Friday, August 13, 2010

My Path to Getting an Agent Pt. 6

Okay, let's see if I can do this!

During the month of November and December, I get quite a few requests for fulls and partials of IMPACT. (Both were in the double digits) I am feeling very hopeful this time, but am nervous to get my hopes up after so many rejections in the past. Ultimately, I get rejected by ALL of them. The majority of the responses were so full of praise, that again they read like acceptance emails, until you got to the part where that word "enough" showed up again. Didn't love it enough. Didn't feel passionate enough. At this point I really, REALLY hate the word enough. I'm considering never using it out loud or in a book again. Ever. Okay, just kidding, but you get my point.

So, what do I do? I write another book. I loved the idea I'd used for my "adult book," but didn't want to try adult fiction again, so I thought about how I could turn it into something YA. At first it was going to be more of a quiet, emotionally driven book. But then this whole other side to the plot begins to build, characters and histories and future events begin crowding into my mind and I think it sounds like a lot more fun to write. Hence, SIGHT UNSEEN is born. I write it in about 3 weeks or so (it was over Christmas break, so I had a lot of writing time), and then spend about a month revising and polishing it. I start querying it in mid--late February.

I get a lot of interest again, with many requests for fulls and partials. When, suddenly, out of the blue, I get an email from an agent about IMPACT. She'd just read my query that I sent a few months ago and wondered if it was still available to read? If so, she'd like to read the full. I am totally surprised, but think, "sure, why not? I'll send it to her," and figure I'll get the rejection sometime in the next month or two. Then I didn't think too much about it again, as I am concentrating on SIGHT UNSEEN at this point.

Imagine my surprise when I get an email just two weeks later, telling me she'd read the whole thing over the weekend and wanted to set up a time later that week to talk on the phone. I seriously just sit there staring at my email (I checked it on my iTouch) trying to figure out if this was real. Instead of screaming or crying or anything like I thought I would do, after all the years of heartache and faith and hard work and dedication, I just feel... almost numb with shock. An agent had read the whole book and wanted to talk to me. On the phone. My next thought is, "I should call Trav and tell him that I think an agent might be offering to represent me." It is so surreal. Once I tell him, and he starts whooping and yelling, I finally snap out of my shock and start jumping up and down and freaking out. Then I have to wait for four days to talk to her. I begin to doubt myself, and wonder, "What if she just wants to tell me why she isn't offering? Or wants to revise it first before she offers?"

By the morning of the call, I am so nervous, I am sick to my stomach as I sit on my bed, holding the phone, a pen and a notebook on my lap (with a printed paper of the questions I wanted to ask next to me). Thank heavens she is so incredibly nice, and asks me really lovely questions like, "Have you lived in Utah your whole life?" and "Do you work or just stay home with your kids?" I know the answers to these questions pretty well, so I don't mess up. Phwew!! (Seriously, it made a big difference, and helped put me at ease before we started talking about my book.) Then, when she does start talking about my book, it is AMAZING. Her exuberance, her passion for my writing and my story, she actually GETS IT! We end up talking for almost an hour. When she asks if I have any other books I am working on, and I tell her how many I have finished, she is actually thrilled.

I can't accept her offer on the spot, because I have so many fulls out still. I immediately write the other agents, letting them know I've received an offer, and get quite a few emails back very quickly, telling me they will hurry and read SIGHT UNSEEN and let me know if they'd also like to offer. This sounds like a dream situation, but honestly, it is a very stressful week. Finally, the next Friday, I ultimately decide that Hannah's passion and love for my books, my writing, and her hopes to help me build a career, make her the right fit for me. I accept Hannah's offer, and two and a half years after I started querying, I finally, FINALLY have an agent. (And an awesome one at that!)

So that is my story! Wow, huh?

Now, on to the fun stuff! Your reward for continuing to read (and hopefully gleaning some sort of hope or wisdom from my long, arduous path to getting an agent) is that I am going to do a contest. But not just any contest...

What do you need to be as shiny and polished as possible to get your foot in the door on your path to getting an agent? Yep, you got it. A QUERY. So here's my contest: All you have to do is leave a comment with your "twitter pitch" (aka 140 characters or less); basically a one or two line pitch of your book. Then, I will take all of the pitches and have a panel of readers vote on which ones they like the best. The pitch with the highest number of votes will win a query critique from yours truly.

Sound good? I hope so! Thanks for reading and let the pitching begin!
(This contest is open until Friday, August 20 at 12:00 P.M. MST. Judging will occur over the weekend, and the winner will be announced on Monday, August 23!)


Steena Holmes said...

Your journey inspires me! Thank you for sharing it.

Jamie Manning said...

Awesome story, congrats! And thanks for this opportunity!

PITCH: Waking up in a coffin hungry for blood is only the beginning for sixteen-year-old Everly Blue. Things are about to get a lot worse.

Amie Borst said...

wow, wow, wow. our stories are so freaking alike we could be soul sisters. srsly. your story has inspired me not to give up.

my pitch:
a twelve year old girl with a skeleton curse must invest in a whole lot of modeling clay to attend the spring fling dance.

Kathryn Rose said...

What a journey!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much Sara for sharing this story! It was written very honestly, and I appreciate that!

Stacey said...

I for one am looking forward to the next step in your journey, getting published! It will come soon!

Okay, I know I can get a query read by you anytime, but I thought I would try my hand at this pitch thing.

Sydney goes to London to find herself. Instead she finds Ben. And they both learn that being yourself in this world is pretty hard.

(I have no idea if that is even a good pitch for my book!)

DL Hammons said...

I've waited until the end of your tale to comment about how much I've really enjoyed this. Your story is inspirational...and a little scary! I'm very close to entering the query waters myself and I've already started dreading the word "enough"!! :)

Here's my twitter pitch:

Old friends team with a Private Detective to find out who put their friend in a coma and end up in the middle of a scheme for mass murder.

ali cross said...

Congratulations again Sara! Thanks for sharing your story! ♥

Carolyn V. said...

Wow Sara, that contest sounds awesome! I can't wait to see who wins. =) I love your story. It's so cool!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

What an inspirational story, Sara! So glad yo hung in there. Serious frustration throughout, but an amazing end--or a beginning, I guess. Looking forward to that big book deal announcement!

Russo said...

Your journey is just incredible and gets me more motivated. And a clever contest idea, BTW.

Jennie Bailey said...

Your journey is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Here is my Twitter pitch:
When Eva finds an old journal hidden in the floor of her summer cabin, she must solve the riddles, find the items and heal the forest.

Leah Goodreau said...

It's great to see a really honest account about this... unique business of being a writer. Thank you for sharing this with us. All the best for the next step in your journey!

My Twitter Pitch:
Between a possibly possessed sister and a creepily flirtatious turner, Art only hopes to stay sane, until both problems take a deadly turn.

Jamie Grey said...

What a great story Sara, thank you so much for sharing with us. I'm really inspired to keep going now, despite the discouragement!

Michael John Westerman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael John Westerman said...

Your trip sounds like an outstanding journey, I appreciate how life often functions in 3-act arcs. I'm interested in this contest, your opinion having earned its value. Congrats on representation! Rock and Roll

Generation Zero, a twitter pitch:
Not so much lost, but searching and in want. A degree becomes a liability as the internet disconnects feeling from interaction. Of the 00s, they’ve nowhere to go but up.

Angela McCallister said...

I can only imagine what it must feel like to find an agent with that kind of passion for your book. I did find a beta reader who has some publishing background who loves my writing, and she'll talk with that enthusiasm for an hour or two at a time. Feels so good.

My Twitter pitch:
The human settlers have taken mistaken identity to deadly extremes, and Emma is determined to rectify the mix-up, even when it means bonding with an alien and battling vamps.