I Have An Agent, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Querying

As announced yesterday, I have a literary agent. A real live literary agent. I can’t even explain how excited I am about this. But I can explain how it happened!

After deciding my book was edited to perfection, I started querying. As it turns out, writing a query letter is much harder than I had imagined. I can write a cover letter in a few minutes, but a query? Yeessh. I made a few mock ones, but hated them. I read all the books, went to all the websites, but still, it wasn’t happening. It didn’t feel like my book. Thankfully, I have a friend who’s a published romance author. She showed me her queries, and gave me the one piece of advice that truly stuck – write it in your writing voice. Make it sound like the book. Okay.

So after a few more takes, I was finally happy with my query. I liked it quite a bit, and thought it not only summed up my manuscript nicely, but read like something you’d find on the back of a book. So from there, I started researching agents that I liked, and that represented books similar to mine. I made a very large Excel spreadsheet with all of their information (Name, agency, query specifics…), and did a ton of research, finding out what each agent liked, what they looked for, and the best way to format the query to fit their interest. And then I started querying.

At first, since I was still new, I only sent out five letters. I expected a) rejections and b) long dry spells. The former came true first. Within about four days I received my first rejection. I was actually more excited about it than upset. Agents are actually reading my emails! MY EMAILS! The next day I received my second rejection. Every time I received one, I sent a new query out to another agent so I always had five out.

At this time, I entered the two Cupid contests, which were exciting and fun. I met a lot of other writers, and learned more about what agents were looking for. Both times I made it to the second round (Yay!) so I figured my query was at least decent. (In the second contest, I got a partial request, too!) I upped my queries to having 10 out. Exciting!

The night of Grammys was the first Big. Moment. During the red carpet I received my first full request. I’m pretty sure I cried with joy, and then ran around the apartment screaming. Incidentally, by the end of the Grammys I received my second full request. More screaming. A few days later I received a third full request while I was at the reference desk. I tried not to get too teary eyed because apparently college students don’t like it when you do that.

Last Thursday was when my friend was in labor. I checked my phone every five minutes to see if there was any news. After work, I went to Publix with S and our friend Shannon. While there, I picked up my phone again and noticed I had an email.

It was The Email.

Short, friendly, it was from one of my top agents (!!!), saying that she loved my writing, and my book.

And then I cried in Publix because, really, what else is there to do.

We scheduled The Call for the following day. I kept telling myself that it might be nothing, that she might just be asking for it to be revised. That was possible. Anything was possible.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, I met the nicest agent in the world, who had the nicest compliments about my manuscript. She offered suggestions on what to improve, and referenced Jordan Catalano, which made me want to be best friends with her. (Let’s be honest – if she referenced Daniel Desario, I probably would have proposed marriage.) She was perfect for both me and my book; I was so happy to put TNWSY in her hands. And then she offered to represent me. And then I ran around my office, flailing my arms in the air like Kermit the frog.

I couldn’t say yes right away, though. I emailed all of the agents who asked for either a partial or full manuscript earlier (including one who requested it only that morning. Sorry!) They all got back to me within a handful of hours, either saying they’ll pass or they’ll read it quickly and get back to me soon. So I waited. And waited. And then finally yesterday I got my final response.

So I called Michelle – my agent – and let her know that I’d love to work with her.  There were exclamation marks in both of our voices. And then I cheered. And cried (because apparently I do that a lot). And then I ran around like a Muppet again.

Because what else are you going to do when something like this happens?!

The funny thing is, I started out writing TNWSY simply because I wanted to tell a story. Sure I wanted to have a book published one day, but it wasn’t for that. I just wanted to write a story that was constantly in my mind. I wanted to finish it, and have it out there. And then it turned into something so much more.

I’m so thankful for Michelle, and for all of my friends (including you blog readers!) who’ve been with me throughout the process. I’m so happy it’s all coming together. Who knows what’ll happen next, but I’m ready to see.

Oh, and since I’ve never really mentioned it, here’s the title of my book: THE NIGHT WE SAID YES.

I’m saying yes to whatever happens next. Because I know, no matter what, it’ll be new and exciting and different. And I think my characters would be proud.

13 thoughts on “I Have An Agent, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Querying

  1. hannahkarena says:

    Congrats! That is all so exciting :] I hope it finds a home with a publishing house soon! PS: I would totally run around like a Muppet too.

  2. Colure says:

    AHHHHH ::flailing arms like kermit:: I’m so proud of you ❤ AND SO EXCITED!! I can't wait till I walk into the local Barnes & Noble and see TNWSY on the "New Releases" table 😀

  3. Rahul says:

    It would be totally awkward if you propsed marriage already being married. Wai a second, the literary world are polygamists?!!? I learn something new every day. Any way congrats! Please send me the first signed copy. Ok I’ll take the second one.

  4. bwtaylor75 says:

    You know our query experiences started out almost the same, weird huh! Your friend gave you the perfect advice about keeping your main character’s voice in the query, especially for your genre. It makes the most sense. I think writers get so lost in the whole query process that they forget their query is just a sample, not the main course. You want to draw an agent in so that they’ll WANT to read more.

    I’d be interested to see how having an agent changes your writing, if at all. Has it made you better, more confident, or are you still looking up at the stars? Maybe in a future post…….

    I’d also be interested in why you chose the first person point of view for your book (your sample from the cupid contest appeared in the first person). I’ve been noticing that a lot of YA books are popping up in that POV. I prefer the third person. Maybe in a future post……or maybe I missed it (I should go check).

    I can’t wait to see where your journey takes you next! I’m glad to be along and help support you. I didn’t know Muppets could run, they are puppets right? 🙂 I can see you running around like a lunatic with tears rolling down your cheeks and people moving away from you……let ’em stare you deserve it!

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