We have signed with Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management to represent our soon-to-be-retitled Young Adult Mystery. We are beyond excited to be working with Catherine. In case you don't know much about her (and you have some sort of aversion to clicking on links), her clients include New York Times bestselling author Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, and future New York Times bestselling author (and our new BFF), Becca Fitzpatrick whose debut, Hush, Hush sounds absolutely amazing. Bottom line, Catherine kicks some serious ass and her vision for our book pretty much blew us away, so we're thrilled/elated/overjoyed to be working with her.
Anyways, because we've been obsessing over other writer's stories about landing an agent for the past 9 months (stories of writers getting "the call" from agents is pretty much porn for aspiring unagented authors) we'll share our story here. Feel free to stop reading at any time because this might get long...
It was a hot, summer night and Laura and I were in the middle of one of our many phone conversations about how we hated our jobs (or lack thereof) and wanted to do something cool with our lives that would still allow us lots of time with the kids. We dismissed several ideas for various reasons including:
- Opening up a clothing boutique (too much capital expenditure up front);
- Starting a website to create photo albums for kids (BORING); and
- Opening up a movie theater that only shows matinees and chick flicks and has childcare facilities (I still think this idea is brilliant and someone will make a ton of money off of it, sadly it just won't be Laura and I).
Then one of us (can't even remember who) started lamenting about how cool it would be to write a book. We've always loved to read and Laura taught middle school English, and we had discussed it a few times in the past, but it just felt impossible. I mean, we'd never written anything longer than 5 pages in our entire lives (Ok, at this point I'm praying that Catherine isn't reading this...), but we had this idea for a book and it was a pretty great concept. Plus it was safe. We'd be updating a classic for modern-day teen consumption. Easy-peasy, right? Well, as it turns out it sort of was....we just started writing and writing and writing and within a couple months we had an entire book. We were actually a little shocked by the time we had completed our 55,000 word manuscript.
So we had friends read it. We had our friend's mom's read it. We even had our brother-in-law read it. And then we decided it was ready to send to agents and we were just sure we'd be inundated with offers of representation. I mean, we're funny, the book is highly entertaining (according to all of our blood relations who had actually read it), what could possibly go wrong? Well, after sending over 100 queries, and receiving over 30 requests all of which ended in rejections, things weren't looking good for our burgeoning writing career. Thankfully there were a handful of agents who saw promise in our work. So much promise that they told us what we were doing wrong and how we might fix it and then they asked that we send them any future work.
Well, by that time we were completely hooked on writing and couldn't even fathom the idea of giving up. We had writing friends, we had a blog, and we had a dream, so we were left with only one choice - it was time to write a new book. We went back and forth about what to write next and finally decided to go with a mystery. We both loved the concept and this time the plot was our own, the characters were our own and we carefully avoided all of the mistakes we made the first time around. By the time February rolled around we had a shiny new manuscript to send off to our amazing friends and beta readers (yes, we got real beta readers this time, i.e. people that aren't biologically required to love our writing) and by the end of February we had gone through a few sets of revisions and we were ready to start sending our work to agents.
We started with agents who had expressed interest in our last manuscript or who seemed like they would be a good fit for our work and sent out some test queries. Within a week we had our first offer of representation and two additional offers followed shortly after that. It was surreal and completely amazing.
After a few great conversations with the interested agents, we were completely torn. We connected with each of the offering agents in a different way and it was clear that they all had a lot to offer. But then we spoke with Catherine and after we hung up the phone with her, we immediately called each other.
Laura: So....what do you think?
Lisa: I think we found our agent.
That conversation was followed by lots of laughing, shrieking and jumping up and down in our respective family rooms. We wanted an agent who loved our book and had a vision for our work. Someone tough, but not terrifying. We want to work with people who will make our work the best it can possibly be and we have no doubts that Catherine is one of those people.
Of course this is just the first step in the process and after we revise with Catherine we'll be submitting to editors and I'm sure we'll be obsessing over rejections and revisions and etc. But we're thrilled that we've made it this far and can't wait to see where this adventure takes us next.