Let me take you on my journey that eventually snagged the very best agents for me. This journey started 6 years ago when I was introduced to one of the most popular YA books of all time. Twilight. Before this, I read mysteries, adult fantasy, Dan Brown, Stephen King, and John Grisham. Yeah at that point I had read Harry Potter but that’s about as far into the YA world I had ventured. So when my father-in-law (yes, you heard that right) told me about Twilight, I immediately picked up a copy and read it cover to cover.
What pulled me in wasn’t so much the writing itself, but the premise. No matter what you may think about Twilight, you can’t deny the magic you feel after reading the book. Something clicked inside and the desire to write my own book that I’d buried underneath a mega pile of self-doubt and a thousand reasons why I wouldn’t succeed, rushed to the surface. I saw an exciting new opportunity in YA literature.
But this is not to say I didn’t fall into the black hole of amateur mistakes. I did everything wrong in my first manuscript. The word count was too high for the genre (despite the fact it was an urban fantasy), the pacing was flawed, the opening had a prologue and the MC woke up from a horrible dream. The structure…what’s that? And everyone and their grandma has done a book about superheroes. Nothing I wrote and had poured my blood and tears into for two years stood out from everything else out there. I entered contests and Twitter pitch parties with zero luck or love.
Something was wrong.
Instead of giving up and crawling under the nearest table, I took the advice received through these contests and went back to the drawing board. I read every blog post known to man (maybe not that many, but a lot) about the craft of writing. I bought Larry Brooks book THE STORYFIXER, to figure out what this structure stuff was all about. I watched hours of Writer’s Digest tutorials from how to craft a killer opening page, to the query letter, and the dreadful synopsis. I read widely within YA. So when I came up with the premise of THE ATLANTIC BOND (my inspiration, Data from TNG), I was in a better place to avoid the typical pit falls.
I spent the next year writing THE ATLANTIC BOND during lunch breaks, late night writing sprints, and even on vacation. I had my eye on the hottest writing contest. Pitch Wars. But going into it, I told myself the odds of making it in were slim to none. But I joined the 1600+ hopefuls and met mentors, hunted down a few critique partners, and joined the Twitter GIF dance parties. In my mind before the mentor picks were announced, I had already won. I met so many great writers that I knew I would stay in touch with. Sooooo…
When I saw my name and THE ATLANTIC BOND next to Wendy Spinale, I broke down and ugly cried.
I had proved not only to myself but someone else (and my family) that maybe I could write and my story wasn’t a big pile of crap. And my dream of writing wasn’t a pipe dream but a real goal I could actually reach. I revised THE ATLANTIC BOND with Wendy’s help for 2 months. We cut scenes, added a POV, she even had me extend the ending. With her guidance and support, my manuscript went from blah to FABULOUS! During the agent round, I got one request and one ninja request. I knew the likelihood of me finding an agent through the agent round was also slim.
And I was right. But I polished my query and synopsis and I jumped head first into the query trenches.
There I stayed for months. January I got a handful of requests as well as February and a few in March. And a butt load of rejections.
Yeah, there were a few times when my writer buddies had to talk me off the ledge, but I remained hopeful. And then there was #DVpit in April (more on the event, click HERE), a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices hosted by Beth Phelan with The Bent Agency. I scheduled my pitches the night before and kept my thoughts of wowing an agent to a minimum. I was towards the end of my querying journey at that point. So when the favorites started coming in from agents and a few editors, I was floored.
One of the agents who favorited my pitch was Tricia Skinner with Fuse Literary. Fuse was on the top of my list, I’d been following them for a while!! I was very excited and sent out several queries/fulls to the agents that had favorited my pitch.
I didn’t think much about it for several days until I saw an email with the subject “Holy Cow!!” in my inbox. It was from Laurie McLean and Tricia Skinner with Fuse. They wanted to set up a time to chat! I again ugly cried in my car for about fifteen minutes. It was a long weekend before my call but it finally came. And right after the introductions they offered representation! They loved my story and I couldn’t be happier!!! And the fact Laurie thinks Tricia and I were separated at birth because our love of GIFs and Loki, it was a match made in heaven.
I’m excited to join Team Fuse–I’ve found my home. Watch out, here we come!!