On Sunday, I got on a train to New York City, and I had lunch with my agent.
I just typed that sentence then stared at it for two minutes. I’m not quite sure it’s sunk in yet.
So think of what it takes to get an agent.
Well, this is what it took me:
In 2006, I started to take my writing seriously. I started posting pages on a site called My Writers Circle, I started finding critique partners (Hi, Bobbie!), I started doing the research you need to do to get your act together and get published.
In the fall of 2007, I had a finished novel. I started to query agents.
I got rejected.
I’ll still never forget the one rejection letter that seriously changed my life. It was late 2007, my son wasn’t sleeping through the night yet, so I checked my email at 3am, a still-hormonal mom looking for validation anywhere I could find it.
That email started, “Hey Brigid, there’s no plot here…”
No, it was awesome. It inspired me to put that novel down, to start something new, to get my act together and really write. That was a practice novel. The next one? The real deal.
So in the spring of 2008, I started A Wicked Little Rhythm, a novel about the son of Apollo living in secret, running a music store in downtown Baltimore.
More critique partners, more work. I went to my first book conference, Bouchercon, in the fall of 2008.
I met real writers. I heard them speak. I learned a lot.
I finished A Wicked Little Rhythm in the spring of 2009, and started to query.
In July 2009, I received a full manuscript from Tamar Rydzinski. A week later, she called me, asking for significant revisions, including writing my first sex scene, something I had never done.
I did it.
In October, the awesome Tamar became my agent.
In February 2010, I mentioned to Tamar that I was working on a sequel, and she recommended starting something new.
Thank god she did (See? Awesome agent.) because the first book didn’t sell.
I finished Elemental in October 2010, and after a few rounds of revisions, it went out on submission in November.
It’s out there right now. I’m proud of it. No details; I don’t want to jinx myself.
So when my friend and agency sister Sarah Maas mentioned that she was going to be in New York City for the month of January, I said I should hop on a train and we could all have lunch.
And we did.
And it was awesome. I had such a good time.
(The tri-colored gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce was incredible.)
Five years, people. Five years. And I’m still not quite there yet.
I once read a John Grisham interview where, after The Firm became a bestseller, they said, “What’s it like to be an overnight success?”
He said, “For you guys, it’s overnight. For me, it took ten years.”
* The title of this post is for you, Alison, because you gave me a much needed reality check while I was sitting on that train. 🙂