You may have heard the news…I recently signed with an agent! I am beyond pleased to have partnered with agent Sean McCarthy. There couldn’t have been a better way for me to wrap up the first year of Sub It Club! (We have a celebration coming up on the 22nd!)
Dana Carey encouraged me to share here on the Club blog about how I got my agent. But when I think about it, it really seems quite simple although as with most things that have to do with writing, the process was a long one.
You see, I decided I wanted an agent a long time ago. One that would represent my career as a whole. A person that had the knowledge and connections that I don’t. So I paid attention. I followed agents on twitter. I read their interviews and blogs. I’d hear about their clients and books. I didn’t do all of this at once. It’s something that I fit into my writing day. I’d catch a tweet here, read a snippet on a blog there. Over time my idea of what agents I might click with grew.
Now, as a picture book writer I have a lot of manuscripts. I didn’t send out every one of them. I got them critiqued (over and over!), revised them, and saved them like a story hoarder. I did write pitches and query letters for each one. It really helps me make my hook clear in my mind and sometimes leads to more revision! When I finally did write a story I was certain had a great hook, I knew it was time to query agents. Being an agent is a tough job and I wanted to be sure I had my strongest manuscript possible when asking for representation.
I had a list of possible agents in my mind and my notebook. I chose what I thought were my possible top matches (possible, because how can you really know until you get to talk to someone whether or not they may be someone you can work with?), personalized my query letter for each (which wasn’t so bad since I’d been paying attention), followed submission guidelines, and sent them off in as much as a batch as I could but still sending one by one as I had the time.
I think it’s nice to note that I didn’t pay for anything. No special memberships, no seminar that got me a submission because I attended, no conference. Sure, those things can be fun and helpful but you can certainly find an agent without those things. So, if you can’t find the time or money don’t despair! Commitment to your craft and persistence can get you far.
Okay, I’m sure you want the details. When Sean told me he liked my title, I was happy. When he requested more work I was excited. When he told me he’d like to be my agent I was thrilled! This didn’t happen in an hour or a day, or even a week, but slowly over time. We emailed. We talked on the phone. And no, even though I wanted to and was certain that Sean was the right agent for me, I didn’t say yes right away. I had other submissions out and knew I had to do the right thing, which was notify the other agents I had asked to consider my work. Of course Sean understood because he knows the business.
I sent out emails to the agents who had my submissions giving the date I was going to make my decision. I gave about a week and a half and offered more time if necessary because it was right in the middle of the holiday season. But it didn’t take long for the other agents to get back to me, all of them very kind. I will definitely admit, I was relieved when I was able to finally email Sean with my decision, but if felt good to know that I didn’t do things hastily. I think we can easily get caught up in the excitement of someone liking our work. That is certainly what we hope for and it feels great! But I tried to keep a cool head and remember that this was a business decision. And since I took my time and did things right I know for sure I’ve made a great decision that will benefit me and my work for years to come. I have the sincerest of hopes that it will benefit Sean as well.