I was asked to write a post on how I got my agent the other day. It was meant to go on the FB but I decided it might be too long for that, so I’d stick it here instead.
Six or seven years ago I was writing along merrily and went to my first World Fantasy Convention (going again next week woot!) and met a little press called Night Shade Books. They were on my bucket list of publishers. I had friends with them, I adored their books and cover art, and my acquaintance Paolo Bacigalupi had just won the Hugo for a bookhe had with them. They were doing Exciting Things.
Besides that they threw the most ridiculously fun party at World Fantasy with microbrews with book covers as labels and a fully-stocked bar on the balcony, plus it was super well-placed near Canada’s party with the pancakes and maple syrup… But really, the magical combination of free alcohol and pancakes weren’t what FIRST drew me to them, just why I stayed.
Anyway I’m in the elevator heading upstairs and this guy with a beer from the party that had my friend Courtney’s book cover on it and I’m all, "Hey, I’ve read that. It’s a really good book!" And the guy is all, "Hey, I read it too. I published it."
Yes. Guy-With-Beer was Jason Williams, the founder of NSB.
I kind of pressed myself back into the corner of the elevator and shut my pie hole for the rest of the way up. I really should have read his name tag because editors are kind of the stars of the show at WFC.
I think Jason’s bottle of beer was in the way; yeah, we’ll go with that.
But while I was busy being mortified, (besides, Richard Kadrey had turned up and I had such an author crush on him I had to avoid him, which was stupid because Nicest Man, really) Jason was busy going around telling people he worked with about this writer who was so good at marketing I gave him a pretty good elevator speech that didn’t annoy the hell out of him, albeit not for my own book, and pretty soon we all were partying together, vodka, I think, and things got a little fuzzy after that. But the next day during the hangover fugue, Jeremy Lassen, who has since edited all three BOOKS OF THE SEVEN EYES, asked me if I had any manuscripts I’d like him to see and because I’m an AMAZING salesperson (see Jason’s opinion above), I told him I had this trunk novel with enough rejections I’d wallpapered my office with them and would he like to take a look?
In a sort of disappointed way, he said, "Sure." And surprisingly enough it was absolutely MONTHS before he emailed me back and I was talking to my mom on the phone when I opened it because it had to be another rejection (I’d never open an important email on the phone with my Mom) BUT IT WASN’T! It was an offer to make EXILE the lead title for the winter catalog.
And in a panic I emailed my friend who worked at a literary agency. I knew she did contracts and stuff and figured I’d hire her on the side or at least she’d tell me where to go for help.
And she said "OMG why haven’t I ever thought of you for Sara (Megibow)? You’re perfect for her."
Okay, not just like that, but… kind of.
Sara read the manuscript and said she loved it and two days later I signed with her and then she more than doubled the deal NSB offered and she’s been saving my ass… er, selling my books ever since. 🙂
And that, children, is how I got my agent.