Where was I? *checks*
(Part One is here.)
Oh yes. I had just sent a query and sample pages off to Jennifer Laughran in order to make myself feel better about a rejection. I was counting down the days until the six weeks for her no-response-means-no policy were up. I was rewriting my Alaskan dragon book and VERY excited about getting to do a fresh round of queries with a new project.
Then it happened. Two weeks before the deadline was up, I got an email from Jenn in my inbox requesting a full.
I kid you not, the first words out of my mouth were "Oh crap."
This was not the plan. I didn't WANT to wait the weeks and months a full request can take before I started querying my other project. Especially if it was just going to lead to another rejection.
Well, I may be a pessimist but I'm not stupid. A first-class agent asks for a full, you send her a full. Plus I'm a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. Maybe my other project really needed more time. Maybe there was a bigger plan in play.
There was. But not the one I thought.
After some really irritating email trouble I sent the full. That was Saturday night. On Sunday morning I did a rare sleep-in day. I woke up around 11am (PST) to an email from Jenn asking if any other agents had the book. I sent an email back saying no.
All well and good. Except then I opened up my Twitter feed to find this.
Of course I screen-captured it. Shut up.
I FREAKED. But it was a quiet freak. I didn't dare to believe she was talking about MY book. I checked the time she sent the email against the time she wrote the tweet. It fit. My husband freaked, and not quietly.
"She's totally talking about you!" he said. I told him to hush. Then I waited. If she was talking about me, surely she would email me back soon right? And as the afternoon and evening wore on, I convinced myself she was talking about someone else.
Then my gmail page made a weird noise. It took me a minute to find out why and when I did, I freaked again. It was Jenn on google-chat. She hadn't gotten my email because it had gone to the wrong folder.
But she was talking about me.
She did love my book.
A week-and-a-half later, after some revisions, some seriously awkward flailing (on my part), and some MASSIVE insecurity attacks (also me), Jenn called to offer representation. After giving myself a day to think about it, I said yes.
And that's how I ended up with an awesome agent.
*looks at last sentence again* *does happy dance*
Now I know some of you are combing this story to find lessons you can use to help your own agent search. I know because I did the same thing. So I'm going to pretend that I know what I'm doing and offer you some advice.
*adjusts glasses* *tries to look wise* *fails*
Advice #1. Never give up, never surrender.
I owe a lot of this story to luck (or Divine Providence, depending on what you believe). But if I hadn't sent the query in the first place, none of those would have come into play. Take another step forward, even if it's a little one.
Advice #2. The best thing you can do for your career is write another book.
I believe that this is always true, no matter where you are in the process. Aside from building up a body of work, the plain truth is writing another book will teach you things you will never learn in revisions. I could never have gone back and made Houses better if I hadn't written two other books first.
Advice #3. Bring the awesome every time.
Even though I wasn't expecting anything to come from my query, I still made sure my query letter was good. I followed Jenn's guidelines. I personalized the query. I did my best. You have to bring the awesome to everything you do, even if it's a blog with eight followers or a short story for an online magazine or a twitter feed.
Oh, and one more thing.
Don't diss luck. You just might have to eat your words someday.