GUYS! I love when this happens--when one of my The Writer's Voice team members emails me to let me know they've got an agent! Today I bring you another success story, now from Aly Brown--a The Writer's Voice 2015 member.
Here's her story in her own words:
I began my querying journey by reading countless lightning-fast success stories and becoming disillusioned. I figured if So-and-So McGhee was able to land an agent with her first book after two months of submitting query letters, then what made me any different? What I didn’t realize at the time was that So-and-So was the exception, not the rule. And that querying was a process that can take years. Reading success stories kept me pumped and eager to achieve, but over time, it also made me suspect I was failing somehow. Why don’t I have an agent yet? I thought this would be a breeze! (Insert confession to starting out a tad cocky here.) And after about ten years of pouring my heart into novels that were barely garnering responses--or, worse, close calls--I thought maybe I wasn’t cut out for my dream job.
Then one day my crit partner tells me about a contest on Brenda Drake’s site, The Writer’s Voice. I was a little hesitant at first. My former-dream agent was on the list of competing agents and she’d already rejected a partial from me--a rejection that had reduced me to tears and opened the will-you-ever-be-good-enough can of worms. And the other agents didn’t seem like the best fit, either. But I’d been told contests can be a great opportunity to get your work in front of agents who typically don’t rep your genre, but discover they love your premise.
The first step was to enter the rafflecopter, and leave it up to chance. Turns out, the rafflecopter liked me, and I received an email that night with instructions on how to upload my query and first few paragraphs.
Then there was more waiting. More silence.
When it was finally time for the coaches to select their teams, I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from author Monica Bustamante Wagner the first thing Monday morning: “We want you!”
And the editorial fun began! My coaches, Monica and Stephanie Garber, put us through the wringer (in a good way) to make our queries and introductory paragraphs pop. Everyone was working hard. We were going to present our hand-picked work to an audience of willing literary agents!
When the big day arrived--the day the agents would vote, which was equal to requests for material--Team for the Win was abuzz with excitement. The votes came pouring in for my teammates’ amazing submissions. But by the end of the agent round, my little entry, HEARTBREAKER FOR HIRE, had received nothing.
Not. One. Single. Vote.
Even after the bonus round with secret agent participants, I didn’t get a request. I tried to tell myself that I’d been prepared for this result--my work didn’t quite fall into the right category--but it still stung.
I went back to my usual business of life and querying. Regardless, I’d received amazing feedback from two talented writers even if I didn’t receive a request for materials.
What I didn’t know was that an agent had already voted for me. Rewind to the week before the Writer’s Voice agent round. One of my teammates made an announcement on our private Facebook group page: New agent, Moe Ferrara, was hosting a free query crit. Several of us decided to hop over to the Reddit page for yet another critique (because, let’s face it, writers are insatiable when it comes to query advice). Monica couldn’t tell us to stop. It would have given away the surprise that Moe was going to be one of the secret agents. Instead, she emailed Moe and explained. And Moe said she would wait until the contest to request anything from Team for the Win members. But she made a “mistake.” She forgot I was one of the Writer’s Voice team members and requested my material early. Had I not participated in the Reddit critique, I would have received her vote through the Writer’s Voice contest. Oddly enough, this made me feel better.
While Moe was reading my partial, I received the most unexpected offer of representation from an agent I hadn’t heard from in months! She was absolutely lovely over the phone and I was THISCLOSE to accepting her offer when Moe stepped in and counter-offered. While the first offering agent seemed wonderful, she just wasn’t the same fit for me. Moe was great on paper, and she also answered all of my questions exactly as I’d hoped she would! In a roundabout way, I feel I found my agent through The Writer’s Voice contest, even though she didn’t vote for me.
It’s still surreal to say things like ‘my agent’ or receive paperwork from BookEnds, LLC in the mail. After ten years of writing, reading, querying, and waiting, I’m perpetually grateful that I never gave up, even on those darker days. With a new agent at my side, I’m looking forward to beginning my submission journey!
Thanks so much, Aly, for sharing your story with us. I think it was very inspirational! To read more about Aly, visit her website!