FAT VAMPIRE? Yeah, but there’s this agent stuff going on too…

Boy oh boy, let me tell you, my little muffin tops, this has been a HIGHLY EVENTFUL 2 weeks. First, I got my ARC of FAT VAMPIRRRRRRRRRRRRE! YEAH! It is, of course, 22 different varieties of awesome. Extremely inventive. Hilariously funny. Gratifyingly deadpan. It inspires a flood of conjoined adverbs and adjectives, let me tell you. I would like you all to thank Sarah Darer Littman on my behalf by purchasing a copy of her very new book, LIFE, AFTER, which was released today!!! Or, if you’re on Eastern time, um…yesterday? Whatever, go buy a copy.

This ARC of FAT VAMPIRE isn't even the best thing about this week. I know, that's crazy talk!

But there are some things in life which eclipse even the masterful comic wizardry of Adam Rex. I KNOW, but it’s actually true. As you know (yeah, yeah, you probably don’t know and don’t care, JUST HUMOR ME), I’ve been making what some people in this kidlit line of work like to refer to as “the journey toward publication.” Sounds grand, eh? Perhaps a little sensitive new-agey, but yo, are you aware whose blog you’re reading? I’m not, like, a firefighter or a bouncer or some such thing. I frequent tea houses. I listen to musicians like Belle & Sebastian. I write children’s books, for crying out loud. I am making the journey toward publication, although really (and here we start mixing it up, babies), in my mind there’s always been a preliminary journey to make first, and that’s the journey toward representation.

So I’ve been querying for, oh, I don’t know, not that long – maybe a year and a quarter? I did a round of revision on an exclusive between SCBWILA08 and noconferenceacronymjustMarch 09 (which ultimately resulted in a big fat R, which as I’ve said before, was an important rite of passage). Thrilling as it was to get that first request for a full – off a conference critique, no less – it was ultimately a bit fluky, because I hadn’t actually finished the manuscript at that time. I hadn’t paid anything close to enough dues. So I dove back into revising, started querying again, eventually did another round of revision with an agent, got another rejection off of that, kept querying, and then two weeks ago things went KABLOOEY and changed utterly.

I got an offer of representation. From a fabulous, well-known, highly-successful agent at a respected house! My first-ever offer of representation! Then I got another offer. And another. And another! There was a big-time cascade effect taking place, little grasshoppers, and I could hardly believe it. *sniff* I felt so loved.ย I had four offers of representation, which of course made me absolutely giddy, then turned me into an insufferable donkeybutt, then made me pass out because of all the hyper-fast respiratory activity. And then I had to choose, of course. HOW TO CHOOSE?

Could I choose by means of “best potential story about how I got my agent?” Because each one DID have a different story. One offer originated as a cold query. Another also started as a query, but with a referral, and ended up moving to another person within the same agency. Still another sprang from winning a Twitter query contest. And the final one was the result of an unsolicited request for pages after the agent in question read my blog.

No good, no good. I continued weighing the factors – sales record! Reputation! Relative intensity of praise given by their clients! Online presence! Response time! Eventually I hit the ones that mattered the most to me, however: the agent’s vision for my book, and my own gut instinct. One agent’s revision notes stood out, because they resonated in the tinny depths of my malformed brain in a way that the others didn’t. And I guess all the contributing factors actually did get absorbed into my psyche, because in the end I had something which I don’t always have in decision-making moments like this one: a gut feeling.

It was unmistakable, really. And so I put together all my little email messages, thanking all the offering agents but one for their consideration and expressing my genuine regrets at letting go of the opportunity to work with them. Then I accepted an offer of representation from the inimitable Ammi-Joan Paquette, associate agent at the Erin Murphy Literary Agency and a rapidly ascending superstar in the world of children’s publishing.

Can I tell you that I am just ecstatic? I’m absolutely thrilled to have Joan in my corner, and it’s a gigantic bonus to be joining EMLA, which is an agency that I’ve cast a longing eye toward more than once in the past. I’m lucky enough to be acquainted with a few EMLA authors, and they’ve been wonderfully supportive and encouraging, without exception. I’m in good company. It’s entirely possible that they’re all in a little bit of bad company now, but you know, Imma let ’em get used to it, because I like it here, and I’m gonna stick around a while.

*arms raised in a V*


68 thoughts on “FAT VAMPIRE? Yeah, but there’s this agent stuff going on too…

    1. Glad you liked it Weronika, and thanks again! I am never opposed to multiple congratulations, btw. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Fat congratulations Mike!
    (You know, I think you’re my idol, but don’t let it go to your head dude. ;0)
    I’m looking forward to all your awesomeness to come! Woot!

    1. *chip chip* Sorry Heather, I can’t answer right now – I need to keep working on this statue of myself, I know you want to put it in your front yard ASAP… (and thanks!)

  2. Huge congrats! I love reading stories like yours about how the hard slog eventually results in something wonderful. Looking forward to more wonderful to come ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Karen! I have been working hard, but I also know that this part did happen relatively quickly for me, and I’m grateful for that.

  3. Do you accept congratulations from basically total strangers? Is it normal that I’ve only known you in “blogosphere” and I am so happy for you? Well, I don’t care whether or not it’s normal — and I don’t care that I don’t really know you — somehow, I have a feeling that you’re going to be great at that whole “auteur” thing — yes, I think you’re going to be awesome! Way to go, Mike! Bravo!!!!! What’s the represented book about, may we ask?

    1. I ACCEPT. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Katia! And you know, I may do a query post or something soon, but in a nutshell, it’s about 3 dorky guys who discover that the secret identity of their hometown superhero Captain Stupendous is a 12-year-old girl.

  4. Congratulations! I still get a little high when I email my agent and she emails me back in 30 seconds, and it occurs to me that I spent literally MONTHS of my life waiting to hear from any agent at all. Best of luck for short subs and quick pubs!

  5. Not to sound all prescient or anything, but your success seemed inevitable to me. You work like a demon, a happy, happy demon. Yep. You have always been a success.

    1. I acknowledge the spooky awesomeness of your prescient abilities. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks Blythe, I really appreciate the kind words.

    1. Hi Karen, thanks! Three dorky guys, one musclebound superhero, one loudmouth supervillain, a scientist dad, and a girl who knows karate…it’s called THE CAPTAIN STUPENDOUS FAN CLUB.

      1. Oh, OK. I thought you mentioned something about Frankenstein before. I think my son will really like your book!

    1. Oh well now, genius, might be overstating it…but I ACCEPT YOUR COMPLIMENT ANYWAY. Thanks! And don’t forget Jacqui, you already won an advance copy, so you’ll be one of the first!

  6. Woo-freakin’-hoo!!!!!

    We are agent mates…secret agent mates…secret agent mates…and I wish I knew the rest of the secret agent man tune to write a good parody. Alas, I leave you with a second woo-freakin’-hoo!!!!!

  7. Hey Mike,
    New reader here, by way of someone trash-talking you (but not really) on Twitter about this new step in your writing life. Many congrats!

    And, nice Pearl Jam reference!
    [Wordpress chest-bump],

    1. Ehh, I’m being a little bit of a donkeybutt about it, Donna, but I’m trying to keep it under control. And thanks! (Congrats on HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL, btw!)

  8. I’m still doing happy dances for you. I’m so thrilled about your news. Four offers?!!! Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! And your book sounds awesome!

  9. Wow, how’d you get an ARC of Fat Vampire? That’s awesome. The other news is all right too, I guess. I mean, if you have to go and be all successful and stuff.


    That’s great news. I had the chance to speak with Ammi-Joan, very briefly, at the NESCBWI10 and she was just great. You’re in good hands, and she’s done well signing you. Win-win. Actually Win-Win-Win because someday we’ll be reading Captain Stupendous. And fighting over ARCs. I can imagine the awesome contests coming our way. What? Best superhero costume gets an arc?

    And, in the parlance of our youth, Dude, four offers? That’s like four critical hits in a row!

    After the first offer did you let the others know you had one on the table, or did they magically conflate because you howled at the moon in a desolate LA park? Because, I can howl too if necessary.

    1. And yeah, I got the first offer, notified the other agents, and the rest of the offers came in response. Joan was actually thethird offer.

  10. YAY, MIKE! That’s fantastic. Really, you deserve it after all that hard work and forcing us lowly minion types to bow down to you and everything.

    Which we would do anyway, since you’re so amazing…

    Contest? Free ARCs? Can’t wait.

    1. Aw, you’re making me blush, Joanne. Okay, not really. Guys don’t tend to blush, right? And I am, of course, a typical hirsute grunting guy’s guyMWAHAHAHAHAHA, oh, sorry, I just couldn’t maintain that…

  11. Congrats again, Mike!! Thanks for sharing the details! It’s nice to have choices and I’m glad you went with your gut. That’s what I did too when I had to choose:-)

    1. Thanks Paul! Yeah, it was nice to have a really strong gut feeling about it, I don’t always get that.

    1. Hey Anne, actually I’ve inflicted the terror of my full countenance on the world a few times in vlog posts! But I’m sure I’ll drop the “Kilroy Was Here” approach in photographs sooner rather than later.

      1. Akshully, it’s a memorable schtick and will come in handy when you want to pass unrecognized amongst the masses. I’m just envious that you thought of it first.

        I’m a fine one to talk, aren’t I, hiding as I am behind a 160-pt Bodoni Ultra Bold A…

  12. I’m here to say: Awesome! Awesome! again, Mike, just cuz I like being redundant about …er *Awesome* things! (And CONGRATS!)

    P.S. Where are you hiding this pic of yourself: *arms raised in a V*?? ;-)!

    1. Thanks Edna! The arms raised in a V? It’s purely a pose of the mind. It’s an INTELLECTUAL pose of victory! in other words, it’s as conceptual and weird as everything else I do…

  13. This was so much fun to read about. I heard it first on the blue boards, but I loved hearing all the juicy details. What an exciting time for you! Congratulations again, Mike! And I’m curious to know, which of the four query methods that you mentioned was the one with Ammi-Joan Paquette?

    1. Hi Jenn, thanks! Joan was the one who solicited pages after reading my blog, which worked out really well for me since EMLA only takes referrals and conference submissions otherwise…

  14. Dude! AWESOME!!!

    I mean, yeah, you got all of us in your corner — and frankly, it’s getting a bit elbow-y up in here — but now you got someone who can actually get your book to a reader. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats!

    1. Thanks Shan! Yep, it’s reeeeaaally nice to have someone on my side who can get eyeballs on the book, and do all that other business-oriented stuff too…

  15. Mike??? How ON EARTH did I miss this? I know I’ve been away, I know I’m only sporadically checking the blogosphere lately but COME ON. The Emperor has landed a fabulous agent??!!! Holy smokes, Batman, this is such supremely awesome news that I can only beg your forgiveness for my cluelessness. Your Canadian minion is bereft. I’m going to have to send you some maple syrup.
    Seriously, Mike, I’m so very, very thrilled for you! Congratulations!!!

    1. Thanks Nelsa! I do understand that not everybody is breathlessly following my every single move, so I forgive you. THIS TIME… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Seriously, thanks, I’ve always appreciated your support and encouragement!

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