Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Countdown Continues...

Twenty-four days until the release of RESCUE ME!

So far, I'm three for three on my blogging. If you read the blog from a couple of days ago, you'll see that I promised to try to blog everyday until the April 28 release date. Wow, three days in a row-- a record for me!

Today I'm talking about how I met my amazing agent. I think there's a lot of truth to the right place, right time, right project theory. I met my agent at a conference. I had watched and admired her for a long while as she represents some of my favorite authors. And while I would have loved to have her represent me, I honestly never thought she would. See, I'm a terrible, and I mean terrible, pitcher. I can love a story, believe in it with all my heart, but when it comes to telling others about it, I'm horrendous. I used to think it was because my stories meant so much to me, but that can't be true. There are plenty of authors who love their books just as much as I love mine and they are able to coherently and brilliantly pitch their stories in a concise and exciting way. Me? I stumble, stutter, stall and then finally stop.

It was March 31, 2007 at the Southern Magic conference. I had two stories to pitch and couldn't decide which one I should go with. One was Golden Girl, the one I felt the most secure with and RESCUE ME, the one I'd finished just a few months before. Though I'd already started on RETURN TO ME, I still wasn't sure I was ready for anyone to hear about RESCUE ME. Fortunately a couple of my chapter mates convinced me otherwise. When I practiced my pitches with them, they thought Golden Girl was okay, but pointed out some flaws I hadn't recognized. However, they loved RESCUE ME. So, thanks to them, I chose the right one to pitch.

I was nervous but she instantly put me at ease. Of course I had to read the pitch to her. No way could I even begin to recite the story from memory. She listened and she said a word...something I'll never forget. She said, "Cool." LOL. Yeah, I know. But you would've had to have been there to really understand. This dream agent...said cool about my story line. And then she asked me questions: About the book, whether I planned to write a series and about my writing habits. Then she asked for the full manuscript. I left the meeting walking on air.

I took about a month to polish it up before sending it to her. On May 2, my birthday, I mailed it to her. My gift to myself. On May 14, I received an email from her. And what did I do when I saw it in my in-basket? Nothing. I couldn't open it up. I just couldn't. If I didn't read it...see that it was a rejection, then there was still hope. But, four hours later, after dinner and the house was quiet again, I crept up to my office. Taking a breath, I clicked on the email and prepared myself to read a rejection. Instead, she said she'd read RESCUE ME, really liked it and wanted to know what else I had. I cried. Told you earlier that I was a crybaby. And then, of course, I ran and told my husband that this amazing agent was actually interested in my work. He was suitably impressed...once I woke him up, that is.

We emailed back and forth for a couple of weeks or so. I sent her a synopsis of RETURN TO ME. Then, on June 5, 2007, she called me and offered representation. There are some moments that will live in my memory forever. That was one of them.

Okay, tomorrow, if you're still here, I'll blog about what it was like to get the amazing offer from Ballantine.

No comments: