If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know the following things about me:
1) I am already a published author
2) I have been struggling lately with a few manuscripts (and publishing in general)
3) I work like a m*er f*er
4) My life (due to health) has been crazy complicated of late
What you may not have known is that I have been looking for a new agent for a little while. So you may be really surprised to hear that this week, I signed on with a new agency.
Frustration and Validation
Sometime in the summer, I was feeling totally frustrated with my efforts on behalf of my latest manuscript. This was a story I had been trying to write for years, and I finally had developed it to the point that I thought it was in fantastic shape. The problem was, no one seemed to want it. I had gotten lots of very lovely rejection letters from agents that said things like they “admired the quality of the writing,” “it’s very nearly there,” “this is beautifully written” but still, no takers. I’m not sure I have ever been more frustrated about something in my life (and I’ve had cancer). I read my story again. I love my story. I did not want to give up on it. So I did some research and came up with a new list of agents and agencies. I sent out queries. And waited. Fulls were requested. More waiting. Then Marie called.
It was near the end of my first week back at a regular full-time, city job. I was exhausted from the commute, and overwhelmed from the number of things I was trying to understand about the project. My cell phone rang. The person on the other end said that they were Marie Lamba from Jennifer De Chiara Literary. It took me a few moments to understand what was happening. Before my brain fully caught up, she said that she loved my story. I was floored.
Now, my mother loves this story. And my husband loves this story. And my dad loves this story. But they are my mom and my husband and my dad. It’s totally different when a stranger, an agent, says that they think your writing is “wonderful.” I wanted to cry. If I was any more sleep deprived I would have. For me, that validation–that I had written a story that was good, and worthy–was everything.
In the next 26 1/2 minutes, Marie and I had chatted about the book, her thoughts about a revision, where she thought she might send it, and what I was looking for in an agent. In 26 1/2 minutes, I felt certain that I had found a partner who understood me and my work, and who was going to advocate for it in this crazy new publishing world.
Marie is an associate agent at Jennifer De Chiara Literary, which is listed as one of the top 25 agencies by Writer’s Digest. Marie is also a YA author, like me, who felt a bit bowled over when publishing started to change dramatically about 7 years ago. She also has a blog where she gives great tips on what she’s looking for as an agent, as well as her own writing news. Most importantly Marie is really nice and seems to understand my work style!
I’m excited about this new member of my team. And for me that’s what it is. A team that helps me to realize my goals. All of you who read this blog are part of that. No kidding. You all help me in ways that I can hardly express. So to you, and to Marie, I say thanks.