Fantastic news, friends: I have an agent! I am so utterly pleased to share that I’m now represented by Laura Crockett and Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency.
Let me back up to share the full story.
In college, while passionately Googling (if Google even existed then…I don’t remember) my favorite YA authors, I gradually discovered the publishing world behind the covers of my beloved books. I learned about the difference between an editor and a literary agent, and just……..how…..long……it can take to go from polished draft to published book. At the end of freshman year I got a job working for The Yale Review, a quarterly literary journal, and spent afternoons for the rest of my college career sifting through submissions and sending out rejection letters. But I was hooked, and after graduation I decided to get a full-time job in publishing.
That job turned out to be working as an assistant at a children’s literary agency in Manhattan. For one year I…also sifted through submissions and sent out rejection letters. But I also read contracts until my eyes crossed, edited client manuscripts, and discovered how helpful agents can be in the world of publishing. The agents I worked for were their clients’ best advocates, and they helped edit their authors’ work before pitching it to a select group of editors. They passionately argued for these projects. Even though I ultimately decided to leave New York to get my MAT in teaching, I learned so much about publishing and agenting that you can only discover from the inside.
Most of all, I learned that whenever I decided to try to get my writing published, I would need an agent.
Cut to four years later. Thanks to over a year of research, the endless patience of my wonderful critique group, and loads of rewrites, I finally had a manuscript polished to the best of my ability. You can read more about my YA historical here. My crit group pronounced it ready to send out, just to see what would happen. I then obsessively Googled agents, created a massive spreadsheet, perfected my query letter, and lurked about on Twitter following agents I was particularly interested in.
This lurking eventually paid off.
I sent off my first batch of query letters the week before we got married. (It felt like a good deadline.) Many didn’t respond; some sent back those form rejections I knew so well.
I sent off another batch. And another. And another.
Seven months later, I was lurking about on Twitter (I’d gotten so good at it) when one agent I was especially interested in tweeted that she was looking for projects similar to a YA historical about artists that came out last summer. I had one! I immediately sent off a query and prepared to wait.
In just a few days, she asked for 50 pages. Then, two days later, the full.
I shrieked a lot and sent it off. A few other agents had also requested partials or fulls, so this was looking pretty good.
Then, the week I was getting ready to leave for my writing retreat, I got a call. THE call. I listened to that fabulous message while a 7th grade French class conjugated verbs in my classroom. Laura wanted to represent me, and when I called her back that afternoon we had a wonderful conversation. She got Maud. She understood what I was trying to do with Maud’s story.
I had two weeks to wrap things up with other agents, and thus proceeded one of the most agonizing periods of my life. Turns out that sending out an email with the subject line “Offer of Representation” gets a lot of people moving! In the end, things wrapped up exactly the way they were meant to, and I signed with Laura, who showed such love for my little story.
And as I discovered all those years ago at my first real job, that kind of excitement is what you want from an agent.