So, if you haven’t read parts I and part II in this series, please click the links to start. At the end of this post there is a Halloween giveaway. Why? We are talking about terror, aren’t we? And what’s spookier than changing agents? Boo! CONTEST RULES: 1. YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO THIS BLOG 2. YOU MUST COMMENT BELOW WITH SOME INDICATION YOU HAVE ACTUALLY READ THE POST 3. YOU MUST BE FOLLOWING @Georgia_McBride and @ghostgirlbooks on twitter! Lots of rules, but we’ve got a HUGE goodie bag of ghostgirl stuff!
So, I don’t know what happens to our heroine, Betty. I am sitting here thinking about a happy ending that I can write for her, but I think she has to write her own happy ending. She’s a writer! As promised, however, let me briefly share my own agent story. Admittedly, it is not nearly as exiting. I queried exactly 124 agents beginning in November 2008. Anyone want to take a gander at how many requests I received? Well. I received twelve. The rest were REJECTIONS. I revised and re-queried in May 2009 (oh yeah, I revised the crap out of that manuscript) and received even MORE REJECTIONS and requests—I think twenty-four (requests). The rejections were very nicely written, and super kind. Like, “I’m truly sorry, but I just don’t like your book. I really hope you find an agent.”
You know what? I put the book UNDER THE BED. I refused to look at it. I came up with an idea for a middle grade and another YA but only wrote their titles and a line or two about them and focused on writing this dystopian paranormal MG and my paranormal sci-fi YA. Then after about 6 months, I queried again, with my same YA after revising for 2 more months and this time got about thirty requests. The good
part of that was I queried exactly thirty eight agents. AND, some of them were some I’d queried before. I know, you’re not supposed to do that. This is 2010 for those of you not keeping up. And then summer happened and I found myself with two manuscripts still out and nothing cooking.
So, I called up an agent colleague and asked if he would take a look at my book. He’d rejected it back in February but hey, this was end of August so what they heck?
Now, I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE DOING WHAT I DID. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID. SUPER DISCLAIMER. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO GET AN AGENT. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID. And I have to say, I would not have done it at all had I not been encouraged to do so by some wonderful writer friends. Fast forward to nine months later (that is, after I signed with said awesome agent) and things weren’t popping like I had expected. I didn’t have my awesome deal (a question I got TIRED OF ANSWERING) and I was kind of like trying to wrap my head around my lack of creativity and why I was feeling stagnant in my writing life.
So I had a loooong talk with awesome agent, and then another loooong talk with awesome agent about two weeks after that. It was during those conversations (not for lack of previous looooooong conversations over the course of our engagement) that I realized I needed to move on. Another friend of mine (one of the eight) talks about this and does a great job of it so click here to read her experience http://faeriality.blogspot.com/2011/09/im-back-but-not-same-and-bookanista.html.
I made the decision the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. It was a very hard decision to make. I LOVE my first super awesome agent. He is a great friend and I had high hopes for the awesomeness we were going to achieve together. To be honest, there was NO drama, no BIG story to tell, no on pulled anyone’s hair out, I didn’t go on sub and not get a deal, no one talked poorly about anyone. Nothing like that. It was simply time to explore my career options and find an agent who would push me, challenge me creatively and force me to be what I am capable of. I was lazy with my first agent. Complacent. Because we are friends, I accepted this of myself and he didn’t push me.
So, that Friday, I emailed him (yep, I took the coward’s way out) knowing that if we talked I would break down into the ugly cry, and that would be the end of me and my entire weekend would be ruined. He was very kind and that was that. I emailed five agents I admire greatly. I didn’t have the energy to do the whole two thousand agent query thing. Everyone got back to my right away, except ironically the agent I ended up with. I was such a wreck and filled with such dread that, against my better judgment, I sought council from editor colleagues I may soon be on submission to. But, I felt if they can’t tell me what to do, then no one can. I thought surely I was doomed. Again, DON’T DO WHAT I DID. DO NOT DO THIS. THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO FIND AN AGENT. YOU MAY WELL REGRET DOING THIS IF YOU ATTEMPT IT.
With great advice to ponder from some really wonderful editors and requests from all but 1 of the agents I emailed, I felt good about my chances. For me, it wasn’t about casting a wide net. It was about casting the right net into the right pond.
I was offered representation on Monday, a mere 2 days after sending my novel out. It was impossibly true. After speaking with the agent who was very, very nice and I still admire her quite a bit, I didn’t think we’d make a good team. I hope she doesn’t mind me saying this, but I don’t think she would have challenged me. I know myself. I need to be kicked in the pants, slapped on the wrist and at times, told NO!
Tamar Rydzinksi of The Laura Dail Literary Agency responded I believe on Tuesday with a super cute apology for not responding sooner. Asked for the book with a warning that she was probably not going to like it. WTF? My heart sank immediately. In preparation for not loving the YA she asked what else I had. I told her about the WIPs. Of course, she wanted to see the ONE that was just an idea. I hadn’t written a single line of it. So, in three weeks, I feverishly hammered out 50k words of OLIVIA GRIMLY’S PARANORMAL EXPERIMENT and sent it to her. Then I threw up. Yep. Came down with the flu or whatever. I was so sure she would hate it, I hid in bed for like a week. During that time, she wrote me to say, she enjoyed PRAEFATIO, like actually surprised herself. Hot dog! And, a few weeks later, she wrote to say she liked OGPE too!
I was in heaven. We talked on the phone like three times, and I knew she was exactly what I needed. She didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. I wish she had. But she didn’t and when I met her in person two weeks ago, I knew I had made a great decision for my career. And you know what else? The day I delivered the revision on OGPE, a new YA idea came to me, like that night. Guess what?. She loved that too. I am so darn excited I cannot tell you.
So to all of you who are having issues with your agents or thinking about leaving your agents. I say this. Sometimes doing the things you most fear can be the most freeing. Like, skydiving, or bungee jumping or telling your mother in law to, “go jump in the lake!” Ooops. Did I say that?
HOWEVER, no one ever jumps out of an airplane without first having taken lessons, secured the proper equipment, and taken care to get great insurance! Look before you leap, ask questions and make sure you are making the right decision. Agents are people too. And to my first super awesome agent, thank you for being my training wheels. I will forever appreciate and love you.
Thanks for reading and good luck. Feel free to leave your comments below and be entered to win a ghostgirl tote bag stuffed with a ghostgirl pillow case, stickers and hardcover copy of each book in the 3-bk ghostgirl series. CONTEST RULES: 1. YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO THIS BLOG 2. YOU MUST COMMENT BELOW WITH SOME INDICATION YOU HAVE ACTUALLY READ THE POST 3. YOU MUST BE FOLLOWING @Georgia_McBride and @ghostgirlbooks on twitter! Lots of rules, but we’ve got a HUGE goodie bag of ghostgirl stuff! Thanks to author, Tonya Hurley for the generous donation and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Contest ends Nov 1 at midnight! Random winners drawn from entrants!