Monday, July 11, 2011

The Big, Long Story of How I Got Poelled

**I'm sorry the formatting is all wonky on this one -- NO IDEA!**

I gave you the short version the other day, but here's the long version of how I recently signed with Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency (for those of you who asked for italthough, you may regret it!!):  

This dates back to almost two years ago, at the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop in ’09.
One morning, I had a crit session with agent of awesome Holly Root of Waxman Literary Agency and a pitch session with another fabulous agent. I was nervous because these were going to be my first one-on-ones with agents—ever. And, as anyone who has ever pitched knows, it’s frakking scary!
A friend of mine and I sat down at this one table at breakfastand Barbara Poelle and Holly Root were sitting at it. Great choice, Nick!  I wanted to kill himmmmm.

Barbara: Where the eff did you get that dress? It’s fantastic! Is that a Diana von Furstenberg?
Me: Um, no? It was $25 from Target.
Barbara: WHAT? I will buy that dress off you right now. Seriously. I’ll give you, like, $200.
Me: Well, I kind of need it because I’m about to have a critique with Holly (points to Holly Root) . . . but, um, thanks?

During that breakfast, Holly and Barbara were nothing short of awesome, and Barbara even asked someone else who wrote YA at the table for his full. She said she doesn’t accept queries for YA, but she takes it on referrals and really liked his idea. I was too nervous about my crit & pitch session to dwell on that—but, in the end, I never queried Barbara with my first MS because of that conversation. She only takes YA on referral, and I had no referral. Why try?

For some reason, with this MS, I got a little more . . . ballsy. I felt really good about it—which scared the crap outta me—and I was getting a decent amount of requests all at once, it seemed. So, just for the heck of it, I queried Barbara—and actually mentioned THE DRESS in my opener, since that would be the only possible way she’d remember me—but whyyyy would she remember that? I also said I knew she didn't rep YA without a referral, but . . . (all things you're not supposed to do, I know).

I actually forwarded the query to a few of my friends right after I sent it and was all, LOOK AT HOW LOOPY I AM—LOOK WHAT I JUST SENT.
Well, Barbara did remember—she laughed (hahahaha in the e-mail) and asked for the full. Right away.
Now, the publishing industry seemed to slow wayyyy down around the end of March. There was the Bologna Fair and tons of book fests and conferences and workshops, and agents seemed to be busy, busy, busy with all of that. I didn’t get a ton more requests—and I hardly got any rejections—so I just waited. And waited. And I did a revision. And I did another thing you’re probably not supposed to do; I sent the revision to the agents who had my full (Barbara among them).
I still heard just about nothing—only three of the agents to whom I’d sent the revision even acknowledged they’d received it—so I waited some more. And immersed myself in other projects I have going on.

I went back and forth: 
Do I revise again? 
Do I write the shiny new manuscript I loosely plotted? 
In the end, with the help of some of my insanely brilliant and talented CPs, I decided to, in fact, revise again.
Which brings me to two weeks ago . . .
I was getting ready to go to RWA, scrambling to complete a revision; however, as hard as I worked, the Sunday before the conference, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to be able to complete it by Tuesday (when I was leaving). I convinced myself that this was OK. (Well, I didn't really convince myself of that, but there was nothing I could do about it. It was going to have to be OK. So I just drank more and all was well.)

Sunday night, just as I was at the brink of insanity over all the laundry and packing and stuff I had to do before the trip, I got an e-mail from Barbara Poelle that I was SURE was going to be a rejection.  She had e-mailed about 10 days earlier (and I thought *that* was going to be a rejection too) to say that my MS was making its way up the queue. 
My immediate thoughts:  
Ohhhhh, she would be so awesome to have as an agent! 
I really need to get this revision done so I can get it to her 
before she inevitably rejects meeee! 

But seriously. I have NEVER had an agent check in with me like that to remind me they were alive, so I thought it was muy cool of her—and that lit a fire under me. I wanted to finish the revision before she could reject me . . . 
. . . which was why, when I saw the e-mail come in, I was convinced it was a big fat R.
BUT! She wanted to talk to me on the phone. The PHONE! And you know what that means!*
*Actually, I didn't. Because I was convinced it meant she wanted to reject me over the phone. My amazing wonderful FANTASTIC friends didn't think so, but I did. Or, let me say it another way—I didn’t necessarily believe she wanted to reject me over the phone . . . but I didn’t want to allow myself to believe she was calling to offer me representation because, if she wasn’t, that would just be chain-smoke-yourself-into-oblivion depressing.

However, she offered in the first twenty seconds—after she said:  
 “So, you’re packing for RWA—are you packing my dress?!”

The rest wasn’t exactly history, though. I still had my full out with five other agents—and one OMG-fantastic one ALSO offered! Only Cambria Dillon and Karen Hooper can attest to how torn up I was over this because they were the ones who stayed up with me, waiting to talk to Agent #2, even though they were dead tired. They were the ones who listened to me weigh my options and stress. 

Karen was the one texting me from the other side of the room at 5:30 in the morning when everyone else was asleep. 
Cambria was the one spooning me . . . er.

In the end, I chose Barbara because she felt the most right to me. I feel like I can have the kind of author-agent relationship with her I’ve always dreamed of. Corny as that sounds, it’s true.
My agent (!!!) Barbara Poelle & me!

And I couldn’t be happier with my decision. :D

Also?  I have some of the BEST writer friends ever.  Like seriously. You don't even know how verklempt  I am right now as I type this. Thank you to EVERYONE  who was there for me to celebrate, to hypothesize,  and to just plain hold my hand.
Here are some pics of everything as it went down!
Oh, hai! I'm scared to death to go to this agency party and sign!!!!!
Karen really took on the "mom" role, making me stop to take pics every two feet. *love* And, yes -- this is THE DRESS. :)
Irene Goodman (R) and Barbara Poelle (C) greeting me with a SEE MY AGENT button!
Me, pretending to read the contract (sooo nervous!) while Barbara tells me what I'm pretending to read.
That's over -- who's read to celebrate??
Thank you girls so much for being there with me!!!!!! <3 <3
Also ALSO? 

How spoiled am I that I got to not only 
meet my agent IN PERSON 
 but also SIGN in person??  So spoiled, 
I cannot even tell you.  

I am still beyond floored that this all happened -- 
and if it weren't for the photo documentation, 
I am not sure I'd even believe it myself.

Friday, July 8, 2011

News: I Have an Agent!

Hi, dudes!  Long time no post, eh?  Well, it will probably be a bit longer after this one, as I'm out of town for a wedding this weekend, but I have some news.

So, some stuff happened last week. Like. A lot of stuff.

If you don't want to hear a big long (TWSS) story, *spoiler alert* I signed with Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency!

If you DO want to hear a big long story, stop back in a day or two, and I will totes be posting it.