Fairy tales can come true. They can happen to you. Sorry, for some reason this song got stuck in my head. Read this story and you'll see why! Congrats Laura!
I've heard sometimes when you get to the point where you consider giving up, something good will come about. That's exactly how it was for me. A lot happened before The Call...and The Call, and The Second Call, too (don't worry, it'll make sense soon).
2012: After years of on-again/mostly off-again writing, inspiration strikes and I begin writing once more. This time, I don't stop.
October 23, 2015: I have six trunked manuscripts, a ton of progress in my writing, a truckload of rejections and a pretty thick skin. And a seventh manuscript I really believe in, a YA Fantasy called A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN. I start querying. Again.
March 7, 2016: the day of emotional whiplash
6:00 am: I wake up to a detailed rejection from an agent I'd been really excited about. It basically means I need major revisions, so I spend the day moping about making the same writing mistakes for the past four years and doubting whether I'm ever going to improve. Maybe this is The Final Sign that I should stop wasting so many hours pounding away on my laptop. (See also "Where did that thick skin go?")
5:30 pm: I made the agent round of Pitch Madness! First, elation, then—holy smokes, isn't my manuscript a mess? Panicked, I DM my CP. Should I withdraw to avoid wasting my chances with these agents and revise instead?
6:30 pm: One of my kids is throwing a temper tantrum, and I'm still trying to decide what to do about Pitch Madness, when my e-mail dings with a response to one of the very first queries I'd sent, back in October 2015. I force myself to open the inevitable bad news.
The agent I queried had passed my full onto Agent Z...who now wants to talk to me. My child's screams in the background, I re-read the e-mail over and over trying to let it sink in.
My mouth goes dry. Agent Z wants to talk to me! But wait, I tell myself, it might be an R&R. We set a date for a couple of days later, and I start researching Agent Z.
March 9: the Pitch Madness agent round goes live, but the requests will be kept hidden until March 11.
March 10: For The Call with Agent Z, I perch at my daughter's little kid desk because I don't have one myself. I listen to what Agent Z loves about my story (swoon!) and what she envisions (yippee!). Then I ask my (ahem) long list of questions.
Agent Z offers to represent me! It's so exciting! But I keep calm and tell her I'll get back to her by March 23.
Since the agent round of Pitch Madness already began, I decide not to withdraw. I send the other agents who have my queries and requested materials OFFER OF REP e-mails. Over the next twelve days, I happily send a couple more fulls and collect very nice step-asides that don't feel so bad anymore.
March 11: Pitch Madness requests are revealed, and I have two! I send the requested materials with the subject line PITCH MADNESS - OFFER OF REP. That feels pretty cool.
March 12: A Ninja Agent at Pitch Madness adds another partial request!
March 13: Just after midnight, Ninja Agent writes to say she's ten chapters in and is adding her offer to the table!
Four hours later, she writes again saying she's finished reading and loves my story. I'm living a dream!
March 16: The Call with Ninja Agent. It's a very thoughtful, wonderful conversation. And oh, how I love what she has to say about my manuscript!
I spend the next days researching like mad and communicating with happy clients of both amazing agents. DMs fly as my CPs and writer friends also help me out with their opinions and experiences.
March 21: Agent Z sends me another note to remind me how much she loves my story. She says if anyone else has offered, she'd like A Second Call to try to convince me to go with her! Talk about making me feel wanted!
March 22: Agent Z calls me again. We get into the nitty gritty details of a couple of questions I'd forgotten, despite my well-prepared list. Agent Z is absolutely not pushy. In fact, she even offers to extend the deadline for my decision in case I'm still not sure. But I'm a woman of my word; I'm sticking with March 23.
March 23: Both agents are truly terrific, and I've agonized over it for days, but I feel great about my decision.
I'm absolutely thrilled that I am now represented by Agent Z: Zoe Sandler of ICM Partners!
Laura grew up in Michigan but dove into a whirlwind romance just after college, which meant moving to southern Germany without a job, but with a lot of love. She and her husband married a blink of an eye later, and they've now lived there happily for more years than seem possible. By day, Laura manages process and system projects, and she's a mother of two. Nights and stolen daytime hours are devoted to living in her head: writing YA science fiction and fantasy novels. Laura is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, and her work is represented by Zoe Sandler of ICM Partners.