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.
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. 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*