Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
I HAVE AN AGENT!
His name is Leon Husock. He works at the L. Perkins Agency. He’s awesome, and together we’re going to make awesome book babies that rock the publishing world and … What?
As a side note to the few (probably none) non-writers reading this: For a writer, getting a literary agent is second only to landing a book deal. And unless you decide to go the self-publishing route, you really can’t get a book deal without an agent.
To be totally honest, I never thought I’d write this post. I mean, I hoped I’d write this post. But I figured it would happen years, probably decades, from now. I’d been querying agents for about four years. I started with my first book, an adult urban fantasy called THE RELUCTANT DEMON which has since been placed in a drawer, where it’s weighing down all the “literary” short stories I attempted to write during what I like to refer to as “Ron’s Head Up His Ass” period. That book isn’t horrible, but it needs a lot of work, as does its query letter. I didn’t get a single partial or full request during the months I queried it, just a long steady stream of form rejections.
I had no clue what I was doing back then.
Flash forward to my second book, currently titled THE GOLEM INITIATIVE. I wrote it, had beta readers and critique partners read and critique it, then entered it in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award contest. I made it to the quarterfinals. After I got the boot from the contest, I had a fantastic writer and freelance editor, Julie Hutchings, have a go at it. Once I incorporated her notes, I set about querying. I figured I’d at least get some interest, considering I’d done not-so-poorly in the Amazon contest.
I was wrong.
Instead of interest, I got form rejections. Clearly there was still something wrong with my book, and/or my query letter. I honestly didn’t know what to do at that point. But then I heard about–and eventually got into–a contest called Pitch Wars. Long story short, the revisions I did during the contest turned what I thought of as a pretty cool book into a freaking awesome book.
During the contest, an agent named Leon Husock replied to one of my outstanding queries and requested the full manuscript. I’d never had a full request before. But I was revising. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO? After my Pitch Wars mentor (the amazing Meredith McCardle) talked me down off that ledge, I replied to Leon and asked if he’d mind waiting for the revised version. He graciously agreed. When the contest ended in November, I sent the manuscript to him.
And then I waited. And waited. While I waited, I sent out more queries. A lot more queries. I was going for broke at that point, because why not?
Flash forward to April 3. I’d amassed a whole slew of rejections, but I’d also gotten what, for me, amounted to a high number of partial or full requests. Unfortunately, most of those requests came back as “loved the concept, didn’t connect with the voice.” I was getting close to shelving TGI. But then I got Leon’s email. And I read Leon’s email. Then I read it again. And again. I picked up the laptop and showed it to my wife. Once she confirmed that it did indeed contain the words “I loved your book” and “I’d like to offer you representation,” I proceeded to shake for the next two hours.
Once I recovered enough to type, I sent nudges to all the agents who still had either my full manuscript or just my query letter. My nudges resulted in three more full requests. Those requesting agents ultimately passed, but it still meant a lot that they were interested enough to read my book. All that was just a formality, though.
I wrote Leon on Friday, April 10, and accepted his offer of representation.
So there you have it. How I got my agent. My agent. I can say that now:
It still feels so, so surreal.