Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How I Got My Agent

So, truth. I wrote this post a long time ago (over a year ago, to be exact). I'm not sure why I never published it?? But I do still want to share my How I Got My Agent story, even though I've had an agent for almost two years now. Hopefully, my story will help someone who is currently in the query trenches. Here is the original post...

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For a while there, I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to write a post like this, so, of course, I'm over-the-moon excited to share that...


I'M REPRESENTED BY THE AMAZING MARLO BERLINER WITH THE JENNIFER DE CHIARA LITERARY AGENCY (otherwise known as JDLA)!!


When I first started querying years ago, I would scour the internet for the How I Got My Agent stories and I would soak them in. I would read example queries of those that "worked" and later on developed my own How I Got My Agent series on my blog. But that was a long time ago.

Since I loved reading those stories, I'm hoping there will be others who'll benefit from hearing my story, even if it's to convince them TO NEVER GIVE UP!!! So first, I have to tell you my story, and to do so, I have to start at the beginning.

So, here goes...

As most of you know, I published my first books, The Deception Game series, through a smaller press called Clean Teen Publishing. They've been absolutely wonderful. But in between writing, publishing, and marketing my near-future thrillers, I kept writing, switching genres to YA contemporary which is really and truly my first love. I finished ATWTSY (which is an abbreviation—not ready to share the title yet!) around May 2017. It was right before Pitch Wars started, and since I was a mentor, all of my time and energy was consumed by the contest. I loved every minute, but by the time the agent round was finished in October, I hadn't looked at my own manuscript in months. I started revising again in January or February, sent it to my critique partners in March or April and started querying in June. I sent the queries out in batches.

I immediately got lots of requests, mostly because I targeted agents who'd had other manuscripts of mine and who'd indicated they wanted to see more of my work. I was feeling really great about this new MS. I had a trip to Italy with my husband planned for July 2018, so I put my MS on the back burner and stopped querying for the rest of the summer. More requests (and rejections!) rolled in, but once October hit, I decided to send out another big batch of queries. I waited a while and then sent out what I thought would be my final batch of queries in January 2019.

Friends of mine had told me that I shouldn't stop querying until I hit the 100 query mark. That seemed like SO many to me. Too many. In the past, I never came close to that number before I threw in the towel and decided to focus on the next manuscript, then the next. But this time, THIS TIME, I knew I had to hit 100 before I could fully say that I'd given it my all. I believed in my story, and I was determined to not give up until I found the right agent for it.

In January, I formulated my list of agents I wanted to submit to. I discovered Marlo was a new agent, and when I realized I'd "met" her at the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta a couple years before, I knew I needed to query her. We had something in common, and I really felt good about sending her a query. She requested the full manuscript fairly quickly, which, of course, I was excited about. Then on a random day in February, I received the email I'd been waiting for. It was an offer of representation, but it wasn't from Marlo, it was from another agent. We set up a time to talk and then I quickly set out to notify all of the agents who either had the full or partial or who I'd recently queried (and since I'd just sent a big batch, it was quite a few agents). Some agents requested the full immediately and asked for time to read, and others politely stepped aside, even agents who'd had my full manuscript since the fall.

Marlo was one of the agents who said she was reviewing it quickly and would get back to me by my deadline. And she did! I was sick at the time with a horrible head cold, and I'll never forget the email I received one chilly Saturday morning from Marlo. It said she'd finished my manuscript and was hoping we could talk on the phone. I think I probably jumped out of bed (yes, it was one of those sicknesses where all I wanted to do was stay in bed!) and screamed a few times before responding to the email. We set up the call for a couple hours later. Turns out, she was sick with a cold also so I didn't feel so bad about my hoarse voice! Lol.

From the moment we started talking on the phone, I could tell Marlo really GOT my book. I could feel her passion for my project, and it almost brought me to tears. After years of rejection, I'd finally found an agent who loved my book as much as I did. She understood the characters and their motivations, and her ideas on how to improve it were spot on. I really felt like my book would be in good hands with her as my agent. I happily accepted her offer once my deadline had passed. The hardest part was having to tell the other agent that I'd decided to go with someone else. For the first time ever, it was my turn to reject, and it didn't feel so great.

Working with Marlo has been awesome, and I'm so excited to see where this journey takes us!

So if you take away anything from this post, let it be this: Don't give up. Don't you EVER give up. If you have a dream, and you believe in yourself 100%, then it will happen. Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning, and keep growing. There's an agent/publisher out there for you.



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

YA Scavenger Hunt (Purple Team) and Giveaway!


Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt!

This is my FIFTH TIME hosting YASH, and I'm super excited to be a part of it again! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize—one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until Sunday, October 6th.

But first, I want to take a moment to introduce myself! I'm Kristin Smith, your hostess for this leg of the hunt. I'm the author of the best-selling and award-winning YA novel CATALYST and its sequels, FORGOTTEN and FEARLESS. Be sure to enter my Giveaway at the very end of the post!


ABOUT ME:

I love fall.

My favorite colors are sky blue and pink.

My favorite scenes to write are ones with lots of kissing. :)

I'm a big fan of Karaoke and Just Dance.

I may or may not have a stash of chocolate in my nightstand.

I'm a mom to FIVE boys! (Yes, you read that correctly.) :)

If I had to choose between the mountains and the beach, I'd choose the beach. Every. Single. Time.


Now back to the Hunt!


Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FOUR contests
going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I'm part of the PURPLE TEAM, but there's also a red, blue, and gold team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!



SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PURPLE TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 6th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.



SCAVENGER HUNT POST


Today, I'm excited to be hosting ERICA CAMERON for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Be sure to check out her books and her website.

After a lifelong obsession with books, Erica Cameron spent her college years getting credit for reading and learning how to make stories of her own. Erica graduated with a double major in psychology and creative writing from Florida State University. She's written several series for young adults, including The Ryogan Chronicles and the upcoming Pax Annuls, and she contributed to various online blogs and publications. She is also an advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness. Currently, she lives in North Florida.

Connect with Erica at the following social media sites:








About the Book:


Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—her mother's ship that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences.

She has successfully kept her secret...until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn't do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with...

And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now.

Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace.

And Pax Novis is next.





**EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIAL**


You guys are in for a treat! Erica was kind enough to share the map of one level of the spaceship, Pax Novis, as well as a list of rules the onboard stowaways have to abide by.  So freaking cool! Enjoy! :)

Personal Document from Pax Novis’s Shipboard Archive
Saved from the internal access device of Guest User 2421
Terra-Sol date 3811.348

The Rules:
1.  The only time you should ever enter the main corridors of the ship is to use restroom facilities, and the only facilities you should use are the ones forward on decks 1, 2, and 12 or, at most once a week, the showers on deck 10. Exercise caution at all times and only use the facilities in hours when the bulk of the crew is elsewhere.
2.  Plans to leave the Novis must be announced at least two weeks out from the ship’s expected date of arrival at a port of call. This date should be within 120 days of boarding the Novis.
2a. Addendum: if you’re seeing this notice, you have asked permission to stay and been approved by Cira. The rule for leaving still applies, but the time frame doesn’t. Now, staying solely relies on sticking to the rules until you change your mind and want to leave.
3.  Food will be dropped in a specified location once a week. Anyone found to be taking food rationed for another will be found in violation of these rules. Don’t do it.
4.  When you came aboard, either Cira or Adrienn took your measurements. A uniform in your size should’ve been provided, and you can trade this in once a week when you shower. Warmer clothes for living in the maintenance sectors will be given out as needed. Do not enter the main corridors in anything other than the uniform. It’s as close to camouflage as we can get.
5.  Adrienn will provide simple checkups when possible. Medical care beyond that will be hard to arrange, and it must be used sparingly. To prevent problems, take the supplements and other prescriptions provided for us in the weekly supply drops.
5a. Addendum: I have emergency codes that can be used to access medical if necessary. This is a last resort to be used only when death is the only alternative. Do not risk all our places here for a cold.
6.  You will be given a sleep pad, a blanket, and a place to sleep that should be relatively safe to remain in for short periods of time. Whenever possible, try to sleep in shifts with one person keeping watch in case of unexpected changes to the maintenance schedule.
6a. Addendum: Sleep is necessary. Do your best. Don’t get caught.
7.  Any of your personal belongings too large to be carried with you constantly will be held in trust by Cira or Adrienn. They will be returned to you upon leaving the Novis. Do not ever leave any of your personal effects lying around the ship. You get one warning if this happens. The second instance will be a dismissible offense.
8.  Entertainment is limited, but Cira has arranged for terminals completely disconnected from all Novis systems with a small library of stories, vids, and games on internal memory. Trying to force a connection between these devices and the ship’s computers will result in detainment and expulsion from the ship at the first possible port.
9.  You will not be granted computer access in any capacity. General alerts posted to all available screens will be the only news you will be able to read on the Novis.
9a. Addendum: Cira has found a workaround that is only available to long-term passengers. Your access will still be restricted, and you will only be able to use the terminals personally given to you by Cira and Adrienn. However, you will have access to the ship’s library of books, vids, courses, and trainings. If you take a course and pass the certification test, Cira has promised to attach that to your ID officially before you leave the Novis for good.
10.            When at port, you must be even more careful. Crew schedules can become unpredictable. Work may happen while the Novis is stationary and connected to a backup power supply in areas of the ship rarely used otherwise. Stay hidden and stay alert.
10a. Addendum: Long-term passengers may leave while at port once every 180 days. Approval from Cira and Adrienn must be gained at least two weeks ahead of the expected arrival. The one exception to this rule is Paxis Station. No one, ever, can disembark there.
I will report all violations immediately. Failure to comply with these rules will result in your expulsion from the ship at the first available port. If Cira or Adrienn determines you’ve become a danger to yourself, another stowaway, the crew, or the ship, other measures will be taken including, but not limited to, sedation and seclusion in one of the emergency cryostasis pods.
All decisions will be made by Adrienn or Cira, and no appeals will be heard.


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Whoa! Wasn't that insanely cool?! Hope you enjoyed that behind-the-scenes look at Erica's latest novel!


And before you leave, don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a bundle of awesome books by all of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 12. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!




GIVEAWAY!!

But before you go, be sure to enter my individual Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card,SIGNED copy of one of the books in the Deception Game series (your choice!) and some awesome swag! (Books and swag are for US residents only. International winners will receive gift card only.)


ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



CONTINUE THE HUNT

To continue the hunt, you need to visit the next author—JC WelkerClick on her name to be redirected to her website.

But first, check out the first book in the Deception Game series, which is currently FREE on all major retailers.




Apple iBooks


Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck on the hunt! :)


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

YA Scavenger Hunt (Purple Team) & Giveaway!


Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt!

This is my FOURTH TIME hosting YASH, and I'm super excited to be a part of it again! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize—one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until Sunday, April 7th.

But first, I want to take a moment to introduce myself! I'm Kristin Smith, your hostess for this leg of the hunt. I'm the author of the best-selling and award-winning YA novel CATALYST and its sequels, FORGOTTEN and FEARLESS. Be sure to enter my Giveaway at the very end of the post!!


ABOUT ME:

I love fall.

My favorite colors are sky blue and pink.

My favorite scenes to write are ones with lots of kissing. :)

I'm a big fan of Karaoke and Just Dance.

I may or may not have a stash of chocolate in my nightstand.

I'm a mom to FIVE boys! (Yes, you read that correctly.) :)

If I had to choose between the mountains and the beach, I'd choose the beach. Every. Single. Time.


Now back to the Hunt!




Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FIVE contests
going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I'm part of the PURPLE TEAM, but there's also a red, blue, green, and gold team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!








SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PURPLE TEAM, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 7th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.



SCAVENGER HUNT POST


Today, I'm excited to be hosting JESSICA RUDDICK for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Be sure to check out her books and her website!



Award-winning young adult and romance author Jessica lives in Virginia with her college-sweetheart husband, two rambunctious sons, and two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs. Since her house is overflowing with testosterone, it’s a good thing she has a healthy appreciation for Marvel movies, Nerf guns, and football. Learn more about Jessica at jessicaruddick.com.

Connect with Jessica at the following social media sites:








Book Blurb:


How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPhone for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda. 

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.





**EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIAL**


YASH EXCLUSIVE TEASER EXCERPT (BIRTHRIGHT)



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Oooh, I just LOVE that excerpt!! Makes you want to read more, right?

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a bundle of awesome books by all of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 12. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!




GIVEAWAY!!

But before you go, be sure to enter my individual Giveaway for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of the first 3 books in the Deception Game series PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card and some awesome swag! (Books and swag are for US residents only. International winners will receive Amazon gift card only.)


ENTER HERE:


a Rafflecopter giveaway



CONTINUE THE HUNT

To continue the hunt, you need to visit the next author—K.M. ROBINSON. Click on her name to be redirected to her website.

But first, check out the first book in the Deception Game series, which is currently FREE on all major retailers.



Apple iBooks


Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck on the hunt! :)


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