Monday, February 7, 2011

On Getting MY AGENT

**Many apologies to any of you who already came to this half-finished meme which posted automatically without my knowledge! I would never be such a jerk, I swear it!

Writers love How I Got My Agent stories as much as 20-somethings love proposal stories.  And far be it from me to keep you all in suspense, so here is my story.

I started querying my latest project back on November 1, 2010 (I was hoping to slip into a lighter querying period while NaNoWriMo was going on).  I started small, with 5 or so queries, and tried ever so hard to be patient.  The responses were good!  Of course, I got the expected rejections, but I was also getting requests.  I was sending out partial and fulls with every appendage crossed and checking my email like I was getting paid by the 'Refresh.'

Finally, on a Friday in January, I got The E-mail.  It was from a lovely agent who wanted to schedule a phone call with me for the following Tuesday.  I read it, closed it, went back to what I was doing for a few minutes, came back, read it again and went on like that until I'd read the message about 4 times.  Then, I was finally able to respond (with minimum exclamation points, I might add) and we set up a call for the following week.

I spent the weekend tied in knots trying to tell myself it could be a revise & resubmit call, but knowing in my heart it wasn't.  We talked, and it went well.  Very well, in fact.  I was excited and dizzy when I got off the phone.

Like a good little writer who spends all her time reading blogs and Twitter, I knew my next move was to notify everyone who still had a manuscript.  There were nine notifications in all, and they all promised to get back to me by my one week deadline (I couldn't stomach waiting for two. I would have imploded).  A couple of them made me promise not to accept an offer before they could respond.  And one, it turned out, had already read my partial just days before and was waiting for her second reader to finish it before asking for the full.  She wanted the full ASAP.

On Friday of that week, I got my second call (from the agent who had read the partial and asked for the full).  She'd stayed up to an ungodly hour finishing my manuscript and her second reader did the same the next day.  Although my heart was slightly lower than my throat this time, I was still as nervous as they come as we talked.  It was another great call, and that meant I had a very tough decision to make.  I also had a few days to go until my deadline.

The day of my deadline was actually one of the best days I've had as a writer.  Because although most of the remaining agents decided to step aside, they sent me some of the most complimentary and encouraging rejections I've ever received.

Ultimately, I had to base my decision on gut instinct.  Who "got" my work better?  Who had a more compelling vision of my future career as a writer?  Who had more confidence she could sell my project?

It wasn't easy.  Both agents who offered representation were great.  The decision was a matter of degrees, and a certainly "feeling" I got during out phone call.  Sending a message to the other agent declining her offer was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

So, it pleases me something fierce to announce that I have signed with Laura Bradford of The Bradford Literary Agency.  Laura is amazing! (And you should totally follow her on Twitter if you don't already).  She's funny, excited about my work and ready to dig into the submission process as soon as we can get everything ready.  I am so happy to be working with her I could just burst!

Please wish me luck as I head into the next phase of my writing life!

- Liz

11 comments:

Wilette said...

Liz, that's sooo wrong! lol

Liz Czukas said...

Wilette, I'm so sorry! This post went up automatically without my knowledge. I was asleep, actually! So I've fixed it now and I humbly apologize to you and anyone else who might have come by to read it.

- Liz

Laura Pauling said...

Congrats! Following both you and Laura and Twitter - it was fun to watch the process as you nervously waited! Can't wait to hear about a book deal!

Jody Sparks said...

Incredible!! So exciting! A huge congratulations. (and no worries about the tweet). GREAT story. I look forward to seeing who buys your book!

Kristan said...

WOW! Two offers, that's awesome. Congrats, Liz! I'm so happy 2011 is starting off with a bang for you. :)

Wilette said...

Liz, I thought it was a great joke actually. :)

That aside, congratulations! That is so exciting!

Eleven Eleven said...

I thought it was a great joke, too. And it's even funnier to know it was an accident. Congratulations. It's a very happy story.

Kari Marie said...

Congratulations!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Congrat! Laura's one of my dream agents. Of course my true dream agent is the one who falls in love with my book. :)

Robin Weeks said...

Wow--your agent's Twitter pic is a dragonfly. My characters have dragonfly wings.... Fate? :)

Really cool story. You're right about writers and how much we like to hear agent stories! Thanks for sharing!

Liz Czukas said...

Thanks everybody!

Cold queries work--I am a slushpile success story! Keep going and write a really great book.

- Liz