Sunday, February 10, 2008

Out of the slush pile!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and visit and leave so many lovely messages on my agent post. I know some people want more details, so here's the story.

Sealsong is a contemporary fantasy for young adults. It's built on one of the great Scottish myths I loved as a child, the selkies - the half seal, half people of the seas. When I started to think about sending it out to agents, I figured out that my ideal agent would be a person who would not only read the story and think 'sales potential', but also a person who would actively enjoy the novel for themselves; somebody who would throw themselves into that world. I thought this person would probably be young, female and working in a smaller agency. It turned out I was right about that.

Around the middle of last year I found an article, which I have never found again, extolling the virtues of young, enthusiastic agents. One of the agents named was Kate Scherler of Fletcher & Parry, so I sent her off my query by mail. A few weeks later she asked for a partial. She came back and said she loved the chapters (ahhh) and asked to see the full. At the time I had other partials out and another agent asked for a full a week or so later, so I was starting to think I wasn't a complete idiot - and getting a little bit excited.

Kate sent me a few e-mails in the next couple of months letting me know that she was still interested in Sealsong. In October she sent a more detailed message explaining some areas that she thought could be improved and said she would love to read a rewrite. A few weeks later I sent her a new version and in early December she came back and said she would like to submit it!

I had a ton of questions, most of which were probably very silly, but we spoke on the phone and she cleared them all up with ease. Kate was extremely pleasant and also had a very pretty voice - I love pretty voices! She then sent me a copy of the agency letter of agreement by e-mail and that was such an exciting moment - seeing my name on the top of that document! That kind of made it real.

Christmas then slowed things down a little, but we exchanged some e-mails in the meantime, and, as most of you know, I went a little crazy setting up a website. Kate suggested that as I was so far away from US editors and readers it might be a good idea to have more information readily available - something to show that I wasn't really that far away and that would offer people a way to contact me.

So it's really real and now we're moving on to the next step of sending the novel out to publishers. Fingers crossed for me!


Evil Editor said...

I noted on Pacatrue's blog that you were searching for your earliest contributions to EE.

Here are the first two:

Amazingly, they're 28 days apart, yet 67 New Beginnings apart.

Robin S. said...


You don't need fingers crossed. Your writing takes care of itself; no help necessary.

Sarah said...

And you can call on some of us when you come to the states and do your whirlwind book tour!

McKoala said...

Wow, thanks EE. Turns out 'true's first continuation was only a few days before mine. Looks like we got in just before the rush.

Thanks Robin and Sarah!

ChristineEldin said...

Ahhhh! EE is a sweetie! I'll go check those out!!!

And thanks for the backstory!! It's really nice to know the details of such a journey....

Shanta Everington said...

Ah. I love a fairytale story. Just needs the ending now. 6 figure advance ha ha. Go girl! everything is crossed.

So don't they have literary agents down under?!

Hey, is your website up and running? Where is the link?

blogless_troll said...

Can't wait to buy it! Congrats again.

Ello said...

fingers and toes crossed for you Koala! I can not wait to buy your book but please tell us a little more about it when you can!

pacatrue said...

Yes, please do tell us when it's out. I realize you'll have to decloak, but you can send coded messages and we'll all promise to keep it a secret from whomever.

Josephine Damian said...

McKoala: In the past few years, I've believed the sniper approach was better than the shotgun approach - targetting a short story to a particular magazine, and narrowing the agent search to a select few who'd be most interested - I think it's the best way to go rather than query or submit widely (wildly?). I think you save yourself a lot of rejection this way.

Best of luck! Much congratualtions!

McKoala said...

Hi Shanta - I think most of us only see figures like that in our dreams (right beside the ones with the pecs, lol). There are agents here, but I could only find three interested in YA and I thought the US would be a stronger market.

Thank you blogless and ello; lol 'true 'decloak'. I'll take off the koala suit the day you take of the paca one.

Ah, Josephine... Trust me, there were rejections! I received some'good' ones, in that they mentioned what they didn't like and if I agreed I would fix it. There was one suggestion, though that made me think: 'you what?! you're kidding! no way on earth!' and I may tell you about it one day...

sylvia said...

HURRAY! I know I'm late to the party but congrats! and well done! and wow!

What great news *bounce*

I want to read it now - and also to hear the suggestions that didn't make the grade. But not until it's safely in bookstores.