How I Got My Agent, Part II

You've all read everything leading up to this post, right? Cuz if you think querying is all excitement and roses, you should go back and read the last post.

So Tricia Lawrence is my agent, but it may surprise you that I never queried her. I couldn't have if I wanted to: she wasn't an agent until after I'd stopped sending new queries out.

Ammi-Joan Paquette was one of the first five agents I queried, being one who asked to see the YA version when it was ready. She had my manuscript throughout the entire process and sometimes felt like my only hope. (And oh my gosh, if I had known the third query I sent out would be The One, and I could have saved myself the time and pain of sending out another 137 -- Oy! Just . . . kill me now (but don't because then I wouldn't have an agent anymore)).

When Joan upgraded from partial to full, she said she had reservations but wanted to see how it ended. I tried to tell myself (with only a little success) that she would say no. And, in fact, she did. She said the same as all the other agents: very promising, but she wasn't quite passionate enough to offer representation.

But the e-mail didn't end there. Apparently, Joan had passed it onto her agency's newest agent, Tricia, who had read it with enthusiasm. Joan said I should be hearing from Tricia quickly.

Listen, if you thought sending out queries is crazy-making, you should try getting an e-mail like that. I stared at my inbox for hours at a time, tenaciously ignoring the fact that nobody in America was even awake. I was checking my inbox in my sleep. I once checked my wife's e-mail to see if Tricia had somehow E-MAILED HER BY MISTAKE.

So yeah. Crazy.

Finally Tricia e-mailed me. She told me how much she loved Air Pirates, gave me a list (yay, lists!) with specific and awesome revisions ideas, and asked when we could talk on the phone. I looked and looked for the "I'm just not passionate enough" line, but I couldn't find it. It sounded like she actually wanted to work with me on it.

From the phone call, my story sort of devolves into everyone else's agent stories: I was nervous, she loved my story, she asked where I got certain ideas, she wanted to represent me, had editors in mind, etc, etc (but imagine me dancing a little the whole time). It was like every agent story I've ever read, with one exception.

See, when I first got the e-mail from Joan, I heard a tiny, evil voice. It said, "You're not good enough for the 'real' agent so they're giving you to the new one." Totally unfair, I know, and I feel bad even admitting it. But I don't know how anyone could get over 200 rejections and not doubt themselves like that.

Tricia couldn't know that lie had crossed my mind, but she totally murdered it. She told me when Joan had passed Air Pirates to her, she was actually wavering. She almost took it back to represent me. And Joan not only passed the manuscript to Tricia, but also to Erin Murphy, head of the agency and agent for 12+ years.

Honestly, I didn't need to know all that to make my decision; I knew that evil voice was lying to me, and Tricia's professionalism and enthusiasm had already won me over. But when I heard that, it made me feel all good inside and gave me a faith in Air Pirates I didn't realize I had lost.

So next week I will get some querying statistics up, along with some other related posts. I'll try not to bore you with All New Agent Posts All The Time, but, well . . . you know.

24 comments:

Jessica Silva said...

what a happy ending! it is a bit ironic that the third query you sent out happened to be the magic that led you to your agent. but hey! that's life. good luck on all of this :)

R.S. Bohn said...

Still not boring. In fact, this one is better than the first!

How are you not grinning like a fool all the time?

Jodi Meadows said...

I'm so, so happy for you, Adam! <3

Matthew MacNish said...

Ever considered sharing your query with me? I do another series, or at least I used to, on successful queries.

I'd love to analyze yours, and help my readers understand WHY it worked, but I totally understand some agents won't let you do that.

Anyway, either way, a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS, again, because I'm very happy for you, and can't wait to hear about it selling, and then get to read the book.

Red Boot Pearl said...

That is a great story!

Amie McCracken said...

That is one awesome agent story. Congrats!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Super congrats again! And I'm glad Tricia killed the evil voice, because it deserves to be dead, buried, and no-zombie-resurrection. :)

Angela Brown said...

Very happy for you, Adam. And excited. It's the reminder that you can keep trying even though many more than you care to count passed on your story.

Most importantly, sounds like you have someone with a passion for your story. That will translate into a passion to get your story published as much as you do.

Wonderful!

L. T. Host said...

Thanks for writing this out, sir! It gives me hope, and that's something we always can use a little more of. :)

What an amazing journey! Here's to hoping you aren't too far from the next stop on it!

Victoria Dixon said...

Thanks, Adam! This really does help. And it's good to know I'm not alone in my insanity. LOL.

Good luck with your revisions and (gulp) submissions!!! SQUEEE!

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

oh yeah! she murderized that evil voice!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Querying does murder our faith in our books, doesn't it? I felt the same way! I'm so glad it worked out for you, Adam. This is a great ending to the story!

Bane of Anubis said...

Well, as you know, I think Joan is awesome :)... and Tricia's awesome, too (sure, new to the agenting ranks, but with years of industry experience).

I think what impresses me most is how you persevered.

140 queries is a lot of queries for one project, which I think speaks to your passion for the story. Rejection murders the soul a bit, so go ahead and revel in this for as long as you want. You deserve it.

Nancy Thompson said...

Hey, whatever works, right! In the end, you got what you wanted. It just goes to show, you never know how things are gonna work out. It's a process & it's different for everybody. Congrats again! And yeah, put it up on Matthew's QQQE so we can see what works.

Holly L'Oiseau said...

You've been on quite a journey! Congrats!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us Adam! It gives me hope [g] Especially that part about how if only you'd known, instead of sending out those other 100+ letters - it's great to see how true it is that we never know the full story until we're on the other side.
Congratulations!

Krista V. said...

So nice to hear the end of the story:) Congratulations again, and thank you for your honesty. That tiny, evil voice bugs me all the time, but if other people can have the same problem and still succeed, then I find that encouraging.

S.P. Bowers said...

So, so awesome!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Fun story - excellent agency - Congratulations!

Myrna Foster said...

I'm SO glad you kept sending out queries. It's an amazing story.

Keriann Greaney Martin said...

I just read Part I and II of this post. This is an awesome story! I love how the third query turned out to be the one. I love how one agent was passionate about your story and passed it along to coworkers. I love how you danced during that first call. I love to hear about your success because you've worked SO hard for it, and you deserve!! Congratulations again!!

Keriann Greaney Martin said...

Oops, you deserve it!

dodinsky said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. I could really relate with what you went through. Hopefully the next post will be THE news--a sold book!

Christina Lee said...

Hey you --Matt told me your good news and so I had to come over and read for myself! WOOT! Congrats to you!