If you follow me on any of my other social media accounts you’ve probably heard the news, but… I HAVE AN AGENT! My books and I are now represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
It’s been four years since I started writing with publication in mind and two years since I started querying, so I’m THRILLED to announce this! I posted a video below that gives alllll the details of my agent-finding journey, including clips that I recorded throughout the querying process.
If you’re one of my real-life friends or family (hi guys!), I’ve got a section below the video all about what an agent is, why I wanted one, and what this means for my career now that I have one. 🙂 If you want, you can use these links to jump to any one of those questions now:
- What’s a literary agent, and why did you want one?
- How do you get a literary agent?
- So when can I buy your book?
And to both my IRL friends/family and my online writing friends, THANK YOU SO MUCH. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without any of you. Thank you for the google hangouts, for the beta reads, for the comments on my WordNerds videos and for the general encouragement. A special shout out to my Pitch Wars mentors, Lynnette Labelle and Destiny Cole, who helped me tear apart my novel and make it 10,000 times better than I ever imagined it could be. Special thanks also go out to Brenda Drake and her helpers, for putting together Pitch Wars. It’s a life changing contest! ❤
What’s a literary agent, and why did you want one?
Agents have connections to editors at major publishing houses, and also major publishing houses don’t accept unagented submissions. Additionally, agents negotiate contracts for authors, and help make sure that our work isn’t taken advantage of. Some agents are editorial (like mine!) which means that they’ll help edit your books to make them as strong as they possibly can be before sending them to editors for consideration. Agents make money by getting a commission from sales of their clients’ books. So it’s a partnership — if my book sells and does well, then we’re both successful!
For more info about why literary agents are great, check out this post.
How do you get a literary agent?
The process of finding an agent is called querying. Basically I wrote a cover letter for my finished project, something that looks a lot like the blurbs you find on the back cover of a book. Then I sent that — as well as the first five or ten pages, depending on agency guidelines — to individual agents who I thought might be interested. I researched what kinds of stories agents were looking for though websites like Manuscript Wishlist, Publisher’s Marketplace, and Twitter. If an agent was interested in reading more, they asked for either a part of the book or the full manuscript.
There are also contests out there that can assist in finding an agent. I’ve been in two: Pitch Madness and Pitch Wars. It was through Pitch Wars that I found my agent — she commented on my entry, requested the full book, and the rest is history!
For more info about the querying process, check out this page.
So when can I buy your book?
HA. Ha. *sobs into coffee mug*
Really though, not yet. My agent and I will go on submission early next year. Jessica will basically query my book to editors, and if an editor is interested, then they’ll bring the book before an acquisitions team. The acquisitions team determines if my book would be good for the market and would fit well into their pre-existing release lineup. If everyone agrees it’s a good deal, then they make an offer. Once I get a book deal, it’ll be another year and a half to two years before my book is on shelves.
For more details about how getting a book deal works once you have an agent, check out this post.
There’s no guarantee that my book will sell. That’s why it’s important to always be working on the next project. If this one doesn’t sell, then my agent and I will have another book to send on sub.
It’s a slow-moving, competitive process, but it’s the best job in the world, so I can’t complain too much. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!