Jul. 22nd, 2015

la_belle_laide: (Default)
I've really been meaning to write down the story of How I Got My Agent since the day I signed the contract with Caitlin McDonald of Sterling Lord (July 16th) but then, every time I get my 90 minutes of the day, I've been writing other stuff. (The new manuscript, the one that [Bad username or site: ”spatterdash” @ livejournal.com] is eyeballing as I'm writing it, to be specific. The working title as of now is “2 Blue Balls.”) And then I was gonna write it all out last night, but then all sorts of craziness happened in the neighborhood as I wrote in a locked post and it got me all mentally turned around and weirded out.

But anyway. So! Now that I've signed, I'll unlock my other posts (or at least some of them,) about the first offer, the one I eventually declined.

What happened was—for anyone who doesn't know how this goes down—I got an email from one agent, saying she'd like to talk about my work. Usually—not always, but usually—this means that an offer is coming. We had a really great phone conversation on July 2nd, and she did make an offer. I figured that was it, done deal. All that remained was to send a “nudge” to other agents who had my queries, partials or manuscripts, tell them I'd had an offer and give them a chance to jump in. Most of the time, the other agents say “thank you and good luck.”

And I didn't have many outstanding queries, tbh, because I'd been spending most of my time working on 2 Blue Balls. But, I did have a query out with my top-choice agent. I'd actually queried her last year, but we'd talked on Tumblr since then and I had asked if I could re-query her after some edits, and she'd said yes.

To my utter pants-peeing surprise, she really liked the edits, and asked if she could take the standard two weeks to look through the entire manuscript. Pee in a dazzle, I sent her the full. Again, I'd read that agents are usually “reading for a no” after a nudge. But I still had the sneaky suspicion that she might actually like it.

Two days before my deadline to sign with the first agent, (July 16th,) she made an offer via email, and said we could set up a time to have a phone conversation.

July 15th was HOT AS A DAMN CROTCH, which, I usually just breeze through days like that because I absolutely love the heat. But I was on the phone with Caitlin from just after 2 till around 3 or so, and by the end of it, I was sweating so much that I had to go change all my clothes, LOL. I just liked her so much, loved her ideas, loved what she was talking about in terms of edits, and it all made so much sense that I didn't want to say the wrong thing, stutter too much (I do, a little, in situations like these,) or ask the wrong thing or forget to ask any of the right things. She was very understanding and patient as I went through my list of questions.

I liked both agents, particularly because both of them are very pro-fandom, and both were all right with me having been really involved in fandoms and still having fanfics up around the web. I liked both agents because they both really loved my manuscript and were enthusiastic about it.

The deciding factors were a few, though: The first agent, though she personally really loved time-travel stories and loved my manuscript, also didn't think she could sell a time-travel as a debut novel. She wanted me to finish 2 Blue Balls (you know that's LOL right? Like I'm not actually going to call it 2 Blue Balls*) and we would pitch that one to editors first. Which, I would have been all right with that to a point, because my brain is filled with 2 Blue Balls right now and I could probably bang the rest of it out pretty quickly if I had to.

But Caitlin has confidence in Blueshift; she really got the idea that time travel was sort of secondary to the plot and that there were other things going on in it: concepts about reality and such. She said she really loved the way I wrote the science, which is like, WHOA, the coolest thing a SF writer can hear. And she loved my main character, which also whoa – boy, do we writers enjoy hearing that.

What's more, she pinpointed exactly the two scenes I'd always, always struggled with, and put her finger on why they didn't work. That cleared up so much for me, you don't even know. These are edits I can now handle really easily.

We talked about fandom and fanfic for a while, too; she is extremely cool with all of that. And we also discussed other things I might write later, down the road. I mentioned I had another manuscript in the works, but that I'd also had scads of work done on sequels already, and she said, “I was almost feeling a prequel” and I was like, “OMG I HAVE THAT TOO.” In mind, I mean. Sketched out. When I say that this book has been with me for about ten years, I don't mean just this book; I mean I've been dicking around in the world of this book for about ten years. I've got about 500K words in sequels, prequels, side-stories, junk I wrote for fun, and you know, I never really did anything with that stuff. It's just sitting there in a folder, waiting for me to think about what to do with it.

Another big deciding factor was that I talked to one of her clients, one who is actually in the middle of her book launch, and she had such wonderful things to say about Caitlin. She said, “You won't ever regret signing with her.”

That filled me with such confidence; I knew as I talked to her that I'd already kind of made my choice.

So, on July 16th, Caitlin sent me the 3 contracts to sign, and then sent me her signed contract as well. And as of last week, I'm repped by Caitlin McDonald of the—let's be honest here--historic Sterling Lord Literistic agency.

What's next? She re-reads the manuscript and takes notes. Then, sometime in August or so, she sends me her notes, which are going to be her ideas for revisions. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to agree with her edits, because of the way she totally nailed what had always bugged me about those two scenes in particular. Then, I revise, and send it back to her (also including some of my own edits we discussed.) Then we discuss those changes, and if we both think they're fine, we move onto line-edits, which is another thing that I'm pretty chill about.

Once we're both happy with those final edits, then the book goes out on submission, and we start to discuss what I'm writing next, as we wait for someone to hopefully pick it up.

I haven't thought much beyond that. She did mention some editors and publishing houses she had in mind, which were SO RAD, but I'm nowhere near there yet.

So in the meantime, I'm just going to keep working on 2 Blue Balls and see where that takes me. That one might end up sitting around for a while, depending on where Blueshift goes from here.

All I know for sure is that I am SUUUUPER happy with my choice. I feel so lucky! And I'm really excited, and I just wanna WRITE ALL THE WRITES








*I might call it 2 Blue Balls tbh.

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