Getting a Literary Agent – Part 3


After 39 rejections, my 40th query letter was met with a “hey, this wasn’t horrible!” I immediately went into hyperactive rabbit mode. After reading my first three chapters, a literary agent was asking to read my full manuscript- AHHHHHHH!

I sent off the file and tried not to check my email every few minutes for a response (at which I failed completely).

A month later, I received a quick email:

I really enjoyed your story. Are you free to talk?

AM I FREE? I would have straight-up cancelled my own birthday party to make time for a call, because I was borderline hysterical to hear this feedback. Was this it? Was I going to be signed? Was I standing on the brink of becoming a published author?

In a word? No. Well, not yet.

The agent, Jess, liked my story; she also had some ideas on how it could be stronger. She sent me a long letter detailing the story’s strengths, and areas she’d like to see expanded. Was I willing to do another draft?

Now, obviously my lifelong dream has been to see my book on the shelves, but that doesn’t mean I was willing to totally transform my ideas to conform to someone else’s vision. Not to say that what I’d written was perfect: of course not. Even though I’d already gone through several edits myself, I’d never assume there wasn’t room for improvement. I just didn’t want to see my work strained into a filtered version of itself.

Luckily, Jess’ suggestions were incredibly thoughtful and completely inline with what I’d written. I agreed to make more edits, and a month later, I sent her the next draft. 

Shortly after, she called to offer me representation. And then I proceeded to sob in the middle of my kitchen. 

Six months after I’d started researching how to get a literary agent, I’d done it. And going through the extra revisions was a blessing, because it helped me to know that Jess and I would make a good partnership. She didn’t ask me to change; she pushed me to be better. She was already acting as my champion, which is exactly what an agent should do. 

So what happens after you’ve been signed? Find out next time! 


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