If you’ve been following me through the Agent Audition Challenge, you’ve been with me since November of 2020. I got the answer in November of 2022. It’s true – nothing in the Kidlit world moves fast.
Part 1 – A Little History: I wanted to write this post since I got the answer back in November, but sometimes it’s better to wait.
I thought I’d take you back in time to the beginning of my journey. The simplest way – with links to the posts I’ve written. It all started with this one from 11/7/21.
The link and the title: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/auditioning-for-an-agent
I wrote this post on 12/29/20. I was 2 months into the challenge, with 2 months to go – the halfway point. Its title and link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog//the-agent-audition-challenge-february-is-coming
This one appeared 7/21/21. I had 3 of the 4 manuscripts agent-ready, but I still wasn’t done. It also includes my disappointment over missing my February deadline. The title and link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/the-agent-audition-challenge-closing-in-on-the-finish
The final post – the end of the fantastic voyage. I emailed in all 4 manuscripts. Now the waiting began. The last title and link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/my-fantastic-voyage-from-october-2020-to-october-2021
Part 2 – The Second Voyage, to the Answer: This was a quiet journey. No posts to tell you how it was going. It was a journey of emails, where I stayed quiet, where I waited for an answer. Now, I can tell you my story.
This agent is worth waiting for. She’s considered a dream agent in the Kidlit world. Three or four of my critique partners have queried her, and she’s picky about the authors she represents. I would be too.
The biggest reason I’m waiting – my safety story. I’ve queried other agents, and they’ve said no. I believe in this story. I think it’s the most important one I’ve written. If an agent can’t take us on, then I can’t take them on either . . . so I waited.
I didn’t just sit and wait during that year. I sent other queries, to other agents. I also emailed two nudges to that dream agent. That’s an email that basically asks, what do you think – yes, no, or maybe so?
I sent the first one in April after learning she had a death in her family. I mentioned that in the first part of my nudge. She thanked me for my words. She also said my manuscripts were on her to-do list.
Time passed. I waited until July to try again. It was time to ask for her final answer. I also decided to offer her a new story that I hoped, would help her say yes.
It was this one, Becoming You. It started as 50 words. By July it had grown to 77, and it had been through 19 revisions. The agent said yes to the story. She emailed back later to say she was glad I’d sent it.
On August 1st, I got a detailed critique on each of the 4 picture book manuscripts I’d sent. She didn’t say yes, or no. There was interest, but I hadn’t made the sale. I decided to offer an R & R – Revise and Resend – on one or two of the manuscripts, using her notes.
Her answer - YES! She asked for Becoming You and the Nativity story. Frankly, Becoming You scared me. It’s so short, so tight. It’s not a poem, but it’s definitely lyrical. I talked to my mentor Callie, who said I could do it . . . in a month. So I emailed the agent back, and we got to work.
Callie helped me set up a schedule to revise both manuscripts. I had revision goals to meet each week. I met with Callie. She reviewed my revisions, and we made changes to the manuscript and schedule as needed.
I finished Nativity the third week of September, but Becoming needed more tweaking. I emailed and asked for more time, and my dream agent said sure.
She’s like me . . . she wants to get the story right. That’s another reason she’s a dream agent. The things I’ve learned from this challenge, like nudging, waiting, and revising, they’re teaching me how to become a dream client.
I sent both manuscripts off on October 12th, after Callie thought Becoming was ready. I waited until the end of the month before sending one last nudge.
On November 7th, I got my final answer – No, but . . .
Part 3 – The Rest of the Answer, plus My Plans for the Future: The final answer – No, but not because my dream agent doesn’t see the potential in me. She saw things to revise in both manuscripts. She looked at her schedule and decided she didn’t have the time to add me to her client list. It’s the nicest rejection I’ve ever gotten.
She also offered two options I’ve never received before. First she opened the door for me to query one of her colleagues. I’ve already decided who I’d like to email in January. I think my writing style is a good fit for her.
My dream agent also offered me the chance to query her next fall, if I haven’t found representation. It’s very kind, but it also says that she sees value in my work. It’s my best rejection ever!
To celebrate I bought myself a cardigan. Whenever I wear it, I’ll remember this adventure. I’ve learned so much over the last two years, and all five of my manuscripts are better because of it.
The plan for the future – my dream is to have an agent by December 2023. That’s completely out of my control, but there are things I can do to help it come true.
1. Apply to an agent every month. I belong to 12x12. That means every month I can look at two potential agents. I’ll query the one who seems closest to my dream agent. They may not be a perfect fit, but, maybe they are.
2. I’ll check the monthly publishing newsletters to find the agents who are making book deals. I’ll research them to find out who’s the best fit for me and my writing style. My goal is to query at least one agent a month. More – even better.
3. I’ll track my queries and nudge agents when it’s time.
4. I’ll keep writing. The more manuscripts I can get ready for submission, the better.
5. I’ll be working with my mentor, Callie, at least once a month to polish manuscripts. My job – to become someone’s dream client.
6. I’ll pray every day that I find my dream agent. Here’s to the next voyage, in 2023!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!