January 24, 2018 by firstname.lastname@example.org
The end of 2017 saw the realization of a goal I’ve had for (count ’em!) SIX YEARS now. I now have a literary agent!
I still pinch myself when I see those words together. I have a literary agent! I began querying my novel in November, and I officially signed the contract at the end of December.
If you’re currently in the query trenches and that seems remarkably fast, *take heart*. Like most good things that happen “fast,” this one was in the works for a long, long time. Here are some fast facts about my journey as an author:
–This was not my first book. (People who get agented on their first book have my unending envy and awe.) Nope! For me, the *fourth* time was the charm (the third one I actually queried).
–By the time I started querying, I’d re-written it a few times.
–I wrote the first draft in 2016. In the summer/fall of 2017, I re-wrote. And then re-wrote again. (And I’ll do it again, and then again if I have to.)
–In May of 2017, I was accepted into the Author Mentor Match program, where I was paired with a BRILLIANT mentor author. She’s the one who guided me through the re-writes, and the reason I have an agent now.
–The main thing I did differently with this book than with other novels I’ve queried: I TOOK MY DANG TIME. I made myself hold off on contacting agents until I knew the book was as good as I could get it. Younger me would have wanted to begin querying in 2016. But that version of the book is so lacking compared to what I have now. And I’m excited to see how much better my book can be with more revision. (It never ends, folks.)
So: a dose of reality!
Now that that’s out of the way: about The Call. “The Call” is something authors dream about–the moment an agent calls and says they love your work and they want to represent it. To make you an actual author.
I was on my couch dreaming about The Call–literally–the moment that it happened. I Imagined what it would be like for my phone to ring, an agent on the other end SO ENTHUSIASTIC about my work. I smiled to myself, thinking about how great that moment would be–just letting myself dwell in those feelings of validation and acceptance and someone totally *getting* my book. When I opened my eyes from my little daydream. . .
I had a missed call.
For some reason, my phone hadn’t rung. While I was in my little fantasy. . .MY AGENT’S MESSAGE HAD BEEN IN MY VOICEMAIL BOX THE WHOLE TIME!
Of course, I totally spazzed. Called my soon-to-be agent back to make sure I hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing. Nope, it was totally legit–she loved the book and wanted to offer me representation! I got out a couple totally professional sentences–“I’m shaking right now;” “I’m gonna die;” etc. When I got control of my trembling voice, I asked if we could arrange another call so I could have a chance to gather my wits.
By the time of our second call I’d managed to pull myself together enough to resemble a functioning adult. I’d Googled the heck out of “What to ask a potential agent” (and asked my mentor author), so I came prepared with a slew of questions such as:
1.) How editorial was she?
2.) If I wanted to write in a different genre in the future, would that be okay?
3.) Did she have a publisher in mind for my book?
4.) How does she best like to communicate with clients? What’s her typical turnaround time for emails?
5.) Could she put me in touch with some of her current clients?
That last one was big. Even though I wanted to “yes yes yes yes YES” right away, I forced myself to slow down and really do my homework. My agent gave me the contact info of three of her clients and I got busy calling.
Those calls reinforced the “yes” I was already feeling. That’s one thing I’ve been so grateful for throughout this process–the absence of red flags. I appreciated how thoughtfully my agent was able to answer all of my questions, and hearing her other clients tell me their experiences validated those positive inklings I’d been feeling. Signing was a no-brainer.
I realize I’m just at the beginning of the path to publication. But I’m finally here! I have an agent! That’s something I’ve been wanting to say since I started writing seriously in 2011.
Whatever your big ambition, here’s to keeping the fire burning in 2018. We got this.