Thank you, Michelle and Amy for inviting me to tell my story, and thank you for so much more than that! Without your Sun vs. Snow contest, I might never have met my wonderful agent.
My agent story is sort of a “when it rains it pours” tale. But before there was a drop, there was a drought. I’d been seeking publication for about two years, starting with my first ms, HIDDEN DEEP, a YA paranormal romance. It got some good feedback, earned some RWA chapter contest finals, one win, and even a 2013 Golden Heart final. But no agent. I did get full requests but was told repeatedly that, while the writing was good and the premise was original, the market was saturated with YA paranormals-- they weren’t convinced they could sell it. I also suspect now that because it was my first ms, the story could have been stronger. I still love that book and have hope of it selling someday (after revisions of course), but taking the advice of wise writers who’d gone before me, I moved on. Everything you’ve heard about how important it is to write the next thing is absolutely true.
I completed FOUR BULLETS, a YA romantic mystery inspired by a murder trial I covered years ago as a news anchor/reporter in Mississippi. After running it by my critique partner and a couple of beta readers, I sent out a few queries to agents who’d encouraged me in their rejections of my first book to send them my next project. At about the same time, I found Michelle’s blog and learned of the Sun Vs. Snow contest via Twitter. There was so much excitement surrounding it! It was thrilling to learn my ms had been selected for the agent round, and I had a ball reading the other entries and meeting the other finalists on Twitter.
When the day came for the agent round—I won’t lie—I started checking the blog at about 8 a.m. and kept checking back in all day. It was so exciting to see the agent requests for partials accumulate. In the end, I had nine requests. Nine chances to find the agent who might be the one for me! I sent the requested material right away, and over the next few weeks (and even months), some of the partials led to full requests. One of those was from Talcott Notch Literary.
As I waited for responses from the contest requests and the queries I’d sent, I kept writing. A lot, in fact. I’d gotten really fired up about writing a contemporary New Adult series set the world I used to inhabit before I became a full-time writer—television news. I had completed two novels in that series by the end of March this year when the 2014 Golden Heart finalists were announced. I was absolutely thrilled on announcement day to learn FOUR BULLETS was a finalist in the YA category!
About five minutes after learning of my final, I got an email from an assistant at Talcott Notch, who congratulated me and told me FOUR BULLETS was moving to the top of their TBR pile. I also had new requests from a couple of other agents that day. It was a fun day! After all the waiting, I had a feeling the time might be right for me.
A week or two later, I got an awesome email from Rachael Dugas at Talcott Notch. I have many agented writer friends, but I never realized that an agent would tell you flat out in an email that they were offering rep—BUT SHE DID! She said she’d like to talk to me the next day to answer my questions and share her thoughts on my story. When we spoke, it was everything you always hope THE CALL will be—she told me how much she loved my story and why, what her plans were for submission (squee!), and her ideas on how to strengthen the story. I loved her personality and especially the things she’d noticed about the story that could use more development—it really rang true to me. Of course I really loved that she loves my book!
At that time, I still had six fulls out with agents, some of whom had specifically asked me to notify them if I received an offer. I did that, celebrated on the down-low with some close friends, and waited the week out to give them a chance to read the full. In the end it was Rachael’s connection to and understanding of my story, as well as her attitude toward my writing career as a whole that convinced me she was the right agent for me. I’m looking forward to her revision notes on FOUR BULLETS and to going out on submission with that book soon.
In the meantime, I have no time at all to be nervous. I’m writing every day and working hard toward reaching another exciting goal – self-publishing (under a different pen name, AMY PATRICK) my New Adult romance series CHANNEL TWENTYSOMETHING. The books are scheduled for a Summer 2014 release!
Some things I’ve learned so far on my journey:
-It happens when the time is right. If I’d gotten THE CALL when I started querying my first book, and the agent asked very normal questions like “how many books do you think you can write a year?” or “how long does it take you to complete a book?” my answer would have been, “I don’t know.” YIKES! I didn’t know until I wrote FOUR BULLETS if I could even write another book—maybe the first time had been a fluke? Now I know myself much better as a writer, and I know what I can expect from myself and what I want out of a career.
-I learned just how valuable pitch and query contests (like the ones you’ll find on michelle4laughs.blogspot.com and http://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com) can be for writers. I got helpful query feedback, I’ve remained in touch with quite a few writers I met through Sun Vs. Snow—and I’m thrilled to see how many of them now have agents and even publication dates!
-Writers are the nicest people on earth. I would be exactly nowhere without the friends I’ve made through conferences, contests, and social media. I’ve gained amazing critique partners (one of mine is also a Golden Heart finalist this year!), a matchless support system, and lifelong friends over the past few years. I wouldn’t want to do it alone. I’m thankful I don’t have to, and I’m extremely thankful for generous people like Michelle and Amy, who give of their time and talents to help other writers like me. Thank you again!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Amy grew up in Mississippi, but now lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons. She spent twelve years working as a news anchor and reporter in four different states: Mississippi, Tennessee, California, and Rhode Island. After years of writing true stories, she retired from the news business to focus on making some up. She writes YA romantic fiction as Amy DeLuca and New Adult romance as Amy Patrick.
2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist FOUR BULLETS
2013 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist HIDDEN DEEP
2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist FOUR BULLETS
2013 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist HIDDEN DEEP
What an inspiring story, Amy! I never entered any pitch contests since I'd rather write a completely new book than a pitch or query. For some reason, they always make me a bit nauseous. I can never figure out what's important, and then start getting anxious that NOTHING in the book is important. lol.ReplyDelete
I'm so happy that everything worked out the way it was supposed to happen, and that you found an agent that's perfect for you. And that's the key. There are so many phenomenal agents and writers out there, but it's clicking with one in particular that matters most. Good luck with your NA series. As I've been privy to the covers, and have read the first book in the series, I can't wait for CHANNEL TWENTYSOMETHING. It's amazing, and your characters are equally so. Now, let's just get FOUR BULLETS out there! :-)
You're right Kim- whole books are so much easier LOL! Thank you for reading, cheering, and for the all around awesome. My books would be a lot suckier without you. :)Delete
Great story, Amy! I loved reading about your journey, and how exciting that everything happened at once. Best of luck with the NA series, as well as FOUR BULLETS! I can't wait to read all of these books!ReplyDelete
Thank you Pintip! It's so much fun going on this crazy journey together. We'll all get there in our own time in our own ways. I'm so glad you stopped by to say hi!Delete
I love call stories, Amy. And I am so happy for you that you landed such a wonderful agent. Congratulations and I wish you the best of luck!ReplyDelete
Thank you Sharon- I've always loved reading them, too, and trying to figure out how to make it happen for me. It finally did!Delete
Congratulations, Amy! I agree that things happen when they're supposed to, but don't discount the fact you were out there, taking risks and pitching to total strangers. Agents and editors can't find us if we don't tell them we exist! Looking forward to seeing you in print! :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you Ellen! You're so right-- we have to put ourselves out there and take chances or it just never will happen. It's not easy, but it's worth it!Delete
I love this call story! How exciting, Amy! And both traditional and self-publishing. You're going to be a busy lady. I'm so excited for you!ReplyDelete
Can't wait to meet you in San Antonio and we can have drinks to celebrate all this good news. :)
I can't wait Marnee! I'm sure all of us will have much good news to celebrate by then. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
Thanks for sharing all the delicious details with us, Amy! I'm so excited for you and it's awesome to watch your writing career reach new heights! Congratulations again, sistah!ReplyDelete
Bonnie!! I'm so glad to see you. Thank you for being excited with me. Let's soar together, okay? Ready... one two three... jump!Delete
What a great story, Amy! I love the lessons, especially that it happens when the time is right. Congratulations!!ReplyDelete
I've certainly learned that lesson, Carrie, and I truly wouldn't have wanted it any other way. There is a plan for each of us. :)Delete
Wheeee! Amy, your journey has been such a joy to witness! And given my penchant for exploding with happy, your successes are turning me into the Fourth of July this year!!! ;)ReplyDelete
Such a wonderful call story which I've no doubt will end with a HEA!
Cheers to you and your skyrocketing hybrid career!!!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your fireworks, Darcy! Love you girl.Delete
Thanks for sharing your story, Amy! I've heard bits of it before on our loop, and the part you said about the timing being right really resonated with me. It's helped me put my own journey to publication in perspective. I look forward to meeting you in person in San Antonio. Congrats!ReplyDelete
Wouldn't it be great if the "right" time was always "right now?" Alas, it rarely is. Can't wait to meet you in person. Thanks for coming by!Delete
YAY! Loved reading this.ReplyDelete
Hi Holly! You were at ground zero for this whole thing, so you know how happy I am to share the experience with you. Thanks for stopping in. Love you!Delete
Such a great story, Amy. I especially love that you an agent who was a good match for your career as a whole, as well as one in touch with a particular project. Please keep us posted on release dates for your CHANNEL TWENTYSOMETHING series. How exciting!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I do think of it as a gift to find someone who's such a good match. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!Delete
Congratulations, Amy. Love reading "The Call" stories (especially when they're from Lucky 13s :-) ) I do believe things have a way of happening when they're supposed to. Hope you're going to be in San Antonio.ReplyDelete
Hi Sandra! I absolutely believe that, too. I'll be there-- can't wait to see you!Delete
Very insightful Amy. I appreciate it when people share their call stories. I learn so much! All the best luck to you!ReplyDelete
Hi Piper! I love reading them, too. And I've been doing it for many years. Seems like even longer. Thank you so much for stopping in and always being a friend. :)Delete
Congratulations on getting the agent Call, Amy! I love hearing these inspiring success stories. I know it's only a matter of time before you get the editor Call. :)ReplyDelete
So happy for you! This is your year.ReplyDelete
Love your story, Amy! I'm so happy that I met you through the Golden Heart contest. I agree 100% about how fantastic author friends can be. Looking forward to reading your novels and to sharing the adventure of self-publishing with you!ReplyDelete