Saturday, April 21, 2018

How I Got My Agent

So, obviously I am not a great blogger. BUT I have spent the past year really buckling down on my writing. I’ve finished a middle grade fantasy manuscript, polished a number of my picture books, and GOT AN AGENT! But wait, there’s more. I have a picture book under contract with Blue Manatee Press!
 
I’ve been working towards traditional publication for 5 years. I’ve grown each and every year.
 
Starting with preachy picture books with long word counts, I didn’t get very far.
 
I joined SCBWI. Seriously, if you write for kids and want to be a part of a large tribe with education, comradery, and networking, then you should look into The Society of Children’s Book writers and Illustrators.
 
So I started going to conferences. I met others like me. I met agents and editors and had critiques. I attended classes, webinars, and workshops. I grew as a writer.
 
At an SCBWI Critique Fest I met my in person critique group. They have been invaluable in helping me hone my skills, question my characters motivation, and most of all, grow as a writer. Recently I've also joined online critique groups.
 
Highlights Foundation Retreat cabins
At a Highlights Foundation Retreat I really broke down my works, focused on word choice, and page turns and… did yoga and went on hikes and had the best butter I’ve ever eaten in my life… and I grew as a writer (and maybe as a person. I couldn’t stop eating the butter.)
 
I’d become confident in my writing. I got some likes in Twitter contests, my percentage of personal rejections grew, I applied for, but did not win mentorships, and finally I had some interest from an editor. I reached out to the agents who were currently reviewing my work in their slush piles and from some requests to inform them I had a contract in hand.
 
I received multiple offers and the decision wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. There is a ton of pressure and doubt that I think plagues many writers. But the enthusiasm and connection with one agent in particular was too great to ignore. I’m proud to announce I’m represented by Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary.
 
I had submitted to Rebecca after seeing her #MSWL about creative non-fiction. She’s already negotiating contracts and guiding me along the process. We already have a second manuscript under review. I hope together we sell a bajillion books and make readers happy.
 
I want to make it clear. The path was long and ultimately I was discovered in a slush pile. But every path is different and there is no one way to be a writer or to become traditionally published. Just keep pushing and growing as a writer.