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How I Got My Agent: K.M. Ruiz

Categories: Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog, How I Got My Agent Columns, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the GLA blog. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. To see the previous installments of this column, click here. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

K.M. is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Larissa won.)

 

     


K.M. Ruiz grew up in California and still calls
the

Golden State home. Her debut sci-fi novel is
Mind Storm (May
2011),
a post-apocalyptic story
that the
New York Journal of Books called “…not
only the beginning of an exciting new series, but
heralds the debut of a notable new voice in the
sci-fi genre.” See K.M.’s author website here.

 

NOT THE BOOK I STARTED WITH

I went about getting published a little backwards. The first book I queried wasn’t the one that got me my agent and I actually submitted directly to a publisherone that still took unagented submissions. I passed their first-read criteria, and totally thought the next round would be a breeze, but the second read didn’t happen right away. Go figure. For almost two years I queried agents off that book. I got a lot of partial requests and even more full requests, but no bites on an offer of representation. It felt like the publisher was taking forever to get to that second read.

After waiting so long, I felt frustrated and discouraged. Who wouldn’t? I think I knew, even back then, that the book wasn’t strong enough. Which is why I set it aside on the querying end and wrote something else. That something else turned into Mind Storm.

GETTING BACK INTO THE GAME

I’d been around the query-go-round more than a time or two, so I knew the drill, but this time I was going to take it slow. Once I finished editing my next book to make it the best I could, I set out on the query road again. Now … please understand I hate writing queries. I’m really bad at distilling a long product into a short blurb, but I did my best. At the end of summer, I queried maybe ten agents. Then I took a long holiday out of the country after not taking one for a few years.

Right at the beginning of my holiday I got a full request from Jason Yarn at Paradigm. I couldn’t very well let that sit for the next two weeks without answering it, right? I’d spend all the time I was supposed to be having fun worrying instead. I’d brought my laptop with me to store all the pictures I was going to take and managed to get an Internet connection long enough to send the full out. Then I didn’t really think about it until a month and a half later when Jason e-mailed me again.

You know that feeling you get when an agent e-mails you back? You know you’re either going to fly high or crash hard, depending on what they say. I was so sure it was going to be a rejection. I’d had two years to collect those and I was all set to add his to the list. I was prepared to move on and try the next bunch of queries, because that’s what you do. Only it wasn’t a rejection.

Jason e-mailed saying he wanted to call and talk about my book (which at the time wasn’t called Mind Storm, because I’m as bad at titling things as I am at distilling a novel into 200 words). We talked a few days later, and he offered representation. After we hung up, I freaked out (as one does), but I didn’t immediately say yes. I had the full out to one other agent and a partial out to another. It’s only polite to give other agents an update on your situation if things change. One agent declined to get in the mix and the other got back to me a long time later.

But I really liked how that phone call with Jason went, and I liked what he thought about my book and the changes he wanted to see. You better believe I took his offer.

THE NAILBITING DOESN’T STOP

Jason and I worked on two rounds of edits for Mind Storm before submitting right before the Thanksgiving holidays. Which meant my book probably didn’t get looked at until January. It ended up selling in February. People say sci-fi is a hard sell, but all you need is one person to say yes. I went through even more revisions with my editor, all of which made the story better than I could make it on my own. A little over a year later, my first book is set to be published. I couldn’t be more excited and I’ve got Jason to thank for that.

K.M. is excited to give
away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within one week;
winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You
can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Larissa won.)

Writing sci-fi or fantasy? Check
out The Writer’s Digest Guide to
Science Fiction & Fantasy. The book
was helmed by none other than Orson
Scott Card, who wrote
Ender’s Game.

 

 

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32 Responses to How I Got My Agent: K.M. Ruiz

  1. TheWritingSpider says:

    “Query-go-round” – love it. I’m querying my first novel and got a start on the second so I don’t go crazy messing with the first one. : ) Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. SuzanneM says:

    Good luck with both of your books. Mind Storm sounds like a great read! Thank you for sharing your story, I will keep your efforts in mind as I shop for my own agent.

  3. carolftwin says:

    Everyone keeps telling me how difficult it is to get published but your story is proof that it still happens. I plan to take my time and focus on the book and not dwell on it once it’s done and I send out the queries. I have my next book idea and once I let go of the first and get it out there I plan to move on too. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. You gotta admire perseverance. All the best to your future writing endeavors, I’m sure you’ll write for
    a very long time.

  5. patak says:

    Thanks for the article. I wish you much success.

  6. TracyStreet says:

    I believe I’m in the same situation but I still believe in my first book and will continue to push it, of course I just started this adventure. Thanks for the info.

  7. Ramsey says:

    Wow, that’s quite some time to wait, isn’t it?

    But it’s definitely good to hear that you hooked up with someone who you got good vibes from, definitely! Even if it had to cost you worry during your well-deserved vacation.

    Congratulations on your success! I’m personally in the midst of writing my own novel, though the genre is somewhat blurred at this point. Your book sounds quite interesting by the amazon.com synopsis, for sure! I’m definitely interested in finding out how the rich retained their wealth and make it (or don’t?) out post-nuclear disaster. Quite exciting!

    Good luck with your future projects, as well! I hope to see more out by you soon!

  8. Valerie Miller says:

    Congratulations on your book! That was really encouraging (especially to someone who has never submitted anything anywhere). I wish you much success in the future.

  9. Kristin Barrett says:

    I love reading sci-fi and it seems like there aren’t many agents or contests that cover this genre. I find it interesting that many first time authors get published in very different ways. Thank you for sharing your "path" and best of luck moving forward.

  10. James Reis says:

    Success stories are the blood of the writer’s body. Many congratulations!

  11. Rae Whitney says:

    KM- Enjoyed reading your story; its given me renewed faith in the process. Congrats. ~RW

  12. It’s exciting to see that the first baby isn’t always the one that takes you to the promised land. I enjoyed this post and hope to enjoy the free copy of Mind Storm.

  13. This was a great post and really gives me hope :). Not to mention it’s exciting to see a new SF author! Congrats- your book sounds great.

    Thanks for sharing your story :)

  14. I’m excited to hear about a new sci-fi. Thanks for sharing your journey and congrats on your debut!

  15. Carol Riggs says:

    I love reading these journeys; thanks for sharing yours! It’s nice to know that sci-fi can be snatched up if it’s good. I’d be very excited to read/win this book. It sounds intriguing. Best wishes with your debut!

  16. Joann Brosnan says:

    I’ve printed out your article for my Dad, who is beginning to suspect that he can’t just pick the publisher he likes and send his manuscript and it will be published with a few revisions. This tells it so clearly. Thanks. I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out. It sounds like my kind of read.

  17. This was a fantastic portrayal of a journey to publication by a new scifi author. I think my favorite part was that you "only need one person to say yes." That is absolutely the truth that keeps me going! What a great accomplishment. Tenacity truly will bring its rewards.

  18. A good tale of learning, patience, fortitude and persistence. Though I can’t imagine a journey through that kind of process, at this point, I’d look forward to it. Thanks for the insight and wisdom. Congratulations.

  19. As a speculative fiction writer myself, it’s always nice to hear about another spec fic writer who found success. I also thought you made a good point about continuing to work while waiting to hear back from the publisher.
    (And I’m from Canada.)

  20. Erica Olson says:

    Wow – I really want to take your story and substitute the names of my novels (and me and my future agent, of course). ;) Great story and count me in for the contest!

  21. J. N. Khoury says:

    So inspiring! Gives us all hope for our own publishing endeavors. Congrats and best of luck! I’ll be looking for you in bookstores! :D

  22. Stella Michel says:

    Congratulations! And thanks for sharing
    the story of your journey. Your book sounds intriguing.

    Stella Michel

  23. Jessica Fink says:

    Very excited to check out your book. Congrats!

  24. Henri says:

    Congratulations, hope your book does well. I have not read Ender Game or anything else by Card, except his book How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Here’s my read on
    Orson Scott Card and how to write or not to write Sci-Fi.

  25. I love your attitude on the querying process and I totally agree with it. A rejection only means you have to send more queries.

    Congratulations on your book!

  26. Kristan says:

    Sounds exciting! (Both your journey and your book, hehe.)

  27. I love hearing these stories–each one is different. Congrats, K.M., and good luck with the book!!

  28. Narda says:

    Sounds like a great read!

  29. Giora says:

    It’s wonderful that you found Jason, after so many queries, and that your book will be available next week. Good luck in your first event at Borderlands Book. Best wishes from Canada, Giora

  30. alan nayes says:

    great inspiring story–and it wasn’t fiction! post apocalyptic material is hot–just finished reading THE PASSAGE. i want to win your book. live in the us.

  31. Congratulations Ms. Ruiz! Good luck in your future endeavors.

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