"How I Got My Agent" is a 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.
Lynn Rush began her writing career in 2008,
since then producing fourteen paranormal romance
novels. She is actively involved with Romance
Writers of America (RWA) and its special interest
chapter Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P).
She enjoys the Arizona sunshine by road biking
with her husband going on jogs with her loveable
Shetland Sheep dogs. See her blog here.
In May of 2008, I found myself holding an 87,000-word novel, my first, and had no clue what to do next. Never had I wanted to be a writer. Never had I taken a writing class. Never had I dreamed of becoming a published author. But an idea hit me like a Mack truck, so I wrote. But then what? I followed some advice of a friend and joined critique group—another first for me.
Oh boy, that first critique was tough. I’ll never forget the comment at the top of my submission, “Have you ever heard of Point Of View?” Ouch! I can laugh about it now, but then . . . not so much. But I plowed through, learned what I could about the craft, and became a better writer because of that one comment. It spurred me on to write.
And write. . .
I KEPT WRITING
I’d queried that first novel (yikes—it so was not ready) but then I learned more about the industry and decided to hold off doing any more queries and just write for a while. By my fourth and fifth novels, I started getting the hang of it. I found a few solid critique partners, attended a couple writing conferences, and soaked up everything I could learn about the industry from authors willing to talk to a newbie.
And I kept writing. I queried a couple of the books I’d written during that time of learning. I got some requests, finaled in a couple contests, but nothing panned out as far as getting an agent.
TENTH TIME'S THE CHARM
It was my tenth book that something finally clicked. I’d been watching @TribeLit on Twitter and loved the interactions I’d been seeing, so I investigated and decided to give them a try. I queried my novel, Heaven’s Fire, to Cari Foulk at Tribe Literary Agency. Within a few weeks she e-mailed and requested the full manuscript.
A few days later I got The Call. Cari told me she was interested in representing me and we chatted for a while. I loved her enthusiasm and her editorial background. Despite talking on the phone, I could literally feel her excitement ripple through the earpiece. I knew right then it was a match because I could tell she was dedicated. But what sold me was her desire to manage my career, not just one book. And since I had so many written, I, too, was looking for a long-term partner.
She said to think about it a couple days and we’d talk again. During this time, one of my other novels won a writing contest that included a publishing contract, and a different novel finaled in a different contest and the editor judging it requested the full manuscript. So, if Cari and I decided to start working together, we’d hit the floor running for sure. The day came when we touched base again, and it was decided. I signed with Tribe Literary Agency, and yes, we did hit the floor running. It’s been a crazy ride, but a fun one.
To all those aspiring to get an agent, just keep on writing and some day the right person will come along and things will click. Until then, write on!
If you're writing fiction and want to
make your prose sizzle, check out
The Fire in Fiction by agent Donald Maass.