Sunday, April 25, 2010

In which my manuscript becomes the Bachelorette

I have been submitting my paranormal YA for a few months now. There have been many hopeful meetings with producers (queries) that led to a few callbacks (requests for partials) and even a few dates with the Bachelor (agents who read the full). There was even one meet the parents that was so close, but alas, the Bachelor did not choose me.

And then something strange happened. All of a sudden I had not one, but two agents requesting revisions and offering to look again. Then an offer from one. Then an offer from a third agent. Everything seemed crazy and possible, and for a week I could barely think straight. My manuscript, like Tristan, got to be the Bachelorette.

So yes, you really can find a match on a reality TV show, I mean, through the querying process. I am pleased to announce that I am now represented by the wonderful Sarah Davies at the Greenhouse Literary Agency!

For those who are querying take heart. I did not know Sarah. I didn't know anyone who knew Sarah. I did not attend a conference where Sarah was speaking. Nope. I did things the old fashioned way. I sent a blind query + 5 pages, following the submission guidelines on her website.

Before querying, I did read her blog and several interviews with her available online. I spent some time on writer forums to get a feel for the buzz about her, and I felt confident that she would be a good fit for my work. I continued to do research even after sending my query, only to see a comment from another writer that Sarah had recently said she was seeing way too many werewolf/shapeshifter books. My heart sank. Yes, I had sent her a werewolf/shapeshifter book. So I wrote that query off.

Then, I got an email in my box from Sarah's co-agent in the UK, Julia Churchill. Julia said she was reading Sarah's mail while Sarah was at a conference, and that she liked the pages. So I sent them out, thinking I was lucky that someone else was reading the mail, but that Sarah would probably reject me pretty quickly.

Not so. Turns out, Sarah had read my query originally, but was on the fence about it because of the subject matter. She liked the sample pages enough to send it to Julia for a second opinion. So I was lucky that Julia liked the pages too.

Sarah went out on a limb to offer representation, even though we agreed that the manuscript would have to undergo a pretty significant revision before it could be submitted to publishers. Sarah's experience as an editor (she has worked with Phillip Pullman and Meg Cabot!) gave me complete confidence in her judgment. I agreed with her comments, and feel like the revisions are going to take this book to a level far beyond my original vision.

Finding an agent who believes in you is a major milestone for any writer. Finding someone who believes in you AND is willing to put the time in to make your work sing. That's priceless.

So, I am of course thrilled, excited and bouncing off the walls.

But enough gushing.

I have work to do. My poor characters have no idea what's coming...