(If you’re interested in stats only, you can find those at the end of this post.)
The first thing you should know is that I had not expected to write this. Not with my second book—although of course, like many others, I hoped.
But it actually happened. Last week, I signed with Kelly Peterson from Corvisiero Literary Agency, and I’m beyond excited to work with her.
To tell you how I ended up in that position, I need to take you back to 2015. It was the year I finally wrote a decent version of Starstruck, a YA contemporary/fantasy crossover that took eight years before things finally clicked in my head. Eight years of countless starts, all different stories with the same theme, that eventually led up to this one.
I started querying November 2015.
And I didn’t get requests.
I was okay with that, weird as it sounds. It was my first book, and I was just exploring this whole new world *cue music*. Starstruck wasn’t a bad book, but when rejection after rejection rolled in, I started thinking and realised the timing was probably off—there were books on the shelves with similar themes, and maybe this was just not the right moment for this book.
February 2016, I’d queried around thirty-something agents without success. I decided to participate in #Pit2Pub, and what happened blew me away—18 likes, several partial and full requests, and two publishing offers by small publishers.
That was incredibly cool.
I signed none of them.
Wait—what?! Yes, really. I didn’t sign. One didn’t feel like it was the right fit for me, and the other… was complicated. Because on the same day of the pitching contest, I received a partial request from an agent—Kelly Peterson from Corvisiero. I sent it to her, and my offers of publication came in about a week later. I notified Kelly that I wanted to make a decision within the next two weeks.
And then she asked for an R&R.
What in the world was I going to do? I had an offer of publication from a company I really liked… and an R&R from an agent who was high on my list.
Man, that was tough. I ended up talking to the publishing company, and she was super nice and advised me to find an agent. Go for it, she said, and if in the end you decide you still want to sign with me, the offer will still be on the table.
Now, that’s very generous and amazing and man, was I thankful for that!
I went with the R&R. It took me a month. And then I waited. And waited some more. In the meantime, I sent out more queries.
Eventually, Kelly came back to me saying it was a good story, but that the timing for it was off—similar to what I’d already figured out. She asked what I was working on, and I told her about my WIP: a YA contemporary set around storm chasing, and she said to keep her up to date on the progress and that she was interested in reading it. This was spring 2016.
Fast forward to October. I’d finished Under The Dark Clouds (UTDC) in July, set it aside, and then tackled it with edits. It was a much cleaner first draft than Starstruck, and, having built a circle of amazing people who I can’t thank enough, edits went rather smooth and quick.
So I took a chance and decided to pitch it during #DVpit in October. And this time—I had a lot of requests. 11 agents, 5 publishing companies. Whew. I did my research and started submitting. Kelly Peterson was one of the agents who had liked my pitch; she immediately asked for a full.
The first full request rolled in two days later. And then a partial from another.
I was getting my hopes up, and sent out a batch of normal queries. I had a full request two hours later. It was a roller coaster.
Queries turned into rejections. Partial requests turned into fulls. Partials and fulls turned into rejections. Some were still open. And then… I received The Call at the beginning of December. From Kelly Peterson, two months after I'd sent my full.
Looking back, I have no idea how I managed to stay so calm. I talked to her, discussed a few things, and set up another call for the weekend. I hung up, went to the bathroom (I was at work) and tried not to scream. I half-succeeded, half-failed. I reminded myself to breathe, went back to work, and notified agents during my lunch break that I had an offer and wanted to decide in two weeks.
My colleagues asked me what had happened—they noticed the blush on my cheeks and the smile that never wavered. By the end of the evening (we had our Christmas party the same day, see picture!) my cheeks hurt from smiling. But it was worth it.
Two weeks later, the torture was over, and I told Kelly I’d love to work with her. All other agents stepped aside for various reasons, but they were all super nice about it, offering congratulations and saying they’d enjoyed reading Under The Dark Clouds. Some just weren’t 100% in love with it. Others felt it had themes similar to those of their clients. And really, that was okay. Kelly’s offer was the only one—but it was one I gladly accepted.
I love her passion and the vision she has for this book, the suggestions she made to make it even stronger. Doing so is going to leave me raw, crying and bleeding, but it’s going to be worth it. And in her words, “She’ll be there to catch me when I fall.”
Now, what more can I expect of an agent, eh? <3
Agent queries: 53 – 1 full request
Publisher queries: 15 – 2 publishing offers
Under The Dark Clouds
Agent queries: 21
Query rejections/closed due to no response: 10
Partial requests: 4
Full requests: 7