I really didn't think I'd get to write one of these for a while, if ever, but I was proven wrong again like I am with most things, and I'm so happy to be wrong! Please know this isn't the typical journey for most writers. I’ve been very lucky over the past few years. Below you’ll see some stats and my pitches:
I've been writing on and off all my life, but I never really completed anything I had started until 2016 when I was inspired to write a loose retelling with snark and romance and a morally gray girl. I outlined the idea, poorly, and then wrote the thing! In less than three weeks! It was only about 42k words, but it was finished and I was excited to revise it and make it better. Shortly after doing my version of revising, I heard about Pitch Wars, a contest in which writers submit their manuscript to mentors and get help revising before an agent round. I submitted my manuscript, The Business of Blackmail, and was selected by the wonderful Sonia Hartl. We revised, I made friends and CPs, and the agent round arrived. I got 7 requests and started querying. Some agents requested my full, but nothing worked out. I revised again on my own, which was one of the hardest things I've ever done, and queried until I reached a little over 100 agents total.
I put TBOB aside and wrote what I lovingly referred to as "girl gang spacebook trash" on Twitter. A Galaxy of Bad Ideas took a little less than three months to write. I took some time to revise it and then pitched in #PitMad. My pitch received around 40 agent favorites, which I was so happy with! It was my most successful pitch event on Twitter (until my next attempt). I started querying. Again, I received some requests, but I felt like the rejections came more quickly. It was clear that something wasn't working, but my premise was interesting enough for agents to request. I sent the manuscript back out to readers, tried to revise, but things didn't click for me. I decided to pause my querying at around 30 agents and....
I wrote a new thing (or, more truthfully, I scrapped the first 21k of a project and rewrote it until I finished)! #BookstoreWar is also known as Last Chance Books, and my betas and CPs kept telling me it was The One, which I refused to accept. I wrote it in April for Camp NaNoWriMo and finished about mid-May. I sent it to readers and polished it up just in time for another #PitMad. This time was....much different. Something happened. I really must give credit to this summer being the summer of rom-coms. People responded very enthusiastically to my pitch. I received somewhere around 120 favorites—most of which were not agents, let's be real—and I started querying that weekend (June 10-ish).
On August 27, I received my first offer from an amazing agent. I felt totally undeserving, but I took the call with her anyway. I alerted the other agents who were considering LCB already, or who I had queried. I heard back from quite a few of them (I had only queried about 50 so far—I paused because I was going to revise my manuscript). Mostly, I received kind passes, which I had expected.
But then, on September 4, I had another offer from another amazing agent. As much as you think you want a second offer to make sure it's not a fluke, trust me, you kind of don't. The decision is super hard and sad to make.
While both of these agents would have been great to work with, I got a final offer the day before I made my choice. It was from an agent I had queried with both TBOB and AGOBI. Her revision ideas for LCB clicked for me instantly. It was clear that this was the agent I needed to work with. From her vision of my career to a follow-up book, to the revisions she wants for LCB…it just felt right.
I am so excited to say I've signed with Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary! I mean it when I say I wouldn't have gotten to this point in less than two years if it weren't for my writing friends—they know who they are, but I want to remind them that I cherish them. You’re all the greatest. (Having a significant other who respects Writing Time is also a huge help.)
I can’t wait to see what Bridget and I can accomplish together!