Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How I Got My Agent: Part One

I’ve written this post a hundred times over the last few years, but unfortunately for you, I never wrote anything down any of those other ninety-nine times, so if my inner content editor calls it quits and I ramble a lot, you’ll have to forgive me. (Holy run-on sentence, Batman!) I’ll do my best to stick to the most important details, but I make no promises.

As many of you know, I started querying Steve in mid-November, and my first query went to Kate. She’d been at the top of my to-query list for a long time--literally, in the top spot--since she’d requested so many of my previous manuscripts and I’d enjoyed working with her on blog stuff.

The Partial Request A week later, she requested the first five chapters. I sent them off and promptly forgot about it. I knew she generally took around two months to respond, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

I sent more queries, got more requests. Inevitably, those requests turned into rejections. (Once you’ve queried as many manuscripts as I have, you kind of expect it.) But the rejections were different this time. The feedback was all over the place. Some agents loved the character but not the concept. Some loved the concept but not the character. But they all said something like, “Your writing is spectacular” (that’s actually a direct quote from one of Steve's rejections), and with the exception of one or two of them, they all wanted to see my next project.

The Full Request Fast-forward to the end of January. It had now been a little more than two months since Kate had requested a partial, and since I knew that’s usually her self-imposed deadline for responding to requested manuscripts, I decided to check in. I didn’t hear from her for a few days, but then I did. She said she was loving Steve so far--well, she didn’t call him Steve, but I’m sure she would have if she’d known his nickname--and asked to read the rest.

This was epic. This was enormous. Kate had requested two partials from me in the past (well, three, if you count Bob’s original and his revision as separate partials), but they’d never turned into fulls. I sent it off and tried to forget about it. This time, it didn’t work so well.

The Follow Fast-forward to mid-March. I logged on to Twitter late one morning and noticed I had a new follower. It was Daphne Unfeasible. I almost fell out of my chair. Then I noticed she’d tweeted me about the manuscript. She’d just picked up on the FRANKENSTEIN allusions and thought they were pretty cool. I tweeted her back and tried to act casual, but on the inside, I was freaking out.

I was a bundle of nerves for the rest of the week. I knew she was getting ready for the book fair in Bologna, but during another Twitter exchange, she mentioned she’d have something to me before she left on Friday. I assumed she meant a kind rejection or maybe a revise-and-resubmit. That’s what I told myself over and over: “Kate’s not going to offer. She’s just going to tell you your writing’s good. Kate’s not going to offer. She’s just going to tell you your writing’s good.”

The E-mail First thing Friday morning, I checked my e-mail. Nothing. I decided to leave my inbox open so I could glance at it every time I wandered past (read: stalked by) the computer. Still nothing. Then, a little before noon, I noticed I had a new e-mail. It was from Kate.

I sat down in front of the computer. I repeated my mantra a few more times: “Kate’s not going to offer. She’s just going to tell you your writing’s good.” Then I opened the e-mail. It went something like this:

“I’m leaving for Bologna in a few hours, but I don’t want to do this long distance, and I don’t want to wait.”

But I guess I’m going to make you wait, because this post is already way too long:) Look for part two tomorrow! (And if you haven’t already entered my celebratory contest, don’t forget to check that out!)

23 comments:

S. Kyle Davis said...

Ok, that's just mean.

Suzi said...

Wow. You've definitely paid your dues. I bet that was so hard after she followed you on Twitter. My mind would think of no other reason why she'd do that. Musta been a hard wait.

So I don't know if you've addressed this, but where does "Steve" come from? Is it just random, or is it based off a character.

Bonnie McCarthy said...

Congratulations!!! This is really, really exciting!! Thanks for sharing this process & experience -it's sort of how I envision feeling -but I'm not sure I would stay as calm! Way to go!! Enjoy this moment to the fullest!

Tara Dairman said...

Yaaaaaay! I love reading this!! I can't wait until I'm reading your spectacular writing in your debut book! =)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

I know, S. Kyle Davis. And I'm sorry! This post was just getting so long, and I didn't know what to cut!

Suzi, it was a tough wait, but since it turned out all right, I don't feel too bad:) And the nicknames are all random, although Steve's turned out not to be. I needed a random nickname for one of the major characters in the manuscript, and I thought, "Why not just use Steve again?" :)

Thanks, Bonnie! The past few weeks have been pretty exciting.

Thanks, Tara! Ditto:)

Monica B.W. said...

WHAT???? THIS POST WASN'T TOO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I agree with the first commenter... you're pretty mean! lol.
Can't wait to read what came next!! <3333

SwiftScribbler said...

But...but...I WANNA KNOW NOW!!

Connie Keller said...

You're making me wait?????

I'll be back to read the rest.

Michael G-G said...

I'm over the moon for you, Krista. You've been so supportive to so many writers for so long, this is just so richly deserved. What a great agent as well!!

Agent, new baby, photo on the blog: 2012 is just going rampant for you. I expect to see the sale on PM soon!!

Ben Spendlove said...

Too long? That's just getting started! I've written comments that are longer than that.

Jess said...

I agree with everyone else~ boo on you for not finishing the story!!! PS~ I love this post and can't wait for your next one :)

Janet Johnson said...

So excited for you! Can't wait to hear the rest. :)

Pam Harris said...

Way to leave us hanging! At least we know there's a happy ending. :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Eek! I really didn't mean to leave you hanging! I was just looking at my 1,200-word post and thinking it was a lot to dump on people all at once. But never fear! I'll post the rest tomorrow morning!

Adam Heine said...

I'd say that was mean, but then I did the same thing in my agent story. I'll wait :-)

Yvonne Osborne said...

Cruel! This post was not too long!! Now I'm going to have to wait until tomorrow??

Jemi Fraser said...

Aaaaahhhhh! I seriously tried to turn the blog page to find the rest.... :)

Escape Artist said...

You are such a tease!!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Yes, you did, Adam, so I won't hear any complaining from you:)

Sorry, all! Part two is up now!

Kristin Rae said...

Sheesh, I already know how this ends because I read part two first, but I'm on the edge of my seat here anyway. hahaha. Still SO pumped for you!!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Kristin, you know what they say about ending chapters on cliffhangers... :)

Kristi said...

Love this stories....going on to post two! :)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for reading on, Kristi:)