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How I Got My Agent: Robin Mellom

Categories: Breaking In (Writer's Digest), Children's Writing, Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents Blog, How I Got My Agent Columns, What's New, Young Adult Literary Agents.

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Robin Mellom, author of the young adult debut, DITCHED. 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 literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Robin is excited to give away a free copy of her book 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: Grammarian won.)



Robin Mellom is the author of DITCHED: A LOVE STORY,
a young adult novel released in Jan. 2012 by Disney/Hyperion.
Robin has taught grades five through eight and has a master’s
degree in education. Her new middle grade series, THE
, launches in June 2012. She lives on the

Central Coast of California. Visit her at www.robinmellom.com




How did I find my agent? In a nutshell: networking! For years, I queried (back when we sent them through the mail!) without any luck. Fortunately though, I met my first agent through the Internet. She came across my blog and liked my writing style—she reached out to me and asked for me to submit my work. (So never underestimate the power of blogging!)

(Learn how you can support and help a new author with their book release.)

We worked on submitting a couple of books over two years without getting a contract. So I had to make the incredibly hard decision to move on and start fresh again with a different agent.


I polished up another manuscript and started querying. This time, it was through e-mail and the process was much quicker. There were a couple of agents interested in working on changes without a contract, but one agent—Jill Corcoran [formerly of Herman Agency, now helming her own agency, Jill Corcoran Literary]—expressed interest in my work right away. She e-mailed me while she was reading the manuscript to let me know her thoughts (i.e. “halfway through…loving this!” then, “on p.200…so great!”). It was helpful to get her updates but also the most nerve-racking week of my life. I knew when she only had 50 pages left—what if the story completely fell apart?!


Fortunately, on Friday at midnight my husband woke me up to say she’d emailed me with a subject line that said, “Offer of Representation!”

(How NOT to start your story. Read advice from agents.)

I hardly slept.

Working with Jill has been an amazing experience. But truthfully, when I signed with her…that’s when the work really started. I wrote another two books with her that we submitted and still didn’t land a contract. It wasn’t until I wrote my sixth book, DITCHED, that I landed a two-book deal. Luckily, she kept me motivated all that time to keep going and never give up. Every time we received a rejection she’d say, “That’s okay—it means we’re one step closer to finding our YES.”

Turns out she was right.

GIVEAWAY: Robin is excited to give away a free copy of her book 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: Grammarian won.)



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20 Responses to How I Got My Agent: Robin Mellom

  1. laurielyoung says:

    This really helps keep things in perspective! So glad you kept pursing it, your success is an inspiration!

  2. Grammarian says:

    I’m impressed by the perseverance. When the writing is in the blood, we have to bleed for our art. Still, the idea of writing 6 books before getting accepted…I’m still working on my first and can’t imagine that process. As a full-time middle years teacher as well, finding the time is quite the challenge. Good luck with the book launch!

  3. lesliebulion says:

    Writing is such hard and wonderful work–so up and down! It makes all the difference to have an agent you feel supports you all the way. Thanks for sharing!

  4. blackroze37@yahoo.com says:

    my daughter wants to read your book! :)

  5. blackroze37@yahoo.com says:

    ok this is 2 blogs, that does nice honest reviews

  6. blackroze37@yahoo.com says:

    whew. i didnt know it was so hard for authors

  7. fibonacci112 says:

    I have started a blog and have hopes of writing several books on different subjects. Isaac Asimov is my hero as he wrote a book in every major category in the Dewey decimal system. Don’t know that I will match his diversity, but I’d like to come close.
    Your perseverance is what impresses me. I knew that getting an agent and landing a publishing deal was challenging but I had no idea you would be six books into the deal, with an agents assistance, before a publisher came calling. I may try self publishing first; I hear it is easier than ever now that so much can be done electronically. What are your thoughts? You must have had good reasons for not choosing that route.

  8. Every February I try and find interesting themes for I Love to Read Month – this year I decided to focus on Endings and after some initial brainstorming, I decided to call the contest Novel Endings. I was lead to Writer’s Digest as I went to the bookstore looking for a possible article in the magazine about endings in various books. Since this month’s theme didn’t cover this topic I came to the website and immediately laughed when I saw the title of your book (for real reasons of my own!) Talk about an ending – being ditched. Since my high school students are all in preparation for their grad dresses, I decided to link up to Amazon and start reading the first page which immediately made me enjoy your double dose of being ditched! How double entendre of you! Afterwards I read your bio, and how this was your sixth book before you and your agent were able to get it published. I believe my students would love this book – and if I do win the book, I would give it as one of the prizes in our contest about endings. Each week we will sponsor a contest ballot about great endings, endings that could be sequels and endings that ruined books. I sure can’t wait to see how you ended this book and look forward to hopefully winning. Congrats on publishing. You made me believe I could get published to some day – it’s about patience too and a lot of research.

  9. Marielena says:

    Thanks for your interesting story! If you’d like to read a very unusual way Eowyn Ivey got her agent, read our interview on our blog at: http://www.birthofanovel.wordpress.com Her debut novel “The Snow Child” is getting amazing reviews … and the way she connected with her agent is equally amazing. Talent will out!

  10. tasamoah says:

    Your story was so inspiring and easy to relate too. The idea that the hard work began after finding your agent really hit home. It helps me remember that so much of this process is about the journey, not just the end product.

  11. chelle112 says:

    “That’s okay—it means we’re one step closer to finding our YES.” Words to keep in the back of my mind. Thanks so much!

  12. I’m curious as to how your last kept you motivated. How did she stay motivated? Thanks for sharing.


  13. vbartles says:

    I love reading these “how I got my agent” stories. It gives me the push I need to keep going when I’m tempted to get discouraged. Thanks!

    I can’t wait to read DITCHED!

  14. Carmella says:

    Your tenacity is inspiring! This book is on my To Read pile. Congratulations on the success!

  15. elmelo3 says:

    Great story and advice.

  16. jmiff328 says:

    The blogging idea is a great one. I dont have one yet but I am working on the suject matter for one now. Thanks!

  17. SMStevens says:

    You’d think aspiring authors would know by now that it can take several manuscripts before reaching pay dirt. Yet, every time I read an experience like yours, I am reminded of that fact, and renewed and encouraged yet again. Thanks!

  18. Lina Moder says:


    I can imagine how you were literally glued to your email as your agent commented on her progress:))

    The novel sounds awesome!

    Thanks for sharing!

    linamoder (AT) gmail (DOT) com

  19. iolerugger says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how hopeful you are about the whole process!

    And I read the description of your book – it’s so cool you used the prom dress as a map to the night!

    iolerugger at gmail dot com

  20. acoywriter says:

    Thanks for the honesty. Look forward to checking out your book.

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