I’ve eaten. I’ve slept. And somehow, I still have an agent.
Ever since yesterday, when Laurie McLean called to offer representation, I’ve been in a dream-like state. Sudden smiles bloom across my face, followed by mild (to not-so-mild) panic attacks. I have an agent. Oh, my freaking gosh, I have an agent. How did this even happen? Not the way you’d think, that’s for darn sure.
Here’s my story:
Early this year, I requested to interview Laurie for my blog. She graciously agreed. What I thought would be a great traffic-driving post, is what eventually sparked my interest in Laurie. Her answers were hysterical, and I knew I wanted to learn more about her. Then in April, I attended a YA conference and met Laurie in person. She was brilliant. She was helpful. She was being semi-stalked the entire time by yours truly. After attending her class on digital publishing, I worked up the nerve to approach her. I explained that I was the person who interviewed her on my blog, and she offered to the read the first page of my manuscript. The first page. No pressure or anything. When I got home, I drafted the best first page I could, and emailed it off. A few weeks later, she asked for a partial. Rejoice! Celebration! I emailed the partial and waited.
Fast forward a few months, and I get an email from an agent who had my full. She wanted to offer representation. More rejoicing. More celebrating. But I couldn’t help the nagging feeling that Laurie was my gal. So I sent Laurie, and the other agents who had my partial/full, an email to let them know I had an offer. Ms. Laurie McLean responded within a few hours.
“Yes,” she wrote. “Send me the full MS and synopsis and I’ll read it tonight.”
Tonight? TONIGHT! Insert insomnia.
Along with the full MS, Laurie allowed me to send her the first 100 pages of my newest book. The next day (yes, she’s that fast), she responded. She thought my first book was good, but not great. The newest book she thought was brilliant, but it wasn’t finished, so she wasn’t ready to offer representation. However, she said she’d read the full as soon as it was done (assuming I didn’t accept representation with the first agent), and that she felt sure it was sell-able. She asked what my thoughts were and I sat wondering….
What do I do?
Do I go with the guaranteed offer, or wait for my dream agent? I decided to ask Laurie that very question. I wanted a little more reassurance that she’d be ready for me if I just finished the second book. So I send her an email. I poured my heart out. I explained that I needed more in order to walk away from the first agent, and that we were on the same page about my first book. I explained how much I wanted to work with HER. Three hours later, she asked to see a full synopsis for the second book.
Oh, crap! I have to write a synopsis for a book I haven’t written. No worries, right? I grabbed the following: Doritos, Chocolate Chips, and Apple Sauce (guess which one didn’t get eaten). Then I headed upstairs and worked until 3:00 a.m. turning my outline into a synopsis. The next morning, I emailed that puppy off and slept like a Grizzly Bear until noon.
When I woke up there was an email from Laurie: Can we talk sometime today?
I immediately called my husband to analyze every possible thing she might say. He listened(?) for 45 minutes, then said, “Why don’t you just call her and see what she wants?”
I called. She wanted to offer representation. She explained that the second book was my voice, and that we’d need to table the first for now. I agreed. I hung up.
I had an agent.
What’s the moral of the story? Sometimes you have to work for an agent. Sometimes, just sending a query letter isn’t enough. If you know who your agent is, and you believe in your work, then don’t give up. Find a way to make them listen. Find a way to show them what you’re capable of.
I worked my arse off for Laurie McLean.
Now I just have to finish my book.