How I Got My Literary Agent: Natalia Sylvester - Writer's Digest

How I Got My Literary Agent: Natalia Sylvester

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Natalia Sylvester, author of CHASING THE SUN. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. GIVEAWAY: Natalia is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Pizzos3 won.)
Author:
Publish date:

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Natalia Sylvester, author of CHASING THE SUN. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. 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.

GIVEAWAY: Natalia is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Pizzos3 won.)

natalia-sylvester-author-writer
chasing-the-sun-nove-cover

Natalia Sylvester is the author of CHASING THE SUN (New Harvest/Amazon
Publishing, June 2014). Born in Lima, Peru, she came to the U.S. at age four
and grew up in South Florida, where she received a B.A. in Creative Writing
from the University of Miami. A former magazine editor, Natalia now works
as a freelance journalist and copywriter. Her articles have appeared in Latina,
NBCLatino.com, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer magazines.
Find her on Twitter: @NataliaSylv.

There’s a long version and a short version of this story.

THE SHORT VERSION

I went to a writers' conference in 2010 and ended up getting offers of representation from two of the agents I met there.

THE LONG VERSION: ATTENDING A CONFERENCE

I attended the Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference in June 2010. I was just a light polish away from completing a final draft of my novel after having worked on it for nearly four years. I felt ready enough to start pitching agents.

What I wasn’t ready for was pitching it verbally. Though I’d practiced a short pitch in front of my mirror, my husband, and my dogs, I arrived at the conference a nervous wreck. It was a Friday night, and my 10-minute consultation with Brandi Bowles of Foundry Literary + Media was on Sunday. I resigned myself to practicing my pitch by my lonesome in the corner of the room when a fellow conference attendee approached me.

(Looking to attend a writers' conference? Start here.)

“So what’s your book about?” she asked. Within minutes, I realized this conference wasn’t just about networking with agents, it was about networking with other writers. Together with about four others, my new friend and I helped each other practice and hone our pitch. We worked out the kinks and the nerves. By the time Sunday rolled around I was feeling pretty confident. I sat down with Brandi and told her about my book.

And guess what? She didn’t offer me representation right then and there. What she did offer was feedback. Really great, spot-on suggestions for how I could make my work stronger before sending it out to agents.

I took it all in. Later that afternoon, when I had the chance to pitch another agent who requested I send him a full, I asked if he’d rather I send him the manuscript right away, or if it’d be okay if I took a couple of months to really polish it. “Always send the best work you can, even if it takes a little longer,” he said. It took this in, too.

Essentially, I left the conference with an important To-Do List:

1. Keep revising, taking into account the agents feedback I’d received.
2. Meet with my new writers' group that I’d met at the conference to get even more feedback.
3. Don’t rush. Query only when the book is ready.

Four months passed before I got through all these steps. I started querying in late October and within a few months had received offers from both Brandi and the other agent I’d met at the WLT Conference.

I call this the longer, more honest version of this story because the truth is this: You may not always walk away from a conference with an offer of representation. But if you keep your mind and ears open, you’ll definitely walk away with the tools necessary to get there.

GIVEAWAY: Natalia is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Pizzos3 won.)

W7013

If you're think in the middle of writing your novel, WD's
Story Building Collection Kit is 6 items rolled into one
bundle at 69% off. The kit's books & webinars focus on
plot, structure, character, showing & telling, world building
first pages, and more. Available while supplies last.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

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.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.