Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ready or Not, It's My Agent Story!

Today I'm taking a break from book reviews and science activities to post something personal, something that I've been hoping to post for a long, long time.

I have a literary agent!!! And not just any agent, but the agent who has been at the top of my list ever since I had a list!

If I put that in an appropriate font size to express how excited I am, it would not fit on your screen. I am beyond thrilled!

Here's the quick(ish) version of the story: I wrote a book. I set it aside for a year and had a baby. I got invited to join a critique group, and knew from that point on that writing was something I loved, something that I didn't want to set aside or treat casually. It was too important to me, too much a part of who I was and who I wanted to be.

So I started querying. This book was NOT ready to query by any means! But I was a rookie and a couple of people in my family had read my book and liked it, so why not? [Insert many, many reasons why this is a terrible idea.] And on 11/11/11--yes, that long ago--I queried my dream agent.

And then I waited. I had various requests and rejections, and about a month later, Dream Agent emailed me to request the full manuscript. I was thrilled! But I knew that I had a long wait ahead of me, since Dream Agent was devoted to her existing clients. And it was a good thing, because I finally realized that THIS BOOK WAS NOT READY TO QUERY BY ANY MEANS! At this point, I emailed Dream Agent and asked whether she would mind waiting to read now that I knew some changes I need to make. It kills me that I asked this, and it kills me in a whole different way that she was kind enough to say that she'd be happy to wait until I was ready.

In the meantime, I revised like crazy, over and over again. I entered contests and sent queries and slowly, my book evolved. It got so much better. Eventually, I sent it to Dream Agent again, and she read it and regretfully passed and offered to read it again if I was willing to revise it. I was totally thrilled that she was willing to take another look! But I had learned my lesson (finally!) and decided not to send it to her again until it was really, really, really ready.

And then, a few months and two revisions later, I got another offer of representation from a smart, talented, awesome agent. And at that point, I thought, "Ready or not, I've got to send it to Dream Agent." So I did.

Three days later, I was teaching my smart little second grade math group when I received an email. Once the kids were happily working on their graphs, I opened it up. And it was from Dream Agent. And she used phrases like "hit it out of the park" and "phenomenal"! And those sweet little second graders were so focused on their ordered pairs that they didn't even notice my happy dance, which is absolutely for the best.

I talked to Dream Agent the next day and almost said yes right there on the phone, but thanks to this post by Krista Van Dolzer, I felt like I should contact some of Dream Agent's existing clients first. I'm glad I did, because Mike, Anna, and Jen are amazing and made me even more sure of my decision. After letting things settle over the holiday weekend, I felt a strange combination of elation and peace as I emailed the other offering agents, the agents still considering the full manuscript, and most importantly, the Dream Agent, who is none other than...

Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency!

I can't even tell you how happy I am to be working with Joan and to be the newest member of the EMLA family! And I absolutely have to thank all of the people who made this dream come true for me. My incredible critique partners, Rosalyn, Tasha, Helen, and Joy; my beyond-awesome beta readers, Kate, Dee, and Jeni; amazing green-penned editor and friend Taryn; contest judges Ruth, Cupid, Miss Snark, Dee (again), and Erica, who took a chance on me and Isaac; Matthew MacNish for cleaning up my query, my fabulous sister Ally, who referred me to Joan in the first place; and most of all my family, especially my husband and my parents, who have supported me and believed in me every step of the way.

For those that like to see stats:

Queries sent: 48
Rejected queries: 24
Full/partial requests from queries: 19
Full/partial requests from contests: 15
Offers of representation: 4

27 comments:

  1. ALL THE SQUEEEEEES!!!!!

    I am so happy for you, hon!!! ALL THE CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS, ELAINE!!!! What a great story! So happy for you!!

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  3. Oh wow!!!! Congratulations!!!! You earned it. :)

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  4. Elaine!!!! You are so amazing and deserving and I am honored to have even been a tiny part of this. I am so excited and proud of you. You did hit this one out of the park. :)
    Love you!!!

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  5. Congratulations! I hope you're doing more than one happy dance :)

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  6. I am so excited for you!!! Congratulations, Elaine!!! :)

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  7. I'm thrilled to see this. Really thrilled. So pleased for you. And thank you so much for the mention! It was always only a matter of time before Isaac got the attention he deserves : )

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  8. Elaine, this is so awesome! You've worked so hard for this--it's been awesome to see it from the trenches. And hooray for Isaac! (And Connor and Eddie, and all the other great characters waiting to come out).

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  9. Congratulations Elaine! I just never tire of reading these things. :D

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  10. YAY! This is fantastic news! Best of luck to you and Joan for a quick sale. :-)

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  11. Yay!! I couldn't be happier to hear this!

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  12. I have goosebumps and totally want to cry but am keeping it together as I'm in my classroom. So so so so happy for you! We must dessert!!!

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  13. Congratulations! Everything I've heard about her is amazing! I am so happy for you!!

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  14. Congrats Elaine, that is fantastic news! Can't wait to read your book :)

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  15. So, so fantastic! Congratulations!!! I can't wait to read it!

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  16. So awesome! I can't think of a more deserving person. Nice job and congratulations!

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  17. congrats! What a great story:-D

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  18. YAY! This is bloody brilliant! I'm so happy for you. But, like I said before, it's not at all surprising. It was only a matter of time before you had multiple agents wanting to snatch you up. :)

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  19. Congrats! I've heard it was good.

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  20. What a great story. I really enjoyed reading it!

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  21. Congrats, Elaine! See? Only a matter of time

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  22. Thank you so much for all the kind comments! What a fabulous day. It never ceases to amaze me how supportive the writing community is. Love you guys! <3

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  23. I'm so excited for you. I still would have liked to have been agent sisters with you, but at least I can still call you the greatest CP in the world!!!! I'm so excited to see what the future holds for Isaac :)

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  24. Congrats!! It's always uplifting to hear stories like this. :)

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  25. Congratulations Elaine!!! I'm so excited and happy for you.

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  26. Great, great story. Congratulations to you for signing with your dream agent, and may the submission process be swift and successful!

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