I thought I’d do a little post on how I got my literary agent. I might go into this process in a little more detail in later posts – writing queries, agent interviews, dealing with multiple offers etc, so do let me know if there is anything specific you want to know more about – but for now here’s a brief outline of what happened …
Finished my first draft of my first novel ever. Wow. Momentous occasion. I celebrated it by nearly having a heart attack and going to bed early after months of insomnia, haha (I’m not joking). It had taken me around four to five months of on and off writing to get the first draft done.
I polished up my prologue and first three chapters (as this is usually what agents want you to submit) and wrote a query letter and synopsis. More on those later, but for now all I’ll say is – treat the query letter a little like a cover letter for a job. Keep it professional but don’t lose your personality. And I found the synopsis difficult so I’m not the one to be giving advice there!
I had been doing lots of reading in the meantime on the internetz into getting an agent. Most people seemed to agree that it could take them up to six months to get back to you, so I thought I’d send out my novel as it is and I could edit it whilst waiting for their replies, and then if any of them wanted to see the full manuscript.
Sent out my queries to my select group of agents. Went to sleep that night expecting a very long wait …
HAD AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION THE VERY NEXT MORNING.
Yep, that pretty much sums up my reaction. I think I actually flew out of bed and down the stairs, reading out the letter to my parents, who I don’t think really understood what was going on. Then as the days went on, and whilst I was talking with the agent who offered representation, requests for my full manuscript started to come through. There were a few outright rejections too, yes, but I could count them on one hand. On just a few fingers, actually – the positive responses were far outweighing the negative ones.
Starting having a few meetings with agents who wanted to talk with me further by the end of the month. Felt pretty overwhelmed.
After careful consideration, chose which agent I wanted to go with – the very wonderful Nicola Barr at Greene and Heaton – and we set straight to work on polishing the manuscript!
So that was my journey to finding an agent. It took the space of just a month really, as I finished my novel at the end of May, and had chosen Nicola at the very end of June. I can’t believe how fast it went, and it still feels a little surreal. I barely had time to digest the fact I’d finished my first book before I was signing with an agent! So I guess what I’ll say to those of you thinking of submitting to agents is – be prepared! Expect it to take anything from days to months. It’s a different process for each author. And have faith I didn’t really think anything would come of my querying, and the response I had was far better than I could ever have dreamed. Good luck! x