"How I Got My Agent" is a new recurring feature on the GLA blog. I find it fascinating to see the exact road people took that landed them with a rep. Seeing the things people did right vs. what they did wrong (highs and the lows) can help other scribes who are on the same journey. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk specifics.
This installment of "How I
Got My Agent" is by
Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, who
writes children's books.
Though I didn't have an agent when I first began to write, I was lucky enough to get my work published. Over the course of six years, thirteen of my books - twelve children’s activity books and one middle grade novel – came to life. It wasn’t that I didn’t want an agent – I did, and had queried a half-dozen or so over the years. It’s just that other things fell into place first.
THE SCBWI CONFERENCE
In February 2008, I attended the annual SCBWI conference in New York. At a panel of agents addressing the state of the publishing industry (because there is always a panel of agents addressing the state of the publishing industry), I was very impressed with Tracey Adams of Adams Literary. Aside from the fact that she said she loved historical fiction (my favorite genre), she mentioned that the goal of Adams Literary was to produce beautiful children’s literature, and to work on building each of their client’s careers. That's music to writers' ears.
I queried her the moment I stepped off the plane back in Nashville. I was excited when she requested the full manuscript of my latest historical fiction story. But things weren't so simple.
UNDER REVIEW BY AN AGENT AND EDITOR
At that time, I was obligated to submit my book-in-progress to an editor I had worked with previously. The editor read it and requested big changes.I explained the circumstances to Adams Literary. "Would you mind waiting?" I asked, "while I made these changes?" They said they would wait. They said, in fact, “Enjoy the writing.”
Enjoy the writing! These people got it.
And thank goodness they are patient. Nearly a year later, I sent them a, “Hey! Remember me?” message. And yay – they did remember! After I sent in the revised manuscript, Josh Adams, Tracey’s husband, called a couple of weeks later to offer representation. I now feel like I can concentrate on becoming a better, stronger storyteller while they handle the rest. Adams Literary has, in just a few short months, taken my career in new and exciting directions. I thank my lucky stars that Tracey was presenting that day, and that Josh became my (fantastic! thorough! ever-patient!) agent.
As a final note, I say writers should know it’s never too late to follow up on interest. If someone likes your story, they will remember it. They will remember you. This is not to say that you should query an unfinished project. But if circumstances prevent you from following up immediately on a request, that doesn’t mean you should chuck that relationship. Finding someone who loves your story as much as you do is a treasure.
Writing your query? Check out The Writer's
Digest Guide to Query Letters. It's a great,
up-to-date resource for query letter writing.