Okay, so first I have to say I'm overwhelmed by all the congratulations, well wishes, and warm comments from everyone yesterday. Thank so much, y'all! My news was that much sweeter because I had so many fabulous people to celebrate with. I've never come across such a supportive and genuine community of people as I have with writers. I'm regularly amazed at how kind-hearted and giving everyone is to each other.
In fact, that online writerly support played a big role in getting the ball rolling with my agent. At the beginning of June, I got an email from the lovely and fabulous Natalie Bahm. (Btw, if you're not following her awesome blog, get on it.) Natalie said that Sara, her agent, was going to RWA Nationals and was looking to sign a few more romance writers before the conference.
Natalie knew what I wrote because we were blog friends and she'd read a few excerpts I'd posted here and saw my contest wins, so she offered to give me a referral. I also got a message from a Twitter friend (and another of Sara's clients) Miranda Kenneally offering to read some of my stuff and possibly offer a referral as well. (See how wonderful and generous writers are?)
Unfortunately, my book (Exposure Therapy - the erotic romantic suspense) wasn't quite ready. I had a few chapters to finish and then needed to put it through beta readers, revisions, etc. As much as it pained me to pass up the chance with such a great agent, I didn't want to send something that wasn't polished. Natalie (because she's awesome like that) assured me that she'd give me a referral whenever I was ready to query.
So I went to RWA Nationals, my book ready to go (thanks to my uber fast, super helpful beta reader J. Leigh Bailey), and set about learning any last details I could before I queried. Sara spoke at the PRO Retreat on an agent panel and I really liked what she had to say. She seemed friendly and approachable, and she was one of the few that talked about the importance of an author having an online presence while they are trying to get an agent.
So I came back home, chose my top five agents I wanted to query, then contacted Natalie to see if she was still cool with the referral. She definitely was and had me send a query and partial to Sara (allowing me to skip the query only first step--yay!). Sara contacted me a few days later and asked for the full. I was beside myself, but knew not to get too excited yet. Back when I queried my YA, I had a number of full requests that didn't pan out. Not to mention, I follow Kristin Nelson's blog, so I know their stats: Last year==38,000 queries, 55 fulls requested, 6 offers of representation. Um, yeah. A little daunting.
But then, four (yes, four) days later, Sara emailed me. She said my book "spoke" to her (yes, now THAT is why I write. I can't tell you how thrilling those words were to hear--makes me a little misty-eyed just thinking about it.) However, she had a lot of thoughts on the changes she would want me to make to strengthen the story and wanted to see if I was on the same page with that. The changes she wanted were pretty big things, but I really could see how those elements would deepen the book, darken it, and up the suspense. So I sent her my thoughts on those changes and we scheduled THE CALL! The rest you can figure out. :)
Now, I'm embarking on rewrites. Wish me luck!
Feel free to ask me any questions I might have not covered! :) And are you as amazed as I am by how awesome the writing community is?