“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Cecy Robson, author of SEALED WITH A CURSE: A WEIRD GIRLS NOVEL. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at email@example.com and we’ll talk specifics.
(Look here for our growing list of literary agents who seek urban fantasy and paranormal.)
Cecy Robson (first name pronounced Sessy) is an author with
Penguin’s Signet Eclipse. She attributes her passion for story-telling
back to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in.
Her dad unwittingly encouraged Cecy’s creativity by kissing her
goodnight wearing vampire fangs. Cursed with an overactive imagination,
she began writing her Urban Fantasy Romance Series, Weird Girls, in May
2009. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella, debuts December 4, 2012 followed
by SEALED WITH A CURSE, December 31, 2012, and A CURSED
EMBRACE, July 2, 2013. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
“THIS IS GOING TO GET PUBLISHED … RIGHT?”
My novel, WEIRD GIRLS originally came from a dream. Picture four sisters―different from anything that exists on earth―suddenly thrust into the supernatural limelight. I wrote the first novel from May 1st to June 3rd, 2009, handing the pages to my husband, Jamie, as I finished them. I remember when he told me, “This is going to get published.”
I’d crinkled my nose, unsure if he meant it. “Really?”
“Oh, yeah,” he’d answered.
When I finished book one, it was 60,000 words. It had witches, demons, demon lords, vampires, werewolves, bloodlust, kidnapping, fights, body fluids, guts, sex, romance, heartbreak―it had it all. And I thought for sure, next to the bible, it was the greatest book ever written.
Then, I went back and read it . . . and I realized how hideously awful it actually was.
My author friend, Susan Griner, took a look at it and told me everything that was wrong with it. I rewrote, and rewrote, and rewrote some more. Finally, I was ready to submit. So I Googled a few agents and publishers who I knew would just be sucker-punching each other to get a hold of my masterpiece.
BAD QUERIES AND MORE EDITING
My first queries were pathetic and went something like this: “Hi. My name is Cecy. My favorite color is blue. I like puppies.” Seriously, they were pretty bad. I have to say, the first 30 rejections hurt. After a while they didn’t sting so badly. Along the way, I worked harder on mastering queries and wrote Weird Girls Two, and Three, along with a spin-off novel, and three short stories.
Guess what? Some agents started requesting pages. When they passed and failed to request the full manuscript, I knew it was no longer my query that needed help, but rather my writing. I reached deep into my pockets and paid to have it professionally edited which resulted in yet another major rewrite.
When I was done, I sent it to my dear friend Valerie (McMullen) Secker. We edited, and edited, and edited some more. Sometime during this period, I turned the big 4-0. Jamie’s birthday gift to me included a New York writers’ conference. My first conference hadn’t gone well―lots of requests for the manuscript, but ultimately twelve rejections.
I finished the edits for Weird Girls, Book One, took an online writing course, and off I went to Backspace Writers Conference with my now 95,000 word manuscript. The first day, I sat next to a nice woman while blowing my nose like a mother elephant calling her calf.
“Allergies?” she asked, politely.
“No,” I replied. “I just have a really bad cold.” I was horribly sick, but she was being friendly, so I decided to be nice. “So, what do you write?”
The heavens parted and the angels sang when she smiled. “Actually, I’m an agent.”
The agent was Nicole Resciniti. I told her I’d written an Urban Fantasy Romance series. She escorted me to “The Agent’s Lounge,” where I pitched to her while about 20 agents looked on. No, I wasn’t terrified or anything…
(Read an interview with agent Nicole Resciniti.)
Nicole requested the full manuscript. That was Thursday. Friday afternoon Nicole sent me an email. She was half-way through Weird Girls and loved it (insert tears of shock and joy here). Nicole, who would become my beloved agent and friend, signed me that Sunday.
After four more rounds of complete book edits with Nicole, Weird Girls went on submission. On February 29th, 2012, Nicole called to announce my three-book offer from Penguin. Less than three years of writing, and more than seventy-five rejections later, my baby found a home. Moral of my story? “Keep writing. Keep editing. Keep going,” I say, wearing vampire fangs.
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