I have found the one! THE agent! After years of writing, revising, putting aside a manuscript, and writing a new one, I’ve finally signed with an agent--and not just any agent--one who has incredible insight into my novel and the industry and one who loves my work. Could a girl ask for more?
I started querying my second novel the first week of May. This was after I spent months writing and then even more months revising. I believe I have close to 16 drafts of this novel and I can say with confidence it is now polished and paced to a point. I have several people who helped me along the way--early readers like my sister, my cousins, and my husband :) They each added their take on the manuscript, helping me shape what it currently is. I also was lucky enough to run into some great critique partners through Miss Snark’s blog and they have been wonderful as well.
The first batch of queries started off pretty well--I got a couple partial requests and even a full request fairly quickly. Many came back with the same response, “I enjoyed reading this, but it isn’t for me,” or “I love the concept and the writing is great, but I’ll have to pass.” You can imagine my dismay upon getting these types of rejections. I was happy that they liked my idea and my writing, but what wasn’t working for them? I didn’t get an answer until an agent who had read the full responded--in detail--with what he loved about the book. It was wonderful to hear this agent say I had talent, but he concluded that he had no idea how to market my novel. It has religious undertones that he wasn’t sure what to do with. So, after reading this rejection letter, I knew I’d have to find the perfect agent and at the perfect time. I’d need someone who could see a way for my little book to fit in the market and would be a champion for it.
I queried the Marisa Corvisiero Literary Agency on June 7th. I queried Marisa since her bio stated she was seeking YA paranormal romance. On June 30th I received an email from Brittany Howard--a literary agent apprentice--who said that Marisa had forwarded my query to her, thinking it was something she’d be interested in. In fact she was and requested the first 50 pages.
I immediately sent the partial, thrilled that Marisa had taken the time to forward my query to Brittany. On August 2nd I received an email from Brittany saying that she was almost done with the partial and was enjoying it immensely. She requested the full and signed the email with a funny reference to a scene in my novel. After cracking up at the joke (and squealing a little bit) I sent the full thinking it’d be the standard 4-6 weeks before I’d hear anything.
The next day I got another email from Brittany--she’d read the full in one sitting! This had my pulse beating faster already, but when she said she’d absolutely LOVED my manuscript it sky-rocketed! She said she had sent an email to Marisa to discuss representation and that she would get back to me. She even sent me some developmental notes to mull over while I waited. After reading them, I knew that Brittany had a firm grasp of my concept and everything she said would make the novel better.
August 8th she emailed me to set up a time to call and talk about representation. This was the email I’d waited for for years! The Call! We spoke that evening--before the phone rang I was so nervous and excited--but after a few minutes into the call it was like I was talking to an old friend! Brittany set me at ease and had so many wonderful things to say about the book and what her plans were for the future!
After hanging up the phone I had no doubts--Brittany was the one. She just got my book (and me!) which is a huge bonus. She loved my characters, understood my goal, and had great insight to improve certain aspects. I had to wait a week to tell Brittany I’d sign with her since I had a few partials/fulls out with other agents. After I received many encouraging responses from them, I ended up not being able to contain myself for an entire week, and emailed Brittany early to let her know I’d love for her to represent my novel and myself as an author.
It took years to find her, but the search was worth it. Take rejection with an open mind--be willing to learn from constructive criticism and adapt--but also be willing to persevere. Timing is everything in this business and if you believe in your novel, don’t give up! The right agent for you is out there! The experience has been a joy and Brittany has kept me in the loop every step of the way. I couldn’t be happier and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!