Monday, August 1, 2016

How I Got My Agent!!!

It's finally arrived.

That moment most writers dream about but secretly doubt will ever happen.


This is something I've dreamed about and have been working towards since 2010. Yep, that's right, SIX YEARS.

So here's my story, six years of hard work summed up as brief as possible.

I finished my first novel, DAZE & KNIGHTS in 2010. It was YA time-travel. I revised it a couple of times and then queried it. I know. Rookie mistake. DON'T DO THIS. Anyway, I spent a year and a half in a cycle of revising, then querying. I learned a lot in that time- both about the craft of writing and queries. Once I work-shopped my query and got it to sparkle (and it did), the MS started getting lots of attention, and did really well in contests. It ended up with an R&R from a small press, but all to no avail. I cried when I shelved it.

Enter book 2 (which was actually book 3 because I'd written a sequel to DAZE, but couldn't query it, obvs). SWAY was a quiet, clean adult romance/Jane Austen retelling. It got a little bit of attention, but not as much as book 1, and it didn't do great in contests. I stopped querying it a lot sooner because I thought, since it was adult and I knew the market, I could try small pubs or even self-publish it. I put it aside until I could figure out what I wanted to do with it.

Book 3 was a YA UF called EPONINE. I started it off in a contest where it got a couple of fulls off the bat. Querying, it got some interest, but I heard multiple times that UF just wasn't selling and maybe it wasn't the right time. So after only 40 queries, I set it aside.

This is pretty much how I felt shelving EPONINE, what I felt was my best written MS.

I could've queried EPONINE longer, but it seemed pointless when the genre was struggling, plus I had a brand new YA ready to go, a mystery with a hint of fantasy called JAR OF HEARTS. It was a book I'd written for my first ever (and only so far) NaNoWriMo. I sent a few queries, made it into Nightmare On Query Street- garnering a few partial requests, then queried some more. (At this same time, SWAY was becoming an Actual Novel, published by Samhain!) 

Waiting. All the waiting.

While in the trenches, I considered querying a certain agent I sort of "knew." We are both members of the YA-NA Sisterhood. I worried that querying her would be a conflict of interest, or make things awkward between us, so I decided to straight up ask her. She was all sweet and lovely and said, "query me!" So I did.


A day after querying, she asked for my full. A month and a half later, I got that email. You know the one. The one that says, "I liked what I read, can we talk?"


I was at the mall food court with my kids when I got this email. I will admit with no shame that I celebrated right there in the middle of the packed food court. My kids thought it was funny. I think the table closest to us was slightly alarmed.

This is kinda how I looked, though more crazy, less cute.

So I did "The Call" and it was nerve-wracking and scary and I hung up and felt like I botched it. It was one of those times where afterwards you think, I should've said this and this and this! but it's too late.

Despite my awkwardness, she offered representation.

I let all the agents with fulls/partials/queries know. The full requests came flooding in. So did the rejections. Luckily, the sting of those wasn't quite as bad because you know there's already someone rooting for you/your book.

A day after nudging, I received a second call, a second offer.

Cue the anxiety and stress of making this decision. I kinda felt like Jojo from The Bachelorette. Okay, maybe I shouldn't compare this to that, but I've been watching it, and listening to her cry and say, "what if I make the wrong decision???" really got me.

Anyway, after a lot of thinking and praying (and stressing), I decided to go with my gut.

I signed with offering agent #1. Now I'm officially represented by Vanessa Eccles at Golden Wheat Literary! I loved what she said about the book, I really connected with her whole agenting strategy/philosophy, and I can't wait to work with her!

So this is where the story ends, for now...


  1. Oh Melanie!!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! I can't believe you got 2 offers - how amazing!!! I have been following your blog I think since you wrote that first Daze book and it's been so fun to see your journey. Can't wait to hear about the next step :D