This is the unbelievably true account of how I got my agent, Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, who was my first choice of agents in the publishing industry. It’s one of those luck favors the prepared stories, one of those freak of nature stories that can’t be duplicated and will not exactly inspire hope into the un-agented masses. I got my agent without writing a query letter, without pitching and without attending a conference. I didn’t resort to mind control, threatening letters or voodoo. I didn’t sent a box of candy. It just happened.
To this day, I’m not exactly sure how everything worked together so well, but it did. Some of the details here may seem superfluous; I add them so that you can see the big picture.
On Friday, March 15, 2013, I received an email from a MAJOR PUBLISHER asking me if I would be interested in writing a non-fiction book for them about the general contents of this blog. (I won’t go into specifics until the deal is officially signed. You’ll just have to wait. Sorry.) After reading the email three times to make sure that it wasn’t spam, after checking out the comparative titles in this publisher’s cadre, after seeing on the publisher’s website that this employee was real, I responded back, “I am interested. Please tell me more.” What I didn’t do, which I have to admit took mammoth self-restraint, was say, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? YESYESYESYESYES! I’LL DO IT FOR FREE!” You will be relieved to know that I was professional, poised and kept my
fan-tods celebrations to the confines of my house.
Then, about five o’clock that night, I realized that since this was a MAJOR PUBLISHER, I should probably have an agent. So I sent out three emails to my top three agent choices, asking them this: Major publisher contacted me today about a book deal. Do I need an agent? Of the three, one didn’t respond at all. One emailed me back that night and asked me another question, but then never got back to me. But the last one, Chip MacGregor asked me even more questions about the situation and my goals. Over the next two weeks, Chip and I exchanged a few more emails and even had phone conversations. Then, he contacted the publisher and started negotiations. Over the next two weeks after that, the deal was finalized. I HAD A BOOK DEAL! And then MacGregor Literary sent me their Author/ Agency Agreement which I happily signed. This was official on April 12, 2013.
All of this happened ridiculously fast.
It looks like lightning struck. It kind of feels that way too. But the truth is this whirlwind was the big break that happened after years of hard work, two complete novels, self-publishing adventures, lots and lots of unpaid writing work, five years of writing this blog, misunderstood critiques, hundreds of thousands of deleted words written and over 16,000 tweets. It also bears mentioning that on my blog (just to the right, over there, the photo of the guy holding flowers) I displayed Falling For Your Madness, my debut novel. This novel had been, on March 12, selected as a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. As a quarterfinalist, FFYM was in the top 50 out of 10,000 entries. I had made a big fuss over this on my blog and perhaps that is what got the attention of the publisher. I also had a link to FFYM and the publisher told me that she was reading it. (SWOON! <3) I can’t imagine that she would have approached me if she couldn’t have sampled my skillz. I didn’t make the semi-finals, but that’s okay.
I also knew what to do. I knew from my own years of research and reading blogs by other agents, that you don’t say yes, you say, I’m interested. I knew who I wanted to represent me. MacGregor Literary has a stellar reputation, they have an impressive client list and I have absolutely no hesitation in teaming with them for my future. Emailing Chip with my original question was a no-brainer. I’m proud to have my name on their author list. I wouldn’t have been able to say this if I had not spent hours researching all agents, educating myself on the publishing process and examining closely who would be a good fit and who wouldn’t.
As for the future? Now I have a non-fiction book that will be released in the spring of 2015. I have plans to release The Truth About The Sky this fall and I’m working on You Too Can Run From Snails, which may get a name change before its release. And because I’m now working with MacGregor Literary, they will give me insight into what the next steps for all my books should be.
Honestly? After self-publishing Falling For Your Madness I was having so much fun with the promotion of it, that I decided that I wouldn’t pursue an agent until I needed one. Why stress out over query letters when I can satisfy my readers now? I’m still taken aback by the fact that I do have one, and I’m excited too! I feel like I have a new credibility, a new sense of professionalism and a new legitimacy that comes with publishing professionals’ attention.
That’s my story. If you are a writer, I hope that it doesn’t discourage you. Rather, I’d hope that it inspires you to keep going. You never really know what tomorrow will bring. And if you aren’t a writer, I hope this little self-indulgent account gives you insight into the ever changing world of writing and publishing.
So bring on the tomatoes!