So, I have an agent.
I still can’t quite believe I’m writing that sentence, and that it’s true. Here’s a rambling blog post on how that happened.
August 2016: I wrote the first draft of an article for the absolutely amazing website, Disability in Kidlit, about the importance of representation and hypermobility–a disability that I have. In that article (which, if you fancy a read, you can see here), I chatted about how I wanted authors to write more hypermobile characters. And that got me thinking…
December 2016: After very amicably parting ways with my former agent, I felt a bit adrift. I was writing, but I wasn’t head-over-heels in love with writing. What I wanted to do was write the story that had been brewing in my head for the last six months–the one with the hypermobile MC. But every time I put pen to paper, my confidence buckled. This was an #OwnVoices story, and whilst I believe that writers pour their heart and soul into every story they write, this idea felt special and also incredibly draining at the same time.
January 1st 2017: The first day of a brand new year. A day when the sparkly-ness of the festive season hadn’t quite left me. A fresh start. I sat down at my computer, and typed the word DISLO-KATE. I never normally remember the exact day I start stories, but on this occasion, I did.
January 2017: I wrote as if possessed by a hurricane. 20,000 words sped by. I got to know the characters, the world, the story. And by the end of the month, I was a little burnt out. And to be honest, the butterflies in my stomach had stormed my earlier confidence–could I really write something like this? Would anybody get it?
February 21st 2017: (I trawled through my email account to find the exact date). I had an email from somebody called Shana. She’d found my details on Maggie Steifvater’s MG Critique Partner Match-up, and wanted to know whether I was still searching for a CP. OF COURSE I WAS! Over the next couple of months, we swapped chapters back and forth, and I wrote and re-wrote until, with Shana’s help, I found the heart of my story. I’m actually getting a little emotional typing this, but seriously–CP’s are THE BEST! They become so much more than internet people who read your word, and without Shana, I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t be writing this post right now.
May 2017: I’d finished. I’d typed ‘THE END’. Here’s my face just after writing those words:
My story was scrubbed up and shiny (sort of). So I sent it off to a couple of amazing writer friends to scrutinise. They sent back their comments (and I apologised profusely for my constant British-isms), and I got to work. I reworked and re-wrote.
May 20th 2017: I got that itch again. The query itch. I polished my letter, wrote the dreaded synopsis, and sent my first query off into the nether-sphere. I sat back, and prepared myself for a long wait.
May 28th 2017: My first full request. To be honest. I was gobsmacked. I sent it off, and went back to waiting–it could be weeks, MONTHS, till I heard anything. In the meantime, I queried some more, just in case.
June 1st 2017: Second full request. I’m pretty much at full SQUEE level now.
June 6th 2017: An email. From one of the agents with my full. To be honest, my heart sunk. It wouldn’t be good news–not this fast.
I click on the email. And immediately burst into tears. This awesome agent liked my MS. And she wanted to meet. I erupt into full excitement/happy dancing/not sleeping now.
June 13th 2017: The day of The Meeting. I’m so nervous I can’t eat. My mouth is sandpaper dry, and I can’t stop grinning. I take these cheesy photos to document my mood:
The agent is lovely and kind and offers representation. I try not to cry in front of her (that would be unprofessional).
June 13th – June 18th 2017: A frantic couple of days. Lots of emails, and full requests, and kind rejections that made me cry and hug my laptop screen.
June 19th 2017: Another email. Another awesome agent wants to meet. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING??
June 20th 2017: I meet the second agent. She is also amazing. She also offers rep. I go home that evening, drink some wine, and talk with my mum. And, at the end of the night, I make my decision.
Almost a month to the day since I started querying, I sign with the amazing Alice Williams at David Higham Associates. Here’s a bad photo of me pretending to sign (Obviously with a glass of wine!):
I can’t wait to get to work! Have a fab day, friends.