While I'm waiting for a phone call from my agent (man, am I ever going to get tired of saying that? I don't think so. In fact, I think I'm going to see if I can figure out the exact number of times I can casually refer to my agent in any given conversation so that it remains impressive without being annoying. I'm thinking like fifty?), I thought I'd give you a little bit of a breakdown of the journey, statistically.
Flash is my second book. My first book, Keeping King Tut, I queried off and on for about a year. Sad, but true. In fact, I was still hoping (with a healthy dash of realistic melancholy) that something might happen with it clear until last June, when I started writing Flash and stopped caring about anything else. Now, with some healthy distance between us, I can look back fondly on Tut and realize exactly what was wrong with it. Middle grade? Who was I kidding? Pondering the nature of family and the impact of loss while pretending it was actually a story about two kids who go back in time to Egypt? Yeah. Not so much.
So, Flash. I wrote Flash in June. I think it took me less than thirty days--hard to remember because I was in Mexico for a week so I couldn't work on it. Then, after a few edits (thanks to my fabulous, FABULOUS readers including my sisters, some old friends, and the MoMos), I put together a query (made better thanks to the fabulous Evil Editor and the Minions) and started sending it out.
Here were are, three-and-a-halfish months later. Man, it felt like a long time, but I guess it really wasn't. At first I was very moody and grouchy. Then when I almost died in September I realized that, hey, getting an agent really ISN'T a life or death thing. Massive internal bleeding = life or death. Getting an agent = something I would like to happen. So, with that new perspective, I was much happier, and resolved to the idea that no matter how good Flash was, it might not happen.
Searching on Agent Query, I noticed Michelle's name again. I always liked her name--Wolfson is just a great last name--but had never queried her before because her tastes didn't include sci-fi or paranormal. Flash isn't hardcore either one of those, but it has a touch, so I held off. Then the last week of October I figured, what have I got to lose?
About two hours after I queried her, Michelle responded and asked for a partial. "Oh, that's nice," I thought. I sent it off.
Then, ten days later, she emailed me again asking for a full. "Yay!" I thought. Then I thought, "Oh no," because she asked for an exclusive, which I couldn't give (two other agents were already considering the full). I told her so, hoping very much that she would still be interested. She emailed me back and said that she was, and she would read quickly and get back to me soon.
So I'm thinking, hey, maybe I'll hear back from her before Thanksgiving, wouldn't that be nice?
That was Tuesday. Thu
[We now interrupt this post so that I can have a freak out moment: I LOVE MY AGENT. SHE IS AWESOME. We now return to your regularly scheduled blog post.]
rsday morning as I'm getting Nayna out the door for a playdate the phone rings. Which is unusual unless it's my final warning that my car warrantee is about to expire and I should renew now or hello may I please speak with (long pause) Kristen Brassiere? So I answer it and this lovely voice on the other end says, "Hi, Kiersten? This is Michelle Wolfson."
At which point my brain explodes.
So, I did what any person would who has been dreaming of such a call and resolved to herself that it would never happen. I hung up on her.
Ha! Well, actually, she asked if it was a good time and I had to admit that it wasn't but could I please call her back in two minutes (thinking please please don't change your mind before then)? She said I could. So I freaked out to my very confused brother-in-law, sent Nayna out the door, and typed a quick message to Natalie, with whom I was chatting at the time. I believe the exact text was HOLY CRAP THE CALL THE CALL THE CALL.
However, Nayna leaving naturally made Dojo start bawling because he didn't get to go, too. I knew I had to do something--whenever I imagined THE CALL in my head (and it was always all caps in my head) I was professional and collected, had my excellent list of questions to ask so I would sound informed and prepared, and most of all there were no screaming toddlers in the background. So I grabbed my cell phone, strapped Dojo into the stroller, and took him down to watch the bulldozers clearing lots nearby. Instead of my professional phone call, Michelle got to hear construction in the background.
Awesome. Better than a screaming toddler though.
Anyway--it was the best phonecall of my life. Seriously. Hearing an agent rave to you about your book? Best thing ever. I really felt like we connected well and that she was someone I would love to work with. I gave the other two agents a few days to finish my manuscript. One got back quickly, saying that she loved it but would step aside since I had another offer. Then, after considering it and talking with some of Michelle's other clients, I went ahead and let the other (very nice and gracious) agent know I was going to go with Michelle.
And there you have it. I just got off the phone with my agent (nope, not gonna get tired of saying that) and we have a plan and a timeframe for submission. And I am so, so excited, and so grateful that I get to work with her.
For those of you who are really curious, here is a stats list of my querying:
Total Agents Queried: 44
Query Rejections: 26
Partial Requests: 5
Partial Rejections: 3
Full Requests: 5
Full Rejections: 1 (on the same day I started losing my pregnancy. THAT was a great day.)
Total time querying was about three-and-a-half months.
I used three different query letters and got requests and rejections from each of them. I found all of my information on Agent Query. I also found out that publishing really IS a subjective business, and that there really WAS no doubt that Flash would be right for some other agent out there.
And I'm so glad it was Michelle!
Tomorrow I'll give you my extensive thank yous, along with an idea of where I go from here, since I now know after talking with Michelle, my agent. My agent Michelle. Who is an awesome agent. Did I mention she's my agent?