Friday, August 7, 2015

Good Fridays: I Have An Agent!

Good Fridays are a spot on my blog where I share something great that happened during the week. In this case, it's something great that happened during the month. This is a very special Good Fridays post.

I've gone dark on social media and slacked off on my blog as I focused on my art and pushed for what I've wanted for a long time - an agent to represent my illustration. I didn't think I could find one to represent both my art and my writing, but then God gave me an amazing opportunity.

One of my great writer friends K. Kazul Wolf saw the #MSWL of an agent looking for the very thing I've been working on lately, an adult underwater fantasy coloring book. It was Bree Ogden of Red Sofa Literary. Needless to say, I tweeted at her to tell her I was creating such a coloring book called Dangerous Sea. She asked I query her, so I did. Then she asked for more, including art. I sent it.

mermaid mascot of Dangerous Sea
Each step got me more excited, and she wasn't losing interest. She asked me to create a book proposal for the coloring book. Two weeks later, I emailed her the proposal, including several pages of small sketch comps of the illustrations. Within 15 minutes she emailed me back saying she loved the book proposal and wanted to set up a call!

All crazy broke loose. I bounced around my house, told everyone closest to me, ate wonderful things, and waited for the arranged day. It was the weekend, so it was a few days wait.

The day of the call (my day off), I was helping my sister move furniture. When I was able to check email again, I discovered Bree had emailed to ask if she could call sooner. She very much wanted to talk to me. I grinned from ear-to-ear. I was eager to talk to her too, but I'd been so busy it was almost 5 (the time we'd agreed upon to call).

At 5, my cell rang with a number I didn't recognize and I answered, all nerves and notes and tentative hope. I knew this call would tell me if we fit together or not. I hoped we did, worried we wouldn't, and determined
to be professional no matter what happened.

I'd printed out a sheet of questions to keep me from rambling too much, and to ground me when nerves made me forget my brain. I shouldn't have worried. The conversation soon turned into mutual admiration, with both of us gushing over each other and the project. (very good sign, in case you wondered.)We discussed everything on my list, including the novel series I'm working on. To my unexpected delight, she wanted to rep all of it!

I didn't give her an answer right away. I was leaving town for church camp in northern Ohio, which would give me time to think it over and not rush into anything. It was hard not to think about it while I was away, but I had a great time at camp with my group. As soon as I got back, I emailed a few of her clients to ask what they thought of her and how well they worked together. Praise abounded, confirming I'd found the right agent.

I emailed her the week after I got the call, letting her know I very much wanted her to represent me. She was overjoyed and very excited to start working together. After a few enthusiastic emails, I was an agented illustrator!

A few things I haven't told you:
  • I followed Bree for awhile on twitter and already suspected we might fit. I knew her taste and admired some of her clients' work. I just didn't have the right project to approach her with until now.
  •  Bree was the first agent I queried with my adult coloring book idea, and the first who showed interest in it. Sometimes the right agent and the right project come together at the right time and it's a beautiful thing (a thing I prayed about for some time beforehand).
As I celebrate finally getting an agent and about to launch into my first big project with her, I remember how I felt just a few months ago still hoping for this day. The best advice I have for those still hoping is don't stop. Take chances on that project you're not sure will take off. Trust your gut. Research agents. Make connections in the genres you write, the interests you have. Put forth your best work and your best ideas and you will find your agent. Good luck!

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