How I Got My Agent: J.R.H. Lawless - Writer's Digest

How I Got My Agent: J.R.H. Lawless

Author J.R.H. Lawless shares how he landed his literary agent, Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency, while getting his novel, Always Greener, published.
Author:
Publish date:

Author J.R.H. Lawless shares how he landed his literary agent, Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency, while getting his novel, Always Greener, published.

My path to representation by the amazing Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency was far from typical, and I'm glad for the opportunity to share it with my fellow authors, agented and unagented alike.

Image placeholder title

(20 literary agents actively seeking writers and their writing.)

Perseverance is, of course, the one word to keep in mind when slogging through the agent query trenches. This will be news to no-one, but it took me multiple manuscripts, years of querying, complete rewrites under the wise eye of my mighty wife and alpha-and-omega reader, and more rejection than I dare count to really understand what that means. Wear your rejections like a badge of honor and never stop working on the next thing, whatever that may be—another manuscript, a short story or 20, craft and literary articles; the choices are endless.

Dive into the world of writing and learn all 12 steps needed to complete a first draft. In this writing workshop you will tackle the steps to writing a book, learn effective writing techniques along the way, and of course, begin writing your first draft.

Image placeholder title

Click to continue.

A Helping Hand

That being said, perseverance can sometimes use a bit of luck, and a helping hand, in the form of daring. In my case, the opportunity came when, after years of querying and receiving multiple partial and full requests from agents who never fully clicked with my manuscript, I also started submitting to small presses, and received a Revise and Resubmit from Rick Lewis at Uproar Books.

Image placeholder title

He saw the potential in the rather atypical structure of my original manuscript. But he also quite rightly diagnosed its issues and invited me to split it into the seeds of two, fully-developed novels—the first of which, Always Greener, has just been released.

I strapped in and followed this excellent R&R advice, until I had a solid first manuscript to resubmit to Uproar Books, which lead to an offer on the book.

(Do writers need literary agents?)

After working so hard, for so long, to make this a reality, it was tempting to simply sign the offer—if only to make it real, before it revealed itself as a mirage, or some sort of fevered dream.

But instead, fighting against that writerly instinct, I requested a few weeks to take the offer to the agents who had shown interest in the past, to secure representation. The publisher consented happily.

Finding an Agent

This led to a series of "Offer in Hand" queries to a select handful of agents, who almost all replied promptly, given the time-sensitive nature of such a query. Some declined very graciously, many requested the materials, and I want to seize this opportunity to thank them all. Ultimately, it was Marisa who, after an excellent "Call" and glowing recommendations from her other clients—my future agent brothers and sisters!—clicked the best with myself and my writing style, leading me to accept her offer of representation.

Marisa then reworked and strengthened the original offer from Uproar considerably before we signed, and has been invaluable throughout the process of editing and preparing the book in the long run-up to release.

(Do literary agents cost money?)

The main take-away I'd like to leave authors currently in the query trenches with is that there is no "one" way to find an author. My path was one of many—countless, perhaps—and the best thing you can do to increase the likelihood you will get there, sooner or later, is to gird yourself with rejection-proof steel, never give up and never stop working at the pace that works for you, and keep your mind open to opportunity.

Keep your mind open long enough, and opportunity may well come flying in to roost.

bearing_vs_baring_vs_barring_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Bearing vs. Baring vs. Barring (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use bearing vs. baring vs. barring on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

15_things_a_writer_should_never_do_zachary_petit

15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Former Writer's Digest managing editor Zachary Petit shares his list of 15 things a writer should never do, based on interviews with successful authors as well as his own occasional literary forays and flails.

Green_10:26

Evie Green: Imaginary Friends and Allowing Change

Author Evie Green explains why she was surprised to end writing a horror novel and how she learned to trust the editorial process.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The 3 Prime Rules of Horror Writing, Contest Deadlines, and More!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series! There's always so much happening in the Writer's Digest universe that even staff members have trouble keeping up. So we're going to start collecting what's on the horizon to make it easier for everyone to know what's happening and when.

Bell_10:25

Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.