Our fabulous Kansas City Pitchapalooza winner, Genn Albin, gives us part 2 of 4 of her journey to a six-figure deal for her YA dystopian fantasy novel, Crewel:
At the end of April, WriteOnCon.com hosted a live query event. I knew I wanted to participate, but I didn’t have a good query yet. I sat down with my husband and read him all the queries I had written. And he was…nonplussed. So we tried something different: a query that led up to the opening pages.
I trotted off in the wee hours of the morning to post it to the forum, and it wouldn’t go through. I tried several times and I kept getting a message that it would have to be approved by a mod. I waited a couple hours the next morning to see if it would show up, but it didn’t and more and more queries were grabbing the last few spots. I finally broke down and messaged a mod. She found it in the spam filter and, lucky for me, posted it in the spot it would have if I hadn’t waited for approval.
I spent the weekend much like the hours I spent leading up to Pitchapalooza – excited and nervous. I was more scared she wouldn’t get to my query than of hearing what she had to say. The agent hosting the event falls into the nice category, but I was still terrified that she would reject it.
Long story short: she liked it. She asked for more, and I gleefully sent it off. The next morning there was a request for the full manuscript in my inbox. I cried. I called my critique partners. And encouraged I sent off more queries. The next two responses asked for fulls, too. I was beginning to feel like I was dreaming.
Then a form rejection put me back in my place. And then another form rejection from someone I really liked and then a partial request.
Five days later, on a Sunday night, I got my first email requesting a call. I cried (I really don’t cry this much). My husband said I was scary (note to significant others: not the thing to say). The next morning I woke up excited, scared, asking if agents ever called to tell you that you suck. Before the call, I got two more full manuscript requests. I was beginning to feel overwhelmed but in a wonderful way.
I spoke with the agent, and she loved the book. She offered representation and I told her I had other fulls out, she advised me to send email nudges to everyone, including the ones I hadn’t heard from, since it had been less than a week. I did and by that night I was up to ten full requests, and some well wishes.
Another agent called within a few hours of the nudge for a quick check-in to request the full. The next morning she called and asked if she could fly out and take me to lunch. We spoke for an hour about the book, she offered representation and sent me her flight itinerary.
I’d like to pause a moment here and reflect on how surreal the experience was becoming. I’m a mom by trade. I spend my time between loads of laundry, play dates, and changing diapers. And now I was picking up an agent at the airport to go on a business lunch. Does not compute, right?
Ok, back to the story. By the end of day #2, three agents had offered representation. Each was awesome, enthusiastic and had so much to offer. I couldn’t believe it, but in a week’s time I had four offers of representation!
The next day, I took a break from the phone and email for real human contact with a real human literary agent. I got us lost in the city about ten times, and I could tell by the time we made it to the restaurant that she was good under pressure (+1 point for visiting agent). We talked about the book, got to know each other, and discussed my career.
I got home to more emails and more call requests and a few people bowing out. I scheduled three more calls for the next day and tried to get some sleep. I spent five hours on the phone the next day, and my poor husband dragged the kids all over town.
In the end, I had seven offers of representation and the biggest decision of my career to make. That’s when the Book Doctors saved the day.