Thursday, June 2, 2011

Year of Fun--May (the month I found my dream agent, Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency)

May started off with a bang!

Some of you may remember my earlier post (rant) in which I designated 2011, The Year of Fun. I spent all  of 2010 writing, querying, being rejected by agents, and shelving two books. I despaired that I never would reach my goal. And boy, did I whine about it.

"Blah, blah, blah, I totally suck! I can’t do this!"

I vowed that for 2011 year, I would rediscover my passion for writing. I worked with my critique partners and finished JUJU’S CHILD. I came to adore the characters, setting, and plot. I had a blast writing this story. I decided to query agents, but not obsess over rejection. And if I found my dream agent—well, YAY!!

I finished Juju’s Child in February and sent out four test queries. The same day, I received a full and partial request. I panicked. My critique partners hadn’t finished the final edits. So busted. I threw myself upon their mercy, and Kate, Sarah, Carla, Bessie, and my dad helped me out by getting the critiques back within the week. Whew.

So, I now knew that my query letter worked, and again I have to say a big thank you to my critique partners, especially Deb who worked with me on it line by line. In the three months since I began querying agents, I received 9 full requests and 7 partials, and a whole lot of rejections. Doggone it, receiving those form letters or hearing crickets from the non-responders felt like my soul was being sucked out through my nose.

Once again, I toyed with putting aside my dream. But, the thing is, no matter how often the thought occurred to me to quit, I refused to give up on my dream. I kept querying agents and found Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency through Joyce Alton’s Yesternight's Voyage blog. In her interview with Monica B.W on the Love YA blog, Kathleen said,“Topics of particular interest to me include reincarnation, the occult, the supernatural (not in a zombie or vampire context, more psychic, or witchy, or fey), ghosts (a scary ghost story? yes, please), and psychology.” She also disclosed that her guilty pleasures are Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl. Her interests covered the plots of all three of my manuscripts.

Oh, yeah, I had to query her! Perfection.

I sent the query letter for Juju’s Child, and received a full request for the manuscript half an hour later. That night we emailed back and forth, and I fell deeper under her spell. I kept interrupting my husband’s Xbox experience to gush about this fabulous agent. Thank you my sweet, patient hubby.

The next morning, I went on a ten mile mountain bike ride. In the middle of the woods, I received THE CALL. I almost crashed my bike into a tree trying to dig my phone out of my tight bike shorts. Thankfully, I survived to hear Kathleen tell me that she loved Juju’s Child, and offered representation. I can't even describe how excited and humbled I felt. We had an even more lengthy discussion about revisions and our ideas for improving upon the existing story after I returned home. Her revision suggestions and mine meshed. I notified the other agents who were considering the manuscript and those that  I had queried, and informed them I would be making my decision in a week.

Which is today. So, I am pleased to officially announce that I  found my dream agent in Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary. Next week, I'll receive my agent's revision notes and the hard work begins. Thank you to all my friends and family. This day wouldn't have been possible without your support. I love you guys.

May is the best month, ever (singing the line like Sponge Bob Square Pants).


  1. Congrats, Angie! I've been waiting for this update--almost emailed you to find out but then I woke up this morning to see this on my sidebar. Yay! So happy for you. Juju's Child has a great voice.

    You are one of the most hardworking writers I know. I knew it was only a matter of time. When the time comes and I'll see your book at my local B&N, I'm going to tell everyone I know--Hey! I know this author! She's my friend :)

  2. Thank you, thank you Cherie. I'm so excited. I think back to last year, and participating in the marathon. It was the best decision I've ever made because I met you and my other critique partners. I've learned so much from everyone, and made some fantastic friends.

  3. I'm dancing for you, Angie. So thrilled!! Like Cherie, I can't wait to see your name on the bookstore shelves.

    I think you get a bonus award for the most interesting first call experience I've ever heard. lol

    Keep us updated.

  4. Thank you Joyce, and I will keep you updated.

    The call wasn't the only interesting thing that happened on that bike ride. A snake was crossing the path in front of my father-in-law and I warned him about it.

    Instead of going around the snake, he rode in front of it. I watched it strike for his ankle. Luckily, it missed. We have a lot of rattle snakes in our area, but I think it was harmless.

  5. Enjoy the moment! So awesome to hear the great news. And OMG, you now have The Best Day Ever (from SpongeBob) stuck in my head (LOL).

    Will be following your success story...((HUGS)) and best wishes.

  6. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you. I love Kathleen, she's so wonderful to work with. Yay!

  7. Hi Jenn,

    When researching my decision, I checked out your blog, and your agent story confirmed all the wonderful feelings I had when I spoke with Kathleen the first time. You helped make my decision so easy to make. Thank you:)

  8. Hi Angie,
    Congrats--your novel sounds amazing! I enjoyed reading your how-I-got-my-agent story. I just accepted an offer from Kathleen, too, so I thought I would stop by and introduce myself.

  9. Yay Ruth,
    Congratulations:)Kathleen's awesome:) Welcome to the family. Jenn Johansson designated us as agency sisters and says we need to come up with a secret handshake:)

  10. LOL--thanks, Angie! A secret handshake... I love it! I'll check out Jenn's blog.

  11. Yay! I'm so happy and excited for you!

  12. Congratulations - what a great story! Your agent sounds fabulous. Best of luck to you!

  13. Thank you Carla and MarcyKate. I really appreciate the congrats, and Kathleen is amazing. I can't say enough good things about her. I'm very fortunate.

  14. What a great story! Wishing you lots of luck. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  15. I loved reading your story and can totally see that bike almost crashing in the woods! How exciting! Good luck with the next steps in this process. Kathleen seems wonderful, and she obviously has a lot of faith in your novel!

  16. Hi Katriina,
    Thank you for commenting. Getting the call while trying to navigate a bike path wasn't one of my finest moments. My father-in-law still makes fun of me over the bike incident. I'll probably never live it down, lol.


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