I have an agent!!
I am so excited to be able to share this news with all of you. I have been working hard toward this goal, and I can’t believe it has actually happened. I’m so happy to be signing with the amazing Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group. She’s enthusiastic, passionate, and full of ideas about where my book can go, and I can’t wait to see what we can make happen together.
(By the way, if you follow me for the book reviews, don’t fret—you’ll get thoughts on my latest read on Tuesday. :))
So how did this whole thing happen? I finished up revisions on my second book, The Creation of Hallelujah Calhoun, in early March. The book was in its third draft. It had been read and critiqued by several amazing beta readers. After all that work, it felt ready. Not that I wasn’t nervous to start sending it out; I’d done the querying thing once before, with a book that got lots of initial positive feedback and, ultimately, lots of encouraging rejections. Looking back on various agents’ comments on that book now, I completely agree with the issues they noted, but that doesn’t mean it was easy to hear! So with Hallelujah, I was excited and anxious, all at once.
I decided to enter my pitch (that’s a 200-word teaser of the book, for those of you not in the biz ;)) into a pitch contest sponsored by the incredible folks at WriteOnCon. I tinkered and tinkered and tinkered with those 200 words, with feedback from the amazingly helpful people in the WriteOnCon forums, until I was sure that it, too, was ready. And then I pressed “submit,” and my pitch was out there in the world.
Fast-forward a week or so, and I was shocked and thrilled to be chosen as the winning pitch in my “bracket,” judged by—you guessed it—Alyssa Eisner Henkin. My prize? A full manuscript read. I sent Hallelujah off to Alyssa, fingers crossed, and tried not to think too much about the whole thing. I queried a few other agents. I got lots of freelance work done. I danced and took some yoga classes.
And then, just over a week later, Alyssa emailed me. Long story short, she ADORED the book (her capital letters, not mine) and wanted to know if I was interested in discussing representation. Was I interested?! I hyperventilated a bit, and then wrote a very enthusiastic-albeit-professional email back. We scheduled a phone call. I hyperventilated some more. I called my husband and my parents and my sister. I Googled “questions to ask a literary agent before signing.” And then Alyssa and I spoke for almost an hour, and it was awesome.
Fast-forward another week, after I’d heard from the one other agent who had my full manuscript. I’d talked out my decision ad nauseam with anyone who would listen (sorry, friends and family) and I was ready to say yes to Alyssa. I called her and accepted her offer of representation, and she seemed genuinely thrilled, and I hyperventilated all over again.
I feel incredibly lucky that my manuscript landed—through apparent luck of the draw (thanks, WriteOnCon!!)—in the hands of someone who would get it and want to go to bat for it. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this process. And I feel confident that I have found an advocate and a champion for my book. Getting an agent is only one of many steps along the path toward a book deal, but it’s a big step. So I’m celebrating.
Whew! Long post.
Thanks to everyone, writers and non-writers alike, who encouraged me and kept pushing me forward. I couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to what’s next! Meanwhile, imagine me looking like this: