Everything they say about finding the right agent for your work is true, so
The thing about coming out of the query trenches, is you quickly realize, if you've made the right match, that everything your writing peers tell you is true. While you're sending off your query, balancing your heart between hopeful and blind optimism, you think people are just offering platitudes. You've heard them: 'it only takes one', 'you're better off with no agent than the wrong agent', 'it'll happen'. Every request for a partial or full sets you up to believe all of the good and every rejection knocks your feet out from under you.
Those authors who have not found their agent soul mate might find it hard to believe that someone who is agented "gets it". But they do. They really, really do. Because they're at a different stage but it's very much a similar journey. Going on submission is much like querying, only you have someone at your side through the process. I'm not going to lie, that part is nicer. It's nice to have that fallback of, okay, I got a rejection but this person believed enough in me to sign me. It takes some of the sting out. Every writer who has achieved success (and that measure is different for everyone) has been where you are right now-- wherever that is.
But what everyone tells you is true: it does only take one, it is better to find the right one, and it WILL happen.
I've gone about learning this the long way. My querying journey has been a bit...unique. I have experienced having an agent I was not properly matched with and the disappointment of parting ways-- even when I knew it was the right move. This journey isn't an easy one: it can be hell on your self-esteem. That's why the people you surround yourself with (IRL and online) matter so much. You need people that will build you up, help you up when you fall, and keep pushing you. You need to do the same for them because whether they're unagented, agented, self publishing or on submission to big publishing houses, they will have their moments of teetering on the edge too.
We're all on that ledge, repeatedly, wondering whether to keep going or give up. But only one of those options can possibly lead to success and I can't tell you how happy I am that I kept going, kept writing, kept pushing down the feeling that I might not be good enough. Because what makes you good enough is your willingness to keep going.
Want some stats as proof? For the book that finally got me an agent (one I'd wanted for quite some time-- which could be another post in itself, titled: establish and maintain connections and relationships because they matter-- okay, maybe that title is too long) I actually tracked the process this time:
47 queries sent = free
4 partial requests = optimism
8 full requests = nail biting
34 Nos or no responses = grumpiness
1 agent (the RIGHT one) = PRICELESS
When it finally happens? You'll be like: Yup,
Yes, this is that post. The one where I tell you I have an agent
I am beyond excited to announce that I am now represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel. I have been sending her my stories since the summer of 2012 and this summer, I sent her one that was just right.
Sometimes, things happen and you feel like despite all the waiting and worrying, it happened just when it should have. This is how I felt on Tuesday when Fran called me to tell me she was going to represent me. I had planned to 'play it cool' and tell her I'd get back to her after I spoke to the other agents who had my work.
But anyone who knows me, knows I couldn't possibly wait. Waiting is not my thing...ironic, considering so much of publishing relies on just that. Of course, there'll still be plenty of waiting, but it seems less daunting with Fran having my back.
That's not all
You'd think that was enough right? It is and it was but there's more. While telling Fran how happy I am, I also mentioned that I absolutely love the work of an illustrator she represents. He does the covers for one of my favourite middle grade series, The Goddess Girls. His work is fun and brilliant. It turns out that Glen Hanson was looking for someone to co-author a series with him. After talking to each other on the phone and sharing some ideas, I am thrilled to say he wants to work with ME. I'll have more details on that as time goes by but what's in store is pretty awesome. So much good. I feel so incredibly grateful.