Remember the poem by Thomas Dekker? It goes, “O THE month of May, the merry month of May …” And then there was that song, “While strolling in the park one day, in the merry merry month of May, I was taken by surprise by a pair of roughish eyes …”
That was me.
I was strolling down Query Lane one day, in the merry merry month of May, when I was taken by surprise by an EMAIL that made me–well, clutch my chest in utter shock. A literary agent that I liked and admired wrote she thought my picture book was “fantastic.”
But that’s not all.
She also requested I tell her about my other books, how I planned to promote them, and a bio.
A quiet Friday morning, I had hoped to visit my elderly friend who lives in a nursing home. Parked in front of the building, I sat in the driver’s seat to check my emails before going inside. (I am a chronic and compulsive email checker. My fellow writer/queryer buddies understand this. :))
The email jumped out of the electronic devise, hit my brain, exploded under my skin, and made me tingly all over. Truly, not an exaggeration. Okay, maybe a little, but I did start talking to myself. “This is different, right? No agent has ever asked me about my other books before, right? This is good, right?”
In my own mind I use the word “right” a lot.
My elderly friend wasn’t inside of her room. So I thought I should cancel my appointments for the day, go home, and respond to the email.
It took two hours to write it. I even called my parents and auntie in San Diego and read the email to them before sending. They “ooohed” and “ahhhed” while I read, so I felt a teensy dash of confidence when I finally pushed SEND.
My little son would not be home from school for hours. Nervous and restless, I went to the mall to buy a graduation gift, found a really cute necklace (BTW: later, when I gave my friend her gift, she really loved it). Then on my way home, at a red traffic light, I quickly checked my e-receipts.
Along with the e-receipts was an email from the agent. It read, “Are you available to chat on Monday afternoon?”
Oh. My. Goodness.
The traffic light switched to green, and I drove forward, but everything seemed blurry, my arms tingled and my hands felt numb. Was this for real? An agent wanted to talk to ME? In person?
Of course I eventually stopped the car and responded. She wrote back again, and we had an appointment to “chat” at 2:30 on the following Monday.
I held my head in a euphoric disbelief.
That weekend, my writer buddy from the SCBWI BlueBoards and WriteOnCon saved me from having a nervous breakdown. She had recently signed with her new agent and had many wonderful suggestions. (Hi Sharon! :)) One of them was to “just breathe.” Very good advice.
This agent was high on my query list. In fact, I had only queried 18 agents with this picture book. Eight of them had requested to see the full nonfiction proposal, including my new agent, who had made the request one day after I queried her. And here I was only 9 days later with an appointment for THE CALL.
The more I researched this agent, the more I liked her, and by Sunday evening I felt much calmer and looked forward to “chatting” with her.
She called right on time. And well, she was kind and funny, made me feel comfortable right away, had sweet things to say about me and my stories, and her plan to share them with the world sounded wonderful to me. Toward the end of the call she offered representation.
And my heart said, “Yay!”
I had to wait a whole week to give other agents an opportunity to respond. But now, I FINALLY have an agent. Her name is Dawn Frederick, literary agent and owner of Red Sofa Literary. She represents all of my stories, from picture book through middle grade, and I couldn’t be happier.
After hundreds (probably 200 plus) rejections, and years (felt like a lifetime) of hopeful expectation, I found my agent. But most of all, although I signed my contract in June, and now writing my story in July, this wonderful thing happened in the merry merry month of May.