First, though, the spoiler: I am beyond overjoyed to announce that I have signed with Peter Knapp of The Park Literary Group. And I do mean "beyond overjoyed." I have not simply "found an agent." I have found a MATCH. But not to get ahead of myself.
Backtrack to December, 2011. That's when I began querying a MG
So, on December 28, 2011, I began querying agents. Yes, during Christmas vacation, yet on January 2 I had a full request in my inbox. I sent out more queries, and got more requests. Rejections began to trickle in. "I didn't fall in love the way I'd need to, but I'm sure another agent will feel differently." Well, no, they basically all felt that same way. :) I researched more agents, sent out more queries. The request rate began to drop off. I researched more agents, sent out more queries. The response rate even to the queries dropped off. For some of the agents, of course, I had higher hopes than others, because they seemed like quite a good match, or the tone of their request had seemed especially chipper. Yet, over the course of 12 months, every single one of those queries, partials, or fulls either limped back home with an R or disappeared into the void. I sent my last batch of queries on October 31, 2012, and at year's end officially retired from querying the book. Now, since there is occasional math in this blog, and I like the stats and know that many of you do too, here they are:
- Queries -- 85
- Partials -- 16
- Fulls -- 8
- Rejections -- 14 personal, 25 form
- Offers -- 0
- Time span -- 1 year
I was both excited and nervous about getting back into querying. Every query represents new possibilities, but the process can be so grueling. I started out querying those who had liked but not loved the previous book, and/or those who had said they'd gladly look at more work. The result? Form Rs. I really zeroed in on agents who were asking for my type of book, which was a much easier task with a mystery than it had been with a futuristic. I sent out a few more queries. No thanks. I went into a bit of a slump. The new book, which I thought was better than the previous and more marketable to boot, was meeting with a deafening silence. No initial flurry of requests like the dystopian had gotten. Yes, it was a bit early to be panicking, but I felt like I was seeing the handwriting on the wall: every response will always be an R, and that will never change.
More agent research. I began to look very closely at Peter Knapp. Hmm. He wanted what I wrote. We had a LOT of the same tastes. Everything I could find about him online spoke well of him, from his interviews, to his critiques in WriteOnCon forums, to his Twitter account, to his other clients' "how I got my agent" stories. This is going to sound crazy, and easy to say in hindsight, but I thought something like, "If this is not a match, I'm not sure how to find one." Then I went to his blog and found its title: "The Emperor of Ice Cream." What? Books AND ice cream? I began to hear Twilight Zone music. I told myself to keep a lid on it, and sent him a query on May 30.
On June 10, I checked email on my phone and there was his name in my inbox. Now, I've developed a pretty thick skin, and, outside of the aforementioned slump, I've learned to let most Rs bounce right off. But there are those you know will sting if they come back as Rs, and this was one. I took a few deep breaths, leaned on the wall, and opened it. It was a full request. One that sounded like he really had enjoyed the sample pages. I imagine I was wearing a silly smile as I fired the full back through cyberspace. This was a Monday, and I even dared hope he might find time during the following weekend to read it. A girl can dream, right?
One week later, the morning of Monday, June 17, my critique group met. Afterwards, I checked email on my phone again, and there was his name in my inbox. Heart-attack time, right? Well, it might have been, but right above that email, time-stamped something like 13 minutes later, was the subject line "Peter Knapp is now following you on Twitter." Suddenly, my heart had wings. If he was now following me on Twitter, how bad could it be? I opened the email. It was a long, detailed, complimentary letter about my book, which he had read the night before, and could we talk on Tuesday? Yes, we could! And we did, for an hour and a half, and it couldn't possibly have gone better. As I had no other partials or fulls out, I was free to accept his offer, and, after a great email exchange with one of his clients, I did exactly that. Again, here are the stats:
- Queries -- 12; Pete was the 12th. Did I mention 12 is my favorite number? For real?
- Partials -- 0
- Fulls -- 1
- Rejections -- 0 personal, 4 form
- Offers -- 1
- Time span -- 6 weeks
So this is what they mean by "a match." And what they mean by "trust your gut." The RIGHT agent is so worth the wait.