How I Got My Agent: Coreene Callahan

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Coreene Callahan, author of KNIGHT AWAKENED. 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 and we’ll talk specifics.

(Without this, you’ll never succeed as a writer.)


Coreene Callahan is the bestselling author of the Dragonfury
novels and the Circle of Seven series. To learn more about her
books, please visit her website You can
also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and
Authorgraph. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family
and writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever. Her latest book
is the Dec. 4 release, KNIGHT AWAKENED (a Circle of Seven Novel).


I met my literary agent in a karaoke bar over a tequila shot. She was celebrating the signing of a book contract with one of her authors, and I got swept into the group. An unusual way to begin a professional relationship, I know, but…hey. I’ve always been the kind of person who opens the door when opportunity comes knocking. But here’s the thing…

Even though I knew agent Christine Witthohn by reputation (and that she is an excellent literary agent), I didn’t pounce. Or maneuver myself into an immediate “pitch my book” position. Why? Well, common courtesy, for one thing. And two, I needed to know whether we not only got along, but also if our business philosophies jived. As crazy as it sounds, that kind of meeting of the minds is important. How well you see eye-to-eye with your agent can make or break you. It’s about teamwork and business acumen. About partnering with the right person, one who is not only invested in your success as an author, but shares your vision for the future.

Quite honestly, it’s a bit like dating. She said this. I said that. We laughed, clinked glasses and…bingo. The relationship was underway.

(Is it better to sign with a new literary agent or an experienced one?)


Before that chance meeting, I had been writing seriously for two and a half years. And by seriously, I mean every day, working to improve my storytelling skills, but also to build a vision of what I wanted to achieve as an author and what success would look like upon arrival. During that time, I pursued publishing whole heartedly, querying editors and agents, researching and entering contests to get my stories in front of industry professionals, and attending conferences to pitch my work. All the while holding tight the vision I had created and the Three Ps in writer’s life: passion, perseverance and patience.

So, the morning I met with Christine to discover whether we were a good fit in the business realm, I had suffered my fair share of rejection. The no’s and maybe’s had come hard and fast over a couple of years, and yet, as I chatted with her, I dared hope she might be “the one”. As it turned out, she was, and we both got our happily-ever-after. Within a week of sending her my manuscript, she offered me representation. And within six months of that, I was offered a book contract. Fantastic, right? No question. But remember this…without the vision, it never would have happened. Only by doing the hard work upfront was I able to recognize not only what I wanted to achieve, but the kind of teammate I needed to help me realize my dream.


In other words, I had a tailor-made plan right out of the gate, comprised of a vision, tangible goals, and the steps needed to be taken to reach each one. But the fact remains, a chance meeting in a karaoke bar with the right literary agent put me on the right path. One that not only saw me published, but published well. Christine and I work as a team. She’s great at her job. I like to think I’m good at mine. But together, we make a formidable duo.


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