Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Post Years in the Making: How I Got My Agent!

Since I shared the news on Twitter and Facebook last month it isn't exactly breaking news that I signed with Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio, but because I like reading about how other writers got their agents, I thought I'd share my story.

A little background information...
  • I started writing in September of 2008.
  • I wrote 5 books before starting the one that got me an agent.
  • This is my second middle grade project, all the others were YA.
  • I received well over 200 rejections when I queried 3 of those 5 books after sending out an even higher number of queries.
  • I only sent a total of 6 queries for this project.
  • I did a revise and resubmit with Rosemary before she offered representation.
I'm living proof of the saying One yes is all it takes.  And I'm not sure that YES would've come if I hadn't finally pushed my fears aside and written the story that had been nagging at me for months. I love fantasy, always have. My first few projects had elements of fantasy but were more on the realistic side, so when this idea of a shooting star and a dragon kept nudging its way in past the others, I shrugged it off. Too ambitious. Too scary. Too risky for me as a writer. The more I ignored it the more the idea grew. I saw actual shooting stars, images of dragons on Pinterest, dreamt about a girl catching stars. So, though I was deep into an R&R (invitation to revise and resubmit) on a different book for a different agent, I decided to start this new story.

A few months later THE STAR CATCHER AND THE DRAGON THIEF was complete. This idea that had terrified me, the one I thought I had no business writing or could write, poured out of me easier than any of the others, and is my most favorite story I've written or thought of. And lucky for me my dream agent happened to agree. (even after seeing my head shot on the client page I'm still pinching myself to prove this is real)

I have much to learn about writing and publishing, about myself and about life, but what I have learned from querying is: If you bust your butt and write and write and write and revise and revise and you surround yourself with talented and driven people who believe in your ability and dreams and who will be brutally honest about your work, then you'll get there. Ask them for help. Return the favor. Research agents. Make Query Tracker and Literary Rambles your best friends. And Don't. Give. Up.

I am thrilled and honored to take this journey with Rosemary and while it took a bazillion hours of writing, revising, more revising, waiting, and revising again before I queried her, I never would've made it to this point without the support and love of my amazing family and friends. They believed in me every step of the way and I can't thank them enough for all the babysitting, pep talks, reading/critiques, and encouragement. I love you all!

I'll wrap things up with a few photos of  some of those people and the surprise breakfast celebration my sister put together for me the morning after I got the big news. I'm blessed beyond words! (as you will see, I am currently obsessed with adding text and art to photos with the Beautiful Mess and Over apps. And I'm not sorry.)

Me pouring the champagne for the toast

Flowers from my family to celebrate a dream come true

An artist and a writer OR my friends Nova and Nisha at the surprise celebration breakfast

Some of my incredible friends and family who made it to the celebration

Fun at the breakfast
Official business. Me signing my Stimola Studio agreement in May 2013

The gorgeous orchid from my first "hang out in person" writing buddy, Nisha

Martha wasn't at the breakfast (she lives on the other side of the country) but I had to include a photo of this handmade bracelet (complete with a dragon, a book and a star charm) she sent. It's one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received. Thank you so much, Martha!

Coming soon: Why Rosemary is and was my dream agent!

*Thank you to Ben and Rachel for giving me the final push to get this posted!