So That One Time I Got a Literary Agent . . .

By October 24, 2015Editing, Publishing, Writing

Okay, so I haven’t blogged for a while, as my four loyal readers know, so I hope you haven’t been staying up nights weeping about this fact. But I have a very good reason—I’ve been lying low, staring into the face of rejection, mired in the submission process, and trying to do exactly what I’ve always blogged about: get an agent.

Right after Labor Day, I started by sending out my query letter to my ideal agents, ones I admired, who had experience, and worked at lauded agencies. So what did I learn as the weather turned cooler and my determination grew even fiercer? I discovered that I was right! I’ve preached in the past about how long it can take for an agent to respond—weeks, more weeks, months . . . gulp, never. And guess what? It’s true! I had to call on all of my extra reserves of patience (honed after raising two small boys) as I waited, checking my emails over and over each day—I was totally not obsessive at all, and you shouldn’t believe that for one second.

Over the next few long weeks, I received two beautifully written rejection letters, one form letter “kiss-off,” three requests for the full manuscript, and crickets from the rest, save one. And that one ended up loving the manuscript. Even said it was “amazing.” At first, I thought I’d heard wrong. Perhaps he’d even read the wrong manuscript. Was he speaking about my novel? The one I’d been hiding from friends and family until someone in the industry showed interest? Yep. So with one phone call, I now have an agent. However, once I crawled off the ceiling and finished my celebratory dance, the reality of my situation became clear.

The hard part is just beginning. Did you know that once you write a book, the agent wants another book and outlines for more? And now we have to sell the book to an editor?! Great Scott, I’ve opened a whole can of worms. And I want to share this journey with you, from the beginning, so that you can see the process; whether it’s a successful journey or a stagnant one in the end, I will share it with you. The highs, the lows, the twists, the turns . . . the successes and the failures.

I also want to provide inspiration—you can get an agent, it can happen. Now, will I find a publishing house? Who knows? But I’m going to work my booty off to make sure that happens, and now I’ve got an agent who will be working his off too. So lessons learned? Research your agents and cast a wide net when submitting. Be very patient. Agents have tons of submissions to read, and that’s not even counting the work they’re doing on behalf of their own clients. And be kind to yourself—it’s never fun to get rejections; it’s easy to wallow, but don’t! This process is so subjective that you can’t take the criticisms personally—but you can use them to improve your craft and product.

Stay positive, be tenacious, and keep writing! If the first novel doesn’t hit, the next one might, or the next one. And don’t even get me started on the possibilities of self-publishing. The opportunity is there, so write the book, send it out, you’ve got nothing to lose. And join me next week for my blog, “I Changed My Mind, This Whole Process Sucks.”

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