Sunday, February 7, 2016

My "How I Got My Agent" Post

So something good happened about a month ago. I signed with an agent! This is the happy story of when I entered the #Pitchmas Twitter Pitch Party and received an offer of representation before Christmas. 

It was definitely unexpected, my mind at that time being filled with Christmas, children home from school, being seven months pregnant, and searching for a new house. (My life is usually boring, but big things like to happen all at once.) I entered the #Pitchmas Twitter Pitch Party with my picture book text, The Remember Balloons, but I had only a few chances that day to tweet.

When I checked my email later that day, I saw my tweet had been favorited by Mike Hoogland. To my delight, upon researching Mike later, I discovered he was a successful agent at an excellent agency—Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

I sent along my picture book text the next day and put it aside in my mind. This is what six years of querying middle grade and picture book manuscripts has taught me to do. The following Monday, just a couple days later, Mike emailed me. He said he loved my text and do I have any illustrations? Well, I'm not an illustrator. I draw stick figures for my kids during church and they think they're brilliant, but that's about it. I told Mike I wasn't an author/illustrator but let him know I had other middle grade and picture book work.

The next day, Tuesday, I got the email. It was surreal actually getting an email requesting a call to discuss representation. I honestly thought it would take me another ten years to achieve this milestone. It was a busy day—a prearranged lunch with friends and a dentist appointment for my son, but we were able to arrange a time that evening to chat on the phone. My husband took the kids out to eat, and I awaited The Call.

It went well. I was nervous. I probably talked too much, which I'm good at. But I was impressed with Mike who was building his juvenile list and had other sales to boot. We also discussed my other work and works-in-progress, which he was interested in seeing as well.

With the Christmas and holidays ahead of us, the actual signing didn't take place until two weeks and one more phone call later. In the interim, I contacted the other agents with my work (there were only two and they politely declined). I also contacted a couple of Mike's clients who had only great things to say about him. Of course, through this all I reached out to my close writer friends and posted an ambiguous post on my private Facebook account which annoyed everyone.

We're finishing edits now on The Remember Balloons and will go on submission soon. So fingers crossed! All in all, I'd say receiving an offer of representation was an amazing Christmas present, second only to the haiku I made my husband write for me.