Run the World

Note: This week we’re talking about the long and arduous process of how we got our agents. I mean, maybe it’s not arduous for everyone, but damned if I didn’t learn a thing or two about patience along the way. 

I like statistics. When I was in the process of looking for representation, it felt like all the stories I heard were people who’d queried a handful of agents and found representation within roughly a minute and a half. That’s not how my story shook out. Mine is a story of persistence. Well, persistence and good timing and hard work and some really excellent gif usage.

According to Query Tracker, I sent 89 queries for The Diminished over 6 months. 22.1% of those queries garnered requests for either full or partial manuscripts, I did one R&R, and when the dust settled, I had been offered representation by two agents.

Now that the stats are out of the way, let’s get to the story. In April 2015 I’d just barely finished a draft of The Diminished. I told myself that I’d revised, but really, I’d just done a couple of passes at the beginning and was antsy for feedback. So I did the thing you’re not supposed to do. The stupid thing. I sent a test query to a new agent whose profiles and interviews were really appealing. About five minutes later he requested my book. Gulp.

Surprising to no one, he saw that the book wasn’t ready, and sent me a really kind rejection. About a month later, a Twitter pal instigated a livetweet of the ghastly cultural phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey. Obviously, I was on board. Much to my delight, so was the agent who’d first requested my book. We made a lot of dumb brilliant jokes and bonded over our mutual love of Beyoncé.

Not long after that, an agent asked me to do an exclusive R&R, and because I wasn’t sure of the terminology, I reached out to my sort-of pal, the agent who’d first requested my book for some advice. He spoke very highly of the agent who’d requested the R&R and encouraged me to do it. While the R&R didn’t turn into an offer, by the time I’d finished, I had a MUCH stronger book.

As I neared the end of my list of potential agents, I was torn. On the one hand, I still felt strongly that The Diminished was a good book and one that had potential in the current market.  On the other, I was running out of people to query, and either I had to start offering agents who’d shown interest the revision, or I had to trunk The Diminished and move on to the next project.

In late October 2015, I re-queried Brent Taylor with my revision and the following gif, which took me an embarrassingly long time to choose. Maybe even longer than it took to write my query.

He read the newly revised manuscript, and three weeks later, he emailed me to ask for THE CALL. Brent blew me away in that call. He not only had a clear and brilliant vision for my book, he wanted to help me build a real career and achieve my goals. A week later, I signed with him. In the nearly two years that we’ve worked together, I’ve been so consistently impressed with Brent’s editorial eye, his knowledge of the business, his generosity, his patience, and the way he answers all of my anxiety-riddled questions with humor and good cheer. I’m so grateful to have such a superstar of a partner in this business, and I’ll always be glad he decided to give my book and me a second chance.

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Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

Kaitlyn Sage Patterson grew up with her nose in a book outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After completing her M.F.A., she moved to South Korea, where she taught English and started writing her debut novel. THE DIMINISHED will be published by HarlequinTEEN in April 2018, followed by its sequel in 2019. When she's not staring off into space and trying to untangle some particularly troublesome plot point, she can be found in her kitchen, perfecting the most difficult recipe she can find; or at the barn, where she rides and trains dressage horses; or with her husband, spoiling their sweet rescue dogs.

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