How I Got My Agent: David Kazzie

"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. David Kazzie's debut novel, The Jackpot, is now available as an eBook at Amazon.com, BN.com and through Smashwords.com.
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"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.

David is excited to give away 5 free coupons for his e-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.

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David Kazzie is an attorney in Virginia, where he
lives with his wife, two kids, and an old dog widely
regarded as the most shameless beggar in canine
history. His animated videos have been featured in
the
Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and
the Huffington Post and have been viewed nearly
2 million times. His debut novel, The Jackpot, is
now available as an eBook at Amazon.com,
BN.com and through Smashwords.com.

A VIDEO I MADE GOES VIRAL

Last June, while bemoaning the state of my writing career, I did what any other self-respecting writer would do—I started a weekly blog. Because seriously, there weren’t enough of THOSE floating around. I enjoyed writing it, but after four months, things had stagnated a bit, and so I decided to try something different. And by different, I mean I was dropping back in the pocket like Doug Flutie, ready to fling my Hail Mary pass against the stout defense that is the Internet.

Using Xtranormal’s animation website, I wrote the script for a video mocking the practice of law called So You Want to Go to Law School and posted it to YouTube. Much to my surprise, the video went viral within a few days, and it’s gotten about 1.4 million hits since October.

I wrote a couple more videos that also got good traffic, but nothing compared to the original, and I started to worry that my writing career was already peaking. That’s when I came up with the idea to do a video about writing and publishing, thinking that if I was lucky, this video would ride to stardom in the digital wake of Law School, its still-viral big brother.

On the morning before Thanksgiving, I sat down and wrote So You Want to Write a Novel. That video also went viral, especially among writers, agents and editors. In early December, I discovered that the Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency had posted the video to its public Facebook page, and I posted a comment thanking them for doing so.

THE VIDEO LEADS TO AGENT CONTACTS

A few days later, Ann herself contacted me, telling me that she and her colleagues had liked the video. I was thrilled. I told her a little bit about myself, and she invited me to contact her after the New Year. In the meantime, a few other agents had contacted me as well, some to compliment the video, and a couple to invite me to submit to them in the future.

Now each time I heard from an agent, a tiny voice of optimism (one I typically keep locked away in the darkest recesses of my brain like it’s a vial of weaponized smallpox at the CDC labs) started screaming, “They like you. They totally want to represent you!” But my rational self kept reminding me that having agents compliment the video was one thing—having one want to sign me on the strength of the videos and my blog was something else entirely.

I contacted Ann in early January, and we hit it off right away. As the weeks went by, my discussions with her became more serious, more concrete. She started reading and liking my archived blog posts. Finally, I decided to ask her if the time had come for me to make a decision about working with her. I know agents are plenty busy with dealing with their own clients, and I was starting to worry about encroaching on too much of her (and these other agents’) time, since I wasn’t actively querying a specific project. I held my breath, but fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long.

She responded almost immediately and offered to represent me as I take the next step in my writing career. I read her e-mail about a thousand times, making sure I wasn’t hallucinating the whole thing. We arranged a telephone call to talk. I told my wife and shared the news with the rest of my family. My phone conversation with Ann left no doubt that she was the right person to help guide my career going forward, and I happily agreed to sign with her.

THE DECISION TO RELEASE AN E-BOOK

I am incredibly excited to have reached this career milestone, as it’s something I’ve been working toward for almost ten years, from my first terrible manuscript, through a couple of short stories published in online magazines, through the constant self-doubt, through the writing of the animated videos that changed my life.

In this business, you need someone who believes in your work, and I’m fortunate enough to have found someone who does just that. Ann is the kind of champion all writers dream of having behind them, and I am looking forward to working with her.

And I’ve also learned that life has a wicked sense of humor. Given the rapidly changing publishing landscape and the exposure I got from the videos—the first major decision I made after consulting with Ann was to self-publish my debut novel, The Jackpot, as an eBook (now available). I felt like this was the best move for my writing career, and with Ann supporting me, I felt confident taking this step. Maybe 99 percent confident, 1 percent looking for the bourbon.

David is excited to give away 5 free coupons for his e-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.

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Interested in self-publishing your book?
Check out the updated fifth edition of
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing.

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