Okay, first, today is my agent’s birthday, so go tweet at her. Second, today also marks a year from me getting a phone call from Elana where she offered to represent The Selection. I was remembering that conversation this morning, and it’s a little comical to me now because I was way nervous.
This is what I remember:
It was about two months into the querying process, and I’d sent out about thirteen letters. There was one other agent who was already reading the manuscript, and she’d had it for over a month at the time. This other agent has some pretty good sales, and some of those books are on my shelves. I also remember that after reading Elana’s sales, I had a good feeling about her tastes, and I liked her so much that I actually bumped her just out of my first ten queries. After everything with The Siren, I just assumed my first ten would be rejections, so I moved her back thinking that would somehow change her answer. Writer’s superstitions? Whatever. It worked.
I remember hearing back from her after she’d actually read my manuscript and said she liked it and wanted to talk to me, and I thought Oh, crap. Because I’d read a lot about querying and learned to be patient, but I’d never actually prepared myself for the possibility of someone wanting to take it on.
I also had another huge concern. I had a three-month-old, and I was terrified he was going to be the worst version of himself, screaming in the background as I tried to convince this person that I could really do both, be a new mom and an author… I swear I can… honest. I don’t know why, but that was one of my greatest worries, that motherhood would somehow knock me out of the race. I now know I’m in good company, but I didn’t really think about that at the time. Two notes on this: One, I’m not sure what made me decide to start querying while I had a baby that was a few weeks old, but no one can blame a woman for the decisions she makes under that degree of sleep deprivation. Two, you can bet your butt that Jeanette (along with a host of others) is getting a shout out on my acknowledgements page for watching Guy while I talked to Elana.
And, even though I had a list of questions for her and I wanted to talk to the other agent and there was no guarantee that she was going to even offer to represent me, I wanted to give her a hug when we started talking and she said something like “This book is kind of like Cinderella meets The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor,” because those very words went through my head the night before. It wasn’t some huge revelation, but I knew she got it and I might have even went “YES!” really loudly in her ear because I thought it was so cool.
We talked about her sales and how she worked, and we went through the trilogy and I had to spoil her. I honestly hated that. I wished with all my heart that I’d had all three books written so I could just send them to her instead of flounder through saying what I was kind-of-almost-maybe-pretty sure was going to happen. And then she told me everything she thought needed to be worked on. Maybe that’s some kind of scare tactic to see if you’re really up to working with her because Elana kept worrying she was overwhelming me. In truth, that was the best part. I knew it would have to be polished up, and I was grateful to have a set of professional eyes look at it and see ways to make it better.
At the end of the phone call, she offered to represent me, and we both agreed I had to talk to the other agent first, and we hung up. Later Elana would tell me I seemed very serious, which we all know is NOT what I am, but I kind of suck on the phone. And I was nervous. Still not sure how I talked her into this… Anyway, had it not been for the other agent, I would have said yes right away. Elana has good juju, and I like her.
It’s been a year, and The Selection is coming out next summer, Brave New Love will see daylight this winter, and I hope that there will be lots of other awesome projects in the future.
I’m not sure if there’s any wisdom for you to glean from this… Look for good juju? Yeah, look for good juju. Because, if you’re lucky, this is a relationship you’ll have for a long time.