I was e-chatting with Deb Sarah the other day, and we were saying we both believe things tend to happen for a reason. I can point to a million seemingly random twists of fate in my life (I landed a role as a Witch in Macbeth with a teeny tiny theater company), that led to earth-shattering changes (the stage manager of that show fixed me up on a blind date… with my now-husband-of-almost-thirteen-years).
Getting a book agent was like that for me.
I guess technically I don’t have a book agent. I have a terrific TV/film agent, but for books I have a super-fab packager/manager, and Populazzi never would have happened without her. I met her when she was an executive at Disney Channel. A friend and I pitched her a musical (this was after High School Musical — we were trying to ride the wave) and she loved it… then she and the company parted ways a week later.
By all rights that should have been the end of the story, but as I’m finding more and more — much to my delight — it’s never the end of the story. The exec… or ex-exec, I suppose… became an independent producer, and she and I worked on other projects together. While we didn’t sell any of them, we developed a fantastic rapport, and I was constantly amazed by her ability to slice through to the heart of a story, and bring out the best in my writing.
Then one day I received a call from her. “Hi, Elise! I don’t suppose you have any book ideas, do you?” She had gone back to her roots in publishing, had already successfully sold two books (and their TV/film rights), and was looking for more properties.
Oddly enough, I did have an unfinished manuscript on my computer. I sent it to her, she loved it, gave me remarkably insightful notes… and suddenly I had both an agent (okay, packager/manager) and the beginnings of what would become Populazzi.
I know this isn’t the normal way these things happen, but the takeaway for me is the importance of being open to the unexpected, and grabbing opportunities when they arise.
I’d love to hear from you — what chance encounters or seemingly insignificant events in your life led to something unexpectedly career- or life-changing? I look forward to hearing about them!