Skip to main content

How I Got My Agent: Laura Spinella

"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. 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. Laura Spinella’s debut novel is Beautiful Disaster (Jan 2011). The Long Island native is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and now currently writes from Massachusetts, where she lives with her family.

"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.

Laura is excited to give away a free book to one random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US48 to receive the print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before. (Update: Margie won.)

Image placeholder title
Image placeholder title

Laura Spinella's debut novel is Beautiful Disaster
(Jan 2011). The Long Island native is a graduate of
the University of Georgia, and now currently writes
from Massachusetts, where she lives with her family.
Visit her website for upcoming book signing events.
You can also read her blog where you'll find
an excerpt from her novel.

A JOB VS. A CALLING

Hi, my name is Laura, and I’m a writer. Even with a debut novel at hand, uttering those words aloud smacks of an AA meeting. Interestingly enough, I have a degree in journalism. I’ve written for newspapers and magazines for years. But those were jobs. Novelist is a calling. And while I was working my way to here, I’d be more apt to describe myself as somebody’s mother, writer following like the caboose on a train. It’s cute, it’s red, it’s irrelevant to the train’s function.

We were in Las Vegas about six years ago. I’d just completed my second novel, and before leaving received a request from a big time publisher, asking to read the full manuscript. Bursting on the inside, I still couldn’t manage an audible outward conversation. When the woman with whom we were dining—a business associate of my husband who I did not know—asked what I did for a living, I shoved a bite of salad into my mouth and mumbled, “I’m a writer.” In turn, she crinkled her brow, smiled, and asked, “What kind of horses do you ride?” I don’t know the difference between an Arabian and a pack mule, but I managed to carry on the rest of conversation as if I were Annie Oakley.

INVIGORATED BY A POSITIVE REJECTION

Not too many weeks later, I received what’s known as a positive rejection letter from the big time publisher. Really, it was exactly what I needed. I wasn’t ready for publication. After a small but moving pity party, I went back to work, back to practicing on paper, as well as into the mirror, the profession I claimed. I wrote two more books, and read a bunch more. I got better; I learned.

I went to writers’ conferences. I met people who know more than I ever will about the written word. I gathered a shoebox full of rejections, some form letters, some bearing the proverbial dangling carrot: “We really enjoyed this, but are going to pass…” I lived off them. And I’ll be honest, many encouraged me, but some ticked me off so much I used them as fuel for my fire.

AN AGENT'S REVISIONS LEAD TO AN OFFER

I got an e-mail from Susan Ginsburg, an agent at Writers House. She was intrigued by the draft, but
ultimately rejected it. Because I asked, Susan very graciously
suggested possible revisions. I resubmitted about a year later, and off
we went with almost an immediate offer from Berkley.

Concerning Writers House, I have to say it's an awe-inspiring place that will push you to strive for the next level. I am a writer—wait, strike that. I am a published author. There, that almost sounded fluid. I understand that the guarantee of success is nil, and what I’ve been awarded is an at bat in the literary big leagues. But I will say this about my book: Beautiful Disaster is a tale about what happens when love is greater than honor or friendship or the passing of time. I hope you enjoy it.

Laura is excited to give away a free book to one random commenter. Comment within one week; winners must live in Canada/US48 to receive the print book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you've won before.(Update: Margie won.)

Image placeholder title

Writing fiction? Get all of WD's popular
"Elements of Fiction" books in
one discount bundle. It's a great
comprehensive starter set for writers.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 610

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a "different way of seeing the world" poem.

How To Research Topics Like a Journalist

How To Research Topics Like a Journalist

From in-person interviews to scouring the web for credible sources, journalist Alison Hill shares tips on how to research topics like a journalist.

Can I Have Your Attention?

Can I Have Your Attention?

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, an announcement is about to change the course of history.

Glenn Boozan: On the Funny Side of Parenting

Glenn Boozan: On the Funny Side of Parenting

Emmy nominated comedy writer Glenn Boozan discusses how a funny piece of perspective turned into her new humor book, There Are Moms Way Worse Than You.

From Script

Adapting True Crime and True Stories for Television (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with writers and showrunners Robert Siegel and D.V. DeVincentis (“Pam & Tommy”), Patrick Macmanus and Liz Hannah (“The Girl from Plainville”) who both have taken creative liberties in adapting true stories for a limited series.

Chanel Cleeton: On Reader Enthusiasm Conjuring Novel Ideas

Chanel Cleeton: On Reader Enthusiasm Conjuring Novel Ideas

Author Chanel Cleeton discusses how reader curiosity led her to write her new historical fiction novel, Our Last Days in Barcelona.

Writer's Digest Interview | Marlon James Quote

The Writer's Digest Interview: Marlon James

Booker Prize–winning author Marlon James talks about mythology and world-building in his character-driven epic Moon Witch, Spider King, the second book in his Dark Star Trilogy in this interview from the March/April 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: New Podcast Episode, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our newest podcast episode, your chance to be published, and more!

David Adams Cleveland: On Truth Revealing Itself in Historical Fiction

David Adams Cleveland: On Truth Revealing Itself in Historical Fiction

Award-winning novelist David Adams Cleveland discusses the timeliness of his new novel, Gods of Deception.