The story of how I got my agent is pretty unusual. I was straight out of my Masters degree, and feeling for the first time that actually selling what I wanted to write was possible.
(I went abroad and into some niiiiice debt for my degree. I love ya, America, but sometimes your educational system gets really snobby about what is acceptable reading fodder. The Great American Novel is not actually what everyone wants to read, ye ken? It's not actually the highest selling genre either, and it doesn't make you an amazing writer just because you wrote it. Thanks for brainwashing and demoralizing writer-hopefuls for years, but it's time to end that shit. You know how people always go, "But what are you going to DO with your writing degree?" It's time we all start answering, "Well, I am going to WRITE." /rocketscience)
ANYWAY. I first spoke to my agent because I was suddenly optimistic! OMG, you mean people will actually buy my romance and horror? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. I turned to a friend and writing buddy, Diana Copland, and with much apology and profuse promises that I wouldn't poach her agent, I asked Diana if she could get me in touch with said agent so I could grill her about the publishing industry.
Saritza Hernandez, kind soul that she is, let me yammer at her for a good hour with all my "HOW" and "WHATSIT" and "WHEN" and "WHEREFORE" and "I LIKE WRITING SLASH" and "AND SOMETIMES ALSO THE HORROR KIND". She answered everything in great detail, thereby making me even more optimistic. She put it within reach, which for years I had been taught to believe was a pipe dream.
She asked what I was working on.
I said I had a second-person POV male/male romance short story.
She said, "Diana highly recommends your writing."
I blubbered around a bit and probably made little sense but I know I said thank you.
She said, "I'm not accepting submissions right now, but why don't you send me the story anyway?"
Look, I get it. I get that I did not match up with my agent in the usual way. And I REALLY get it now, when I find that I have no experience writing a pitch. Point in fact, I'm about to start pitching my next project as a thriller series, and I'm like, shitshitshit, synopsis, is this a good synopsis? What the hell do you mean, 1-2 pages? Effing log lines, IT'S ONLY ONE LINE HOW CAN IT BE STOMPING ON MY HEAD LIKE GODZILLA? But I like all my characters, I can't just describe two! How does this make no sense to you?? It makes perfect sense, you just have to read the novel!!
Hence, the purchase.
My match with my agent was primarily through networking. A very important part of marketing, that, and one that I still have to practice. But I unknowingly sidestepped so many horror stories: authors who went through four agents, authors whose book deals folded right at publishing, authors who got scammed out of their burgeoning baby manuscripts. Looking back, it's frightening: I never saw what I was being spared. Complete fool's luck. I count myself extremely lucky and privileged to have found Saritza the way I did.
Now I have to pick up the slack of my good fortune. Buckle down. Learn a thing or sixty.
But hey, maybe this research will balance out the file the NSA has, documenting all my inquiries into scalpels, landmines, plagues, psychoses, handguns, the FDA, and the city of San Francisco. >_>