* * * * *
After Deb Joanne’s great post about getting the call for her book deal, I thought I’d mix things up a bit and talk about getting the agent call…
It’s no surprise that the Deb theme a few weeks ago was Anticipation. For those of who us write and seek publication, patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a must. (And let’s be honest; one rarely feels very “virtuous” refreshing our email’s inbox twenty seconds after we’ve just sent out a round of queries.)
We’ve all heard the stories of how a simple connection can make all the difference in publishing—but that doesn’t have to mean the “my-aunt’s-sister’s-trainer’s-accountant-does-Stephen-King’s-taxes” connection. Connections can be built up over years and years of querying. The story of how I met my agent is a perfect example of that.
Almost five years ago, I queried a manuscript with a large agency and received word from one of the agent’s assistant that the agent was interested in seeing more and to send a partial. Ultimately, the agent passed on the work but what followed over the next few years was a lovely series of communications with the assistant as I submitted several new projects for her and the agent’s review.
When I sent her Little Gale Gumbo at the beginning of 2009, the assistant sent me a very complimentary email that she and the agent thought the story had great promise but that as much as they would like to represent it, their list was full. However, there was another agent in the office who was looking to take on more women’s fiction writers. Her name was Rebecca Gradinger. The assistant had forwarded my manuscript to Rebecca and Rebecca had shown interest.
Within a few hours, Rebecca and I were exchanging emails. We agreed that we would work on edits to see how well we worked together before an offer of representation was made. Of course, as soon as we talked on the phone, I knew we clicked. A month—and a new draft—later, Rebecca offered me representation over email so while there was copious amounts of (offline) hooting and hollering, I had the benefit of composing myself (and my response) over a few minutes so I don’t have a really juicy story like Deb Joanne.
The bottom line is it takes time, there’s no question (Twenty years, friends. Twenty. Years.)—but that’s why it’s so important to keep track of those agents who ask to see partials or fulls, or offer to see your next project. You never know where that one connection might lead.
* * * * *
Anyone else have any The Agent Call stories to share? Juicy or otherwise?