How I got my agent

This week we’re telling our “How I got my agent” story. Actually, for me there would be two stories to tell, because my current agent (Jill Grinberg – she’s awesome!) wasn’t my first agent and she didn’t sell my first book The Other Life. 

But today I’m only going to tell the story of how I found her, since my first time in the query trenches was pretty uneventful: I had no pub credentials, I wrote a book, I queried, I got rejected, I got an offer, I accepted said offer, my first agent sold The Other Life – end of story. 
Or not really. 

A relationship with an agent is a bit like marriage; sometimes it takes you a while to realize that you aren’t meant to be, that you have different goals or different tastes, and then you part ways. That’s what happened to me (not marriage-wise, thank God!).

So suddenly I found myself in a position that I didn’t ever want to be in again: I had to query. Maybe you think that shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe you think I just needed to send out a couple of letters explaining my situation and telling possible agents about as-of-yet unwritten books I was dreaming of. After all, I had already sold a book.

But this round in query hell wasn’t all that different from the first round. I wasn’t a big fish in the query waters. It didn’t matter that I had a book coming out soon. All that mattered was the book I was querying – my YA thriller IMPOSTOR – which was complete and revised. It came down to one simple thing: Did the agent love my book enough to offer?

And let me tell you one thing: for me the second time was even worse. Because what if nobody wanted IMPOSTOR? What would people think if I didn’t even find an agent with my new book, though I had a book coming out? I drove myself crazy.

Luckily it didn’t come to that. Though I got rejections, I also got an offer from a lovely agent, and then – unlike last time – I was clever enough to give the other agents I had queried time to consider my manuscript. And I got another offer, and another offer, and then a couple of hours before I wanted to make my decision I got the offer I would accept. I talked to all the agents on the phone and after that last phone call with my now agent, I took my time to consider my four offers, though I was already pretty sure about my decision. But this time I wanted to be absolutely certain before I said yes. 
I drove my husband crazy. I drove myself crazy. I even drove our dog crazy with my pacing. But eventually, shortly before midnight (German time) I sent the email to Jill, accepting her offer. 

And that was the right decision. A few months later she sold IMPOSTOR to Razorbill/Penguin, and I couldn’t be happier! 


LM Preston said...

Aww this is a wonderful story of how you met your agent. Thanks for sharing.

Elana Johnson said...

What a great story, Susanne! A relationship with an agent is a lot like marriage!

Windy Aphayrath said...

Thanks for sharing, Susanne!