How I Got My Agent….

I finally got an agent! Hip hip hooray, YES!, YAY! and every other happy word I can think of. But let me tell you this process was not an easy one. It took years.

Me jumping for joy!

I started writing in 2007, my senior year of college. From the beginning I wrote romance. I blame Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ THIS HEART of MINE, which was the first contemporary romance I had ever read. (Till this day I still have a soft spot for Kevin and Molly.) And Jennifer Crusie whose BET ME introduced me to Minerva and Cal and was the only book I’ve ever read twice in a row. You know when a book is good when you still remember the characters names years after putting it down.

As a writer I knew I wanted to accomplish that. I had to accomplish that. I’m the kind of person that once she decides she is going to be good at something doesn’t stop till she gets there. So I wrote BY HAND, (gasp) for years. Full novels in notebooks while I read every romance novel I could get my hands on. This was my training period. I had no clue what the RWA was or that local writing groups existed. All I knew was that I wanted to write. And so I did, like a job, I wrote everyday, getting a little better.

In 2008 I completed( typed) my first novel and sent it out to about a dozen agents. In the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t ready. It was too long. The plot was a little all over the place and the genre wasn’t clearly defined. I didn’t know that then though. I didn’t know much except that I wanted to be a writer.

A few more embarrassingly bad hand written manuscripts and one semi decent one later I decided to enter a contest. I really wanted feedback. I knew I could write but I didn’t know much about the art of writing. It was then the writing Gods interfered and introduced me to my Fairy Writing Godmother Kristan Higgins who suggested I join a local writers group. From these people I learned about community and what it really feels like to have people truly want the best for you.

I also learned practical things like… I suck at commas.( Thank you, Jane.) And sometimes I am far too wordy. I make my heroes say stuff that most self-respecting men would never say. (Thank you, Christine.) I tend to over complicate my plots. And I use You’re when I mean Your.

They helped me learn from my mistakes, showed me it was okay to have practice manuscripts.(Thank you PJ Sharon.) So when I sat down to write the book that got me my agent I was determined to write a good one.

I know I didn’t write the next great American novel but I wrote a book I could be proud of.  (I promise I’m getting to the good part now. Damn writers and their back story!)

So I sent it out into the world and ended up getting 6 full requests. 3 partial requests and a hell of a lot of rejections. I queried 51 agents since December 16, 2011. I was getting frustrated by the whole process. The funny thing was I never received a rejection on a full manuscript. I actually wanted one of those, just for the feedback alone. Three of those agents had my book for months and each day of silence was making me more and more discouraged.

But then it all happened so quickly. I got a request for a full. Then the next day I got a call from that agent offering me representation. As soon as I hung up with her one of my dream agents requested a full, when I told her I had just been offered representation she asked me not to sign anything until she got the chance to read it. By that time I was ready to barf. Two agents! And if that wasn’t enough my fairy god writing mother was bragging (as all good fairy writing god mother’s should) that I had just received an offer to yet another agent.  That agent asked that I email her. So I sent off my manuscript and the day after that I got another call.

I really and truly fell in agent love with Emmanuelle Morgen. Love LOVE LURVE! The other agents were nice but Emmanuelle rang every bell, told me exactly what I could expect from her and what she would expect from me. She didn’t make me huge promises and was up front with everything. Explaining the history of the agency, who her clients were, what advances were like, what houses were the best for authors. We talked about the future, and long-term goals and that was before she ever offered me representation. I hung up the phone after our forty minute conversation and felt like this woman will do her best to get the best for me.

I’m not the type of person who can have laid back agent. I need someone who is going to be on my tail to help me create the best book I can. And so when Emmanuelle said I needed to get on those edits and cut down my word count by 5- 10k and get it back to her by Friday morning. I busted my ass to do so. By Friday afternoon I had my work with five houses. All of this happened in the span of two weeks.

People who see me wonder why I’m not shaking with excitement.(Well, I barely gotten any sleep these past two weeks) But I am excited and grateful and happy, but I’m also a realist. I know that crap happens, and despite the best of intentions books don’t always make it to publishing. And until I see my book on a shelf I’m going to keep my optimism cautious. And I’ll never stop learning how to be the best writer I can be.

Sooo thank you to all my CTRWA members who have cheered me on. And to my fellow scribes, especially Casey who has seen my book at it’s worst and still encouraged me to finish it. And to Kristan Higgins who has been the best Fairy Writing God Mother a girl could ask for.

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22 thoughts on “How I Got My Agent….”

  1. Congratulations Jamie! I’m so excited for you and you know I’m happy to read anything you write. Your books are fantastic and I can’t wait until everyone else gets to read them! And Kristan – she is truly one of the most generous people I have ever met!

  2. What? You had an agent before Fiction Fest? Two? Are you hogging? Did I read right? Happy dance is in order for you, your hard work and your future as a brilliant writer.

  3. No wonder you were glowing so at Fiction Fest. :) Congratulations! Happy dance – and champagne. ::pop!:: Very psyched for you. Now, did I understand you correctly, that your book came out of the “slush pile?”

    1. Katy, I love your reply to Jamie. It is so exciting, I am in awe of this amazing group, and all the folks eager to help. Kristan is a fairy Godmother, true enough.

  4. I didn’t get a chance to congratulate you in person (I was still matching names to faces at the conference!) but yes indeed–congratulations! I really admire your fortitude through the whole process!!

  5. Although I already congratulated you in person, I will say it again because with something this exciting you simply can’t say it enough … Congratulations! I’m so excited for you. Best wishes for mega success!!!!

  6. Let’s be clear here: Jamie, you are a great writer, and that’s why you are where you are. Fairy godmothers need not apply. But I was happy to brag about you anyway. xox

    1. Hi Jolyse, I did get my happy ending. I got a contract from St. Martins Press for three book deal. My first book should be out next fall.

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