Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 16, 2012

How I Landed a Agent

How I Landed an Agent

By

Darlene Beck Jacobson

Last June I attended my first NJSCBWI Conference in Princeton. I knew it would be an opportunity to connect with fellow writers, editors and maybe even agents. Rather than just “dipping my toes” into the weekend with a peer critique and one face to face with an editor, I dove in head first and decided to pitch  my manuscripts as often as I could.

I spent weeks perfecting my “elevator pitch” for a PB titled VULTURE’S PARTY, and for a Middle Grade Historical titled, THE CARRIAGE MAKER’S DAUGHTER (TCMD). I practiced the pitches out loud until I had them memorized. I signed up for the five minute Pitch Session and actually tried both of them out with Stephen Barbara. He asked to see the PB and eventually passed on it.

The best pitching opportunity turned out to be the Friday evening Meet and Greet. Sure it was an opportunity to relax and mingle with peers. It was also the perfect time to “take the plunge” and get myself out there. So, I mingled, chatted and talked to anyone I made eye contact with. When an editor or agent asked the question “WHAT DO YOU WRITE?”, I let loose with one of my pitches, depending on whether the agent or editor was looking for PB’s or MG’s. Before the evening was over, I had 3 requests for the PB and 3 for the MG novel.

One of those agents – Ginger Harris from the Liza Royce Agency – asked for the first 30 pages and synopsis of TCMD. I sent it out before the month was over.

Then I waited. And waited. You know what that’s like. When it seemed like a reasonable wait time of nearly 3 months, I asked Kathy if it was okay to contact the agent and ask for an update. She said yes. I sent an e-mail and waited.  And waited.   Still no response.

I asked Kathy what to do. She called Liza Fleissig, the other agent from the Royce Agency. Liza and Ginger never received the manuscript and asked me to send it again. I did. After a couple days, Liza asked for the complete manuscript. I sent that. Then, I got an e-mail that said. “Call me at your earliest convenience.”!!!

I did. Liza LOVED TCMD and made me an offer of representation over the phone. We are now in the process of finding a home for the story.

So…don’t be afraid to take a leap into the abyss and out of your comfort zone. Remember the saying…”Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Perfect your pitch and try it out. You never know what might happen if you do!

http://www.darlenebeckjacobson.com

Thank you Darlene for sharing your journey with us.  Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanks so much for sharing that, Darlene. How wonderful! 🙂 Good luck selling your manuscript!

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  2. that ‘never received it’ was a good reminder to all that it DOES happen! even emailed things don’t get there! or back to you. I have all my artists confirm receipt of things sent by email OR shipped. it’s awful how many go elsewhere!? And if I don’t hear in a ‘reasonable time’ from editors/AD’s I’ve presented to, I do write again, and again. Trying not to be ‘a pain’ but to confirm they DID receive it and are ‘considering it’ still. Everyone is overworked…. but we can’t assume that is the reason for delay. 🙂

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  3. You story is inspiring to say the least. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Darlene, I didn’t realize that was your first conference. You were so prepared and confident. And all your prep work paid off.

    Your submission story confirms the importance of agents having an automated e-mail system that says a submission has been received. Now that I am submitting, I appreciate this kind of system, and am better able to be patient during the big wait.

    See you in June!
    Mary

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  5. Thanks a million, sweetie. This helps inspire confidence. 🙂

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  6. That’s great! Congratulations!!!! I would also like to query this agent, but I can’t seem to find her submission guidelines. Her website is under construction. Can you help me with that?

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  7. Very inspiring and congrats!

    Like


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