Monday, August 24, 2015

The Post. No, seriously, THE Post

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Soo...it's been crickets around here for a few months, but I swear it's with good reason. Great reason, actually. Drum roll, please.


I HAVE AN AGENT! 

Yes, me. I'm more shocked than anyone, honestly. I don't think people understand when I say this does NOT happen where I’m from. Seriously, it doesn't.

Now, to that "How I got my agent" story, because I'm sure that's why you're here. Well for that and the gifs. Be warned, it’s a long story. The short version, using stats:

Manuscripts: 3 (2 versions of my MG and a YA)
Queries sent: 52 for MG (overall), 7 for YA
Requests: 17 for MG (includes contests), 4 for YA
Offers: 3
Agent: 1 Superhero

Now the long version:

Back in December, I sent Her Royal Sharkness, the Query Shark, the query for my revised MG manuscript. She posted it, called it splendid, and I was stunned. I sent that baby out.

The requests came. But so did the rejections. Everyone says that the best way to deal with the roller coaster of querying is to start another manuscript. So that’s what I did. 


I recommend that everyone do this. The querying process is crazy at times, and if you don’t want it to drive you crazy, distract yourself with another manuscript. Preferably something different than the one you’re querying. 

And boy, was my new manuscript different from my MG. Waaaay different. YA. Contemporary. Realistic. Darker. No need to front, I’m from “the hood,” and this manuscript is about neighborhoods like mine. Plus it deals with the Black Lives Matter movement. It was easier to write in some ways though. I was loving it. I sent it out to some CP’s, and they were loving it too. 


I hadn’t given up on the MG yet though. I entered the raffle for The Writer’s Voice contest, and I was chosen from the raffle. Then, I posted my query and first page of my MG on my blog. 

And holy crap, two mentor teams wanted me. Two! 


I could’ve gone either way and had a great experience, but I went with Team Coffeehouse, which is made up of three awesome ladies—Brenda Drake, Nikki Roberti, and Kimberly Chase. I owe them my first born. 

They helped me polish up the first few chapters, synopsis, and query letter for my MG. As I waited for the Writer’s Voice to begin, I worked on the YA and decided to query it if the MG didn’t work out in the Writer’s Voice. However, I was terrified of querying the YA because it deals with such a sensitive topic. 

Now, here is where things get a little crazy. 


*In my Sophia Petrillo voice* Picture it: Twitter, June 3, 2015.

An agency, who shall remain nameless for now, had a question-and-answer session on Twitter. Since I was on the fence about querying my YA, I asked about it. Let me clarify – I did not pitch it. I asked if the topic was appropriate for YA. I got a response from a Superhero Agent. 

 

Phew! What a relief. I wouldn’t be exiled in query land for my manuscript. But who could I query at this agency? I crossed my fingers and toes that it would be a fit for Superhero Agent because he had always been one of my "dream agents." The Q&A session was winding down. I took a chance and asked:


I got this response from Superhero Agent: 


For the record: PLEASE DO NOT PITCH TO AGENTS DIRECTLY ON TWITTER. Unless they ask you to. Twitter Pitch contests? Great. Asking questions during Q&A’s? Fine. But never pitch them directly. 

I was still editing and assured the agent I would query him when I was done. 

About a week or two after the Twitter conversation, the Writer’s Voice began. My MG entry was posted, and I got FOUR agent requests.


I prepared to send out the fulls. I hadn’t read the MG in its entirety since I started the YA. I decided to read through it before I sent it.

And holy crap, I saw issues.


It’s true what they say – once you step away from a manuscript for a while, you see the problems when you come back. I was heartbroken, yet I sent it out to the agents who requested in the contest, because you never know. Plus I’m my worst critic. 

Thankfully, I had my YA. It softened the blow so much. I was in the last of my edits, which proved to be a great distraction when two of the contest rejections came in. I assumed the other two would also be rejections and decided to focus on the YA. 

Then Superhero Agent from Twitter announced he was closing for queries in July and wouldn’t reopen until September. 


Not a long time, I know, but I thought, “What if he forgets our conversation? Wait, he may have already forgotten. Holy crap, I need to query him.”

I went back and forth on it, but my amazing CP, Michelle, encouraged me to query him and other agents with the YA. So I queried Superhero Agent right before he closed. Soon, I finished my edits and sent it to a few more agents. 

Less than a week after I queried the YA to the other agents, I got an e-mail from a contest agent, who's a Rock Star, about the MG. She wanted to talk on the phone.



Say whaaaat?

We arranged to talk, and since I’m the Queen of Assumptions, I assumed it would be an R&R call. Nope. It was an offer. On the MG. 


I told her about my YA and that I'd already started querying it. She loved the premise and wanted to rep me for both. I nudged agents who had the MG AND agents who had the YA, which led to a lot of full requests. Superhero Agent requested the full for the YA and later for the MG too.

Then a Powerhouse Agent, who was another one of my "dream agents," requested the full for the YA. Two days later, Powerhouse Agent offered.


She love love LOVED it. And I was shocked, shocked, shocked. I was upfront with her and explained that the initial offer was for the MG. She asked to see it too, but her offer remained. 

I let Superhero Agent know that Powerhouse Agent offered. He asked to talk.


Now, word on the internet streetz is that Superhero Agent went crazy over my YA. But you didn’t hear that from me.

We talked. He had spot-on ideas for revisions, and the love and passion he expressed for the YA was nothing short of amazing. He offered. I internally freaked out, but I kept it cool. 


Although I think I broke the Guinness world record for the number of “okay’s” said on a phone conversation.

It was an overwhelming week. The agent offers hit me like:


My best friend, Christy, kept me calm, and like I said, I owe Brenda, Nikki, and Kim my first born because they talked me through the chaos too. All the while, Brenda and Nikki were preparing for Pitch Wars. Crazy!

I had a tough decision ahead of me. Three offers from three great agents who loved my work. I talked to their clients who told me about their respective agent’s approach, etc. It's true - every agent isn’t for every writer. I could’ve chosen either one of them and been in great hands, but I went with the one whose agenting style better suits me. It didn't hurt that he was so passionate about my work and as I talked to him, I knew he was The One. 

And I’m happy to announce that Ant Man is my Superhero Agent.



Also known as Brooks Sherman of the Bent Agency!


But seriously, he does resemble Paul Rudd and he truly is a Superhero Agent. I am so happy to join the B-Team, and I’m amazed at how all of this started from a Twitter conversation. My book babies are in good hands.

Only hip-hop fans will get this reference, but: *In my Suge Knight Voice* if you’re a writer and you want an agent who is part superhero, part Slytherin, part amazing, query Brooks Sherman! (When he re-opens for queries, that is.)

Let’s do this, B! 



26 comments:

  1. Wonderful agent story! Again, I'm so happy for you. I remember your MG and loved the writing. :D

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  2. Brooks IS a superhero agent indeed. He's got a great eye for fabulous books, and I am looking forward to hearing when I can buy these books and continue being Your Fan.

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    1. Thank you, Your Royal Sharkness. I am honored that you even blessed my blog with your presence.

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  3. B TEAM FOR LIFE!!!! WELCOME, ANGELA!!!!

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  4. Thanks for the shout out! I am SOO SOOO happy for you! <3

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    1. Thank you for everything! A shout out is the least I could do to thank you, Brenda, and Kim :)

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  5. Congratulations! What a fun story. Hope to be able to read your books soon!

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  6. Congratulations! And the Shark called your query splendid? That's amazing!

    I am extra enjoying the 2Pac gifs.

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    1. Thank you! I'm still shocked that she called it splendid.

      Yeah, 2pac is pretty amazing :)

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  7. Ack! Angela you were on an #asktba with some of your questions weren't you -- I remember you from that! Isn't it AWESOME that it's all there for the learning if writers will dig into it: Janet Reid, twitter ask agents, MSWL, contests by people like the incredible and Brenda and Michelle Hauck who are legends in their own timelines. I am so so happy for you. Write on!

    xx

    Sheila

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    1. Thank you! And yep, it was #askTBA :-). I am so thankful for all of the resources out there. They played a huge role in all of this.

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  8. Congratulations! That's a great story. Good for you!! Now back to writing! :)

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    1. Thank you! And yep, I'm working on revisions already lol

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  9. It was so fun to be on Team Coffeehouse with you! This is AMAZING news! So well deserved...I can't wait to hear what's next!

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    1. Thank you! The feeling is mutual. Looking forward to your announcement one day :)

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  10. Congratulations! And thanks for sharing this whole process.

    Your YA sounds amazing.

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  11. What an awesome story! Thank you for sharing and super duper congrats on signing with a superhero agent! Cannot wait to see your books on shelves :)

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  12. I am finally just reading your story now but it is still so exciting. Congratulations! I cannot wait to read your books!

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