).
I didn’t really do much querying after that. I entered a couple of online contests like #QueryKombat and Pitch to Publication, but I wasn’t getting anywhere (but I was meeting amazing writer friends and critique partners which is the best part of any/all contests). That was until I entered the contest #NewAgent, run by the brilliant Michelle Hauck (RULE 2 of QUERYING: ENTER TWITTER/ONLINE CONTESTS). I was picked by Wade (go add his book on goodreads) and I was so excited. This was it – I could feel it!
After working on my query and my first 250 words with Wade, the agent round of #NewAgent was upon us. I got six requests (!!!!!) and was pretty much bouncing off the walls with happiness. I can’t say enough good things about #NewAgent — I met some awesome people and learnt SO much about the querying process.
I dived headfirst into querying after #NewAgent. I set up a QueryTracker account, researched agents by using the #MSWL tag on twitter, and just really put myself out there. The rejections came rolling in, along with a few full requests. That was pretty much it for almost the rest of 2015 – a cycle of query, reject, query, request and so on.
Then, at the end of November, I got an revise and resubmit request. A lovely agent gave me a whole page of notes to make my book better. I was over the moon – I ripped my book apart and wrote 10,000 extra words in a week. My very kind CP’s re-read and re-ripped apart. I had this hunger to get the book perfect – but because of this, I did the one thing everyone tells you not to do on a R&R. I rushed it. And the agent rejected. It was heartbreaking, but I learnt a valuable lesson – take your time (and proofread!).
So at the start of 2016, I’d kind of wound down with querying. I hadn’t stopped or given up, but I had a good number of fulls and partials out and I wanted to wait and see what feedback I got from them.
Then in February, I got another R&R. This time I knew I had to do it right. I scribbled over the entire MS, edited the whole thing on my own 3 times, sent it off to three more CPs, and then proofread it again and again until I’d got it as perfect as was possible. I really took my time and didn’t send it back to the agent until it was 100% ready (RULE 3 of QUERYING: TAKE YOUR TIME WITH AN R&R).
And then the nail biting began. I waited. I tried to distract myself with my WIP. I frantically checked my email a billion times a day. And then an email popped up – it was from the agent. She wanted to ask me a couple of questions about the projects I was currently working on. My heart pretty much leapt out of my chest. I replied to her and waited some more. She emailed back to say she wanted to call me to discuss my MS. I re-read the email a billion times, sure that I’d misinterpreted it in some way.
At this point I was pretty much a ball of excited crying. I phoned my mum and told her, and then I excitedly set up the call with the lovely agent for the next day. That night I didn’t sleep.
That phone call was amazing. The agent was lovely, she just got my MS and was excited about my other projects. And at the end of the call – she offered. It took me EVERYTHING not to say yes then and there. But I had other fulls and partials out, so I said I’d be in touch after I’d informed the other agents of my offer.
My email pinged more in the week after my offer then it’s ever done. I got a few more full requests, and some amazingly kind step-asides from agents, who said that they’d be cheering on from the sidelines. It was lovely, but I’d pretty much made my decision of who I wanted to represent me.
On May 2nd 2016, I signed with Vanessa Eccles of Golden Wheat Literary. This is me:
And for those who are interested, here are my query stats:
Queries sent: 57
Partial/full requests: 20
R&Rs: 2 (with the second leading to my offer of representation!)