It seems to me that most people find an agent, then sell their book. For me, my "the call" story is a little bass-ackwards, but then again, since when have I ever been described as normal, lol?
I just started querying my YA Steampunk dark fairytale Innocent Darkness at the end of January. I had a bit of a bee in my bonnet about selling before RWA nationals this July, I knew that Flux wanted YA Steampunk, so on a lark I sent mine off about a month ago. A week later, I got an email from Brian Farrey saying he was halfway done and wanted to talk to me. A week after that it went to editorial review. A few days later, I got "the email" -- not only did they want Innocent Darkness , but they wanted a sequel as well!
Meanwhile, I'd been querying agents. It had been a bit of a slow process for me, because I was sending only to agents that I knew wanted Steampunk, which meant lots of research. In March, someone from the Los Angeles Romance Authors, the RWA chapter I belong to, emailed me that they heard agent Laura Bradford speak and she mentioned that she wanted Steampunk. My friend also told me that she thought Laura would be a good fit (always a good thing with an agent). So, after doing some research, I added her to my list and sent out the query. A few days before I got that first email from Brian at Flux, I'd gone to the PO box to find a hand-written note from Laura saying she loved the partial and to send her the full. After doing the happy dance in the middle of the post office, I sent it off. When I heard that Innocent Darkness was going to editorial review, I contacted her and everything went into hyperdrive. I feel so lucky to have signed with her.
I actually got "the call" from Laura while in McDonalds, celebrating my offer from Flux with Happy Meals with the tot. We chatted and I felt like we really clicked. It was also a very lengthy conversation, so long the tot got bored with the playland and I had to bribe her with an ice cream, lol. At the end of the conversation she offered me representation. I was so excited I nearly fell off my stool.
Everything went quickly from there and it was very hard keeping it on the down low when, in fact, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Thank you to the two published YA authors who took the time to give me advice and help me keep my head straight (you know who you are). This morning, this hit Publisher's Marketplace. It's official, I am actually a published author. I've dreamed of this all my life and I'm beyond excited--I'm still wondering when I'm going to wake up.
Suzanne Lazear's INNOCENT DARKNESS: A Steampunk Fairytale, in which an adventure-seeking sixteen year old who has been incarcerated at an abusive reform school for her delinquent ways is rescued by a mysterious man from the realm of Faerie who reveals she must die in sacrifice in order to save the entire Otherworld civilization, to Brian Farrey at Flux, in a two-book deal, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency (World English).
I've always wanted to be a writer, but I went though that period in my life, where, like a lot of girls, I stopped because of peer pressure. Even in college, I'd write stories but never finished them. A few years back, I noticed that I was approaching my ten year high school reunion, and said to myself, "Gee, I always thought I'd been published my now." Then I thought, "Why am I not?" The answer was "um, you've never finished anything."
So I did. My new years resolution for 2007 was to write a whole book. After two false starts, I sat down and wrote an entire book. Then I did again. I wrote and rewrote and embarked on the submission process. I entered contests and took online classes and joined the Romance Writers of America and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Online Writer's Workshop. I found critique partners. I continued to write, learn, and grow. Most importantly, I was consistent, and persistent. When one manuscript didn't work, I moved on. I kept writing and never gave up. (AS one of my friends jokes, we have to be Dorrie from Finding Nemo and "just keep swimming."
Innocent Darkness was the *fourth* (yes, fourth) manuscript I shopped. It's hard sending your baby out in to the world, but like finishing a book, it a vital step on the path to getting published.
Now, I can announce to the world that I actually sold a book (take that high school guidance counselor.) I could never have done it without the support of my family and friends, especially my very patient hubby, the tot, and my dance gurlz, who made me write YA for them.
It's time to embark on the next part of my writing journey. Right now, 2012 seems so far away, but I'm sure it will come all to soon.