I’m going on an agent hunt. I’m not scared. (Part 2)

Fireworks-webBy now I was in a state of suspended belief – this was beyond what I’d allowed myself to hope for.

I was now up to nine full manuscripts requested. Two agents rang who had read my full manuscript and although weren’t intending to offer, were wanting to give advice and encouragement. I couldn’t get over the fact that these busy, busy people were taking time out, not only to read my story, but to ring with advice despite them not taking me on.

The downside now was that I had a clear picture why my story wasn’t for them and I started imagining everyone else coming back with similar comments. Somehow I managed to control my panic (just) with the help of my writing friends on twitter. My story was well and truly out there and I couldn’t go back. All I could do was wait until the dust settled and I had a true picture of what the industry thought.

Then an email came from Hannah. I was sat on our sofa with the fire lit. The kids were in bed, my husband was out and I was ordering a grocery delivery as we were out of food again. She said she’d like to meet, or chat on the phone. I hadn’t met Hannah before so we made arrangements to meet in a couple of days. Over those next days I didn’t eat, sleep or make any sense.

I travelled down to London early as I didn’t want to be late and wanted time to check out the new Foyles (it is BEAUTIFUL and I bought lots of books). I was SO nervous. Suddenly it seemed real. It’s one thing writing and sending it out but when someone professional, who knows what they’re talking about, wants to talk to you, it hits you.

Okay – cliché time – I needn’t have worried! We spent an hour chatting about my story and other work I’d done. She was interested in me and my writing and it was fun just nattering. I asked some of the questions I had written down, but I knew the biggest question – the elephant in the room, was ‘could we work together?’ After half an hour of laughing and talking, I knew that from my perspective, we could.

Presumably Hannah felt the same as she offered to represent me. It is not the done thing to do the celebratory kitchen jig in a fancy London café, but believe me I wanted to!

Now I had to explain that there were others with full manuscripts. I wanted to be fair to everyone; Hannah, the other agents and to myself. So we agreed a week. I contacted the agents who had requested a full and a couple of others who had asked to be told if I’d had an offer. Within an hour, I had received a request to meet up from another agent, plus a request for the full manuscript. Most emailed to offer congratulations and promises of reading over the weekend.

My overwhelming feeling now was guilt. It was only a week until Bologna Children’s Book Fair and several agents, who were already crazy busy, were pulling out the stops, side-lining families and squeezing my manuscript in.

On Monday I received some of THE NICEST EMAILS EVER. I mean really gorgeous. A couple made me cry (although most things were – no sleep and all this nervous energy was shredding my mental ability to hold myself together). There was also another firm offer.

I went to London again to meet another interested agent. London, twice in a week! I was nervous again but somehow the pressure was off. I had two offers, both from agents I respected and by the end of the day, I had a third.

The deadline came and the final few agents graciously bowed out, wishing me all the best. I now had a decision to make. I liked all the agents who’d offered, all were enthusiastic and had skills to offer. The only consistent piece of advice on how to make this choice is to go with your gut. Emailing Hannah was the best bit by far saying a massive YES PLEASE to her offer. Sending emails to the two fabulous agents who had also offered felt like madness; turning down agents is something I’d never thought I’d have to do.

I feel hugely honoured to be working with someone so talented and well-respected. It’s only a few weeks since I was reading Abi Elphinstone’s Dreamsnatcher thinking how wonderful it would be to have an agent like hers.

So now it’s onto the next step. I feel like after some serious trekking I’ve reached Everest’s base camp. The path ahead looks steep and I’m sure there will be times when it feels impossible. But now I’ve got a guide with me and I can’t wait to get started.

5 thoughts on “I’m going on an agent hunt. I’m not scared. (Part 2)

  1. Wow, so many agents and offers. What’s it feel like to be hot property, Kate? Now I want to know what your book’s about and I can’t seem to find any back posts!!!

    Like

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