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My Person-to-person Path to Getting Agented

The #kidlit community is really something, isn’t it?


I’ve seen work environments where the culture and even colleagues become obstacles in one’s path to success.


But here, it’s about cheering everyone on, passing the baton. Yes, it’s a marathon, but you’ve got so many racing with you (not against you), wishing for you and everyone in it to be a finisher.


So, for my “How I landed my agent” post, I’m tracing my path through the wonderful people who led me to my brilliant agent, Lisa Amstutz of Storm Literary. (Go Stormies!)


Thank you, Tara Lazar, for #Storystorm


Carole Lindstrom’s #Storystorm post sparked the idea for the manuscript I submitted to Lisa. It was about seeing things in the news and asking questions like “Why?” (for the little ones).


The question I answered through a story was: “Why is my world being destroyed by grown-ups?” I think this MS reached across the planet via QM to touch Lisa’s ecologist heart.


When she (Yipee!) requested for more work, I sent over 5 other manuscripts, 2 of which were also Storystorm babies.


To Jack Wong & serendipity!


The MS I sent Lisa wasn’t actually what I thought to be my #1, but it did fit her MSWL best. Thankfully, someone else believed in it so much, I gave it a shot.


Making your own luck (without spending very much) kind of characterizes my #amquerying journey. I joined a lot of contests and groups, one of which was KIDLIT411 Manuscript Swap on FB. On someone else’s post, I left this comment:

Jack Wong cold-FB-messaged me about the MS that was "a bit sad with a message re: nature" (What a pitch! haha). Him saying that the story "stayed" with him made me see its worth. Yep, that turned out to be the MS I sent Lisa.


Many awesome exchanges later, I consider Jack to be an MVP critique partner—my go-to "storythinker" who helps me untangle plot knots and bring the heart of my story to the surface.


To my 3 "almost" agents: You kept me going.


When the initial glow of querying optimism fades and the rejections start to sink in, small-but-incredibly-huge things can re-inflate a kidlit creator's heart.


I think of them as pitstops.


You take a breath from some intense racing, get the quick fixes that you need, and zoom off to the sound of echoing cheers.


My pitstops were three agents who showed interest in my work. I didn't get to "the call" stage with them, but just as Jack helped me believe in my story, they helped me believe in my writing.


Now, there's one more agent who helped me on this journey. It was a pass, but she gave me the words I needed most then (and who am I kidding...until now), which ran along the lines of: Those who succeed in this business are those with persistence. I never forgot that.


I made sure to thank her when I was able to share my #agented news; and, wonderful person that she is, she told me to tell her when my book comes out so she can add it to her shelf.


Like I said, the #kidlit community is truly remarkable.


And of course...


Lisa, for my golden ticket—the chance of a lifetime. This is chance as an opportunity and for the risk she took on me. I think I re-read her "request for more work" email an approximate bajillion times, and then again with the one about setting up a call. THE call.


Two things stood out for me during our Zoom session: 1, we connected on our work values (integrity, hard work, etc.); and 2, she spotted in my work, the one super specific thing I believe to be my strength. She made an offer right then and there, which I accepted. Woohoo!


And now I've got the best person in my pitstop. I don't know what the racing term is (Racer Manager? Sounds legit!), but let's just say she's cheering the loudest while expertly fine-tuning my Ferraris. She's helping me win AND enjoy the race. Thank you, Lisa.


Well, whew! That was a fun trip down memory lane.


For all the #amquerying creators out there, I am cheering you on, along with every other person in this one-of-a-kind community. I really believe that we can all be finishers.

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