As a querying writer, we all dream of the day we get "the" email or call from an agent telling us how much they loved your book, how they can't wait to work with you, and most importantly those beautiful words "offer of representation." I've seen so many of these "how I got my agent" blog posts, but my story a little different...
First off, I'd been in Seattle the week before at PNWA. The picture below is of me with my critique partners Lindsay and Vanessa I'd done the pitching thing, and I had a number of queries out already, but I'd been waiting and waiting (as these things take time). A couple weeks before I'd gotten an email from Louise Fury after I'd emailed one of her colleagues, asking if she could take a look at my full manuscript. Of course, I'd said yes, sent it along, and did my best to forget about it.
The following weekend was our local conference. For those of you who don't know, I live in Alaska, and we do a conference every year combining three organizations (Alaska Writers Guild, Alaska Romance Writers of America, and SCBWI Alaska)- it's a great conference, but this year I was presenting about pitching and helping moderate. Part of that meant, as staff, I got to chat up the agents/editors/writers we brought up. Namely *cough cough* Jessica Faust and Clelia Gore *cough cough*.
On the last night, after a lovely dinner and drinks with a scenic view, I was the person taking them both back to their hotel for the night. I know what you're thinking- I spent the whole time pitching them my novel, and they fell so in love with it that they actually battled right then and there to be the one to represent me.
You'd be wrong.
First off, that's not cool. They're people, and I didn't talk about my book until WAY later, but I'll get to that.
After dropping them off, I glanced down at my phone. I noticed that I had three missed emails, which is weird, because it was late at night and usually I don't get emails after 6:00pm. My friends are all grandmas. Before driving off, I checked, and noticed one from Louise. Now most querying writers can relate to knowing, just knowing, it's another rejection. So as I opened my email, on the heels of back to back conferences, I prepared myself for the words we always see in these emails.
Only this one was different. This one was Louise gushing about the manuscript, saying that she and her assistant compared the love interest in MY book to PETER KAVINSKY! I honestly didn't know what to do, but I looked up, and Clelia was just walking into the hotel after Jessica. And me, being me and NEEDING to tell someone that very second, I jumped out of my car and screamed for Clelia.
That's when things got a little embarrassing. I may have had trouble breathing, or talking, and there may have been tears, but that's neither here nor there. They were both too great, congratulating me, and while I was trying to figure out how I was going to drive home with that much adrenaline, Jessica said "Oh no! We're going out for champagne!"
So go out we did. First we got champagne at Spenard Roadhouse. I sat at the bar, sipping champagne out of a can, and telling them all about my book. They were into it, listening intently as I discussed my journey and what led me to this particular book, and this subject and format. They cheered me on, they supported me, and we talked about all the things that happen in this world of agenting, and editing, and writing
After Spenard Roadhouse kicked us out (they were closing), and the Alaska Writers Guild president suggested I take them to Chilkoot Charlie's, I did.
Now those of you who don't live in Alaska aren't familiar with Koots. Koots is like five dive bars in one. Including one room, The Bird House, which is covered wall to wall (and ceiling) with underwear and bras. I'm not kidding. You can't make this up, but I'll tell you, it's an experience. And it was there, beneath a bunch of poor choices, that we bonded further, talking about my book, my plans for the future, and gushing countless times over the contents of Louise's email to me. They gushed with me as if they hadn't been on Louise's side a ton of times.
Beyond getting an agent at an amazing agency of who champions my book, I feel like I made two lifelong friends. I couldn't have written this differently if I tried. At the end of the day, the two people who were with me when I got the news, were the same two people who checked in with me constantly during the following weeks. The same two people who cried at a bar WITH me when I told them how the story ends. The same two people who braved Koots to celebrate with me, and the same people I'll call friends forever.