Wherein ‘Kiss and Tell’ acquires an agent

It’s shaping up to be a very Merry Christmas and not just because I’m in Texas taking a break from my usual routine and enjoying family and friends here in the Lone Star State.

It’s also merry because my spate of query letters sent out around Thanksgiving drew several responses — and an offer of representation!!

Yes. We are one step closer to publication for Kiss and Tell.

If this does not strike you as exciting news, then you are not familiar with the ins and outs of acquiring an agent — and lucky you, by the way. I had heard from more than one reliable source that I should expect to contact anywhere from 30 to 100 agents before receiving an offer of representation. In fact, the process of agent hunting was described as every bit as arduous as writing a book. Say what? I did not want to believe that.

Which is why I was pretty much in denial about the difficulty of the task. Back in the summer, I emailed a New York agent about flying to an Agent Fest there to pitch her on our idea. (Agent Fests are events where you have 5 minutes to deliver your book concept and snag a potential agent’s interest, sort of like speed dating.) Anyway, this agent, Andrea, who I decided was perfect for our book, said not to fly to New York but to send her a proposal.

Which I did. And then I waited 2 weeks. And then sent a ping to see if she’d even received it.

She had. She was swamped. No time for my proposal yet.

More weeks of waiting. Like maybe 12 weeks … I wrote another chapter. And another.

In early November, Dr. Whelihan was featured on a 4-minute clip on a local TV station — I was even on-camera with one quote about the book! —  so I sent Andrea a link, thinking our astounding media savvy would entice her to read my proposal. I got a bounce-back email saying she was on maternity leave.

Ouch! Hard lesson.

I’d put all our eggs in her basket, not realizing her basket was already spoken for. Here I was foolishly hoping we’d have an agent by year’s end.  I had no time to lose.

The next week, which was the Thanksgiving holiday, I gathered up names and agencies I’d heard were “right up our alley” or with whom I had some sort of connection. Each agency’s requirements vary, so I spent a half day or so per submission. At week’s end, I’d sent out just four — enough to know that sending out 100 was likely to be the death of me.

On the Monday after Thanksgiving I received an email from a wonderful woman at Levine Greenberg (who was recommended to me by Jeannette Walls of Glass Castle fame) saying she found the proposal most interesting and would love to represent it.

Yep. Just like that.

My pal who is books editor at The Palm Beach Post called an acquaintance in the publishing biz to find out the agency’s reputation, and discovered it was stellar. We had a conference call with the agent and are thrilled with all she’s told us, and satisfied with her ideas and input.

I composed the requisite “Offer of Representation” emails to other agents I had queried; it’s a courtesy that allows them to look over your proposal quickly and jump into the fray should they choose. I received valuable feedback from two additional agents this way, though neither offered representation.

So now we’ve progressed to the contract stage with Levine Greenberg. (Contracts are standard proceedure for many literary agencies.) Dr. Whelihan’s lawyer looked it over and made a few small suggestions, which is nice because all the legal stuff is a tad scary, truth be told. We got the last changes ironed out just before everyone left for the holidays, so we’ll be signing something right after the first of the year.

Call it a Christmas miracle. Despite my novice mistakes, despite the dire predictions, despite the odds — Kiss and Tell has acquired a wonderful agent dedicated to selling it to a publishing house.

Happy 2012, indeed.

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3 Responses to “Wherein ‘Kiss and Tell’ acquires an agent”

  1. Ann McCutchan Says:

    So happy for you, Anne. Merry Christmas!

  2. Ken Steinhoff Says:

    Trips to Texas should be a lot faster after you buy your new jet.

    That’s a great Christmas gift. Congrats.

  3. Ruthanne Says:

    Congratulations! and Happy New Year!

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