Posts Tagged ‘Denise Barone’

Phew! The past few days have been crazy. This entry will likely be kind of lengthy (LOL). Okay, I’ll try not to get too long winded.  Some of you may already know from reading Publisher’s Marketplace that Agent Lady (Denise Barone) sold my YA book The Fairy Godmother Files: Cinderella Complex to Astraea Press this week. Woohoo.

Yesterday we got a few really cool emails. Two were from film scouts (OMG–seriously–FREAKING OUT) and they wanted to know if they could see my MS as they’d read about the sale on PM and thought the logline sounded awesome.

Agent Lady forwarded it over.  Then we got emails from some foreign rights peeps asking about my book.  So we shot off more emails.

Lots of cool things.  I’m still astounded.  Even though the movie thing most likely won’t pan out, it’s still FLIPPING FABULOUS to even have them want to take a look.  And let me just say they’re both WELL known movie companies. 

So, about my journey. Denise signed me back in May.  We worked on cleaning up the Fairy Godmother Files for almost two months then went out on sub.

The rejections came in, but they weren’t bad rejections.  Every one of them loved the voice, the world building, the humor, the storyline etc.  The reason for rejecting? They wanted DARKER stories. Okay, so it wasn’t my writing, so that was cool and the rejections complimented the story (awesome). 

So we sent out to more publishers. Again, every editor came back saying they wanted DARKER stuff for their lists.  By now, it was getting disheartening. I mean, it wasn’t my writing and they loved the story, but the market’s geared toward the dark.  I mean, obviously this isn’t something I can change. If it’d been some writing thing, I could at least work on it.

This totally sucks when you write light, funny, sweet types of YA. So after almost five months of sending the story out, me and Agent Lady did some conversing back and forth.  We both wanted this story placed.  So we went back and forth over what our next step should be (Agent Lady is fabulous, by the way–can’t say enough good things about her).  She asked how I’d feel if we approached some smaller presses.  She knew, ultimately I had my heart set on the bigger houses, but with the market as crazy as it is, it just wasn’t happening.

So I had the choice of either setting the story aside until the market changes or I could try and place it with a smaller press.  To me, writing has always been about sharing my stories. I’ve NEVER been in it for the money.  I love to tell stories and I want people to read them.  I got back with Denise and told, yes, let’s hit these other publishers.

Then we got the offer from Astraea. They publish clean/sweeter YA so it would be a perfect fit. I tell you, at first I was kind of sad, but then, I remembered why I’m doing this. I LOVE WRITING.

Then after Denise announced our sale, the emails started pouring in (the film scouts/foreign rights peeps). And so even if things didn’t go exactly how I’d planned them, I’m very happy for the way things are turning out.  God works in mysterious ways.  Sometimes we ask for things (like book contracts with a big 6 publisher), but things happen for a reason.  Will a movie get made? Probably not, but hey, my story garnered the interest after months of publishers telling me “not dark enough”.  So, I’m totally cool with that. 

Everyone’s journey is different. I’ll always strive for the great and as long as I’m able to share my stories then I’ve already won!


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Hey everyone, I’m guest blogging over at the FABULOUS Adventures in Children’s Publishing Blog today.  Come see how my journey to snagging an agent is like Star Wars (yep, I’m talking about one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIES).

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Finally, I can announce that I’ve accepted representation from Denise Barone of the Barone Literary Agency! This morning I had a mini-freak out moment when I emailed to tell her I accepted and my email bounced (OMG). At first, I thought the Friday the 13th curse had struck (and I wasn’t even wearing ridiculous high heels or being chased by an axe wielding maniac).

Luckily, after a few attempts, I got it to go through. So SQUEEEEEEEE…this all seems SO SO SO surreal. And I can actually say: I’VE GOT AN AGENT. MY AGENT. LET ME GET WITH MY AGENT (hehehehe).

But seriously, this has been a loooong journey. 7 years, 8 manuscripts in the making. So take it from me when I say perseverance pays off. Yes, I was found in the slush pile. I have NO connections (unless you count my crushes on various celebrities—LOL).

The thing is the first story I ever sent out I got requests for partials and fulls on. So I thought: “Hey, this will be a piece of cake.” Well, it wasn’t. I got rejections (back when everyone wanted them sent by snail mail).  I continued to write other stories, research agents/publishers online, and try to hone my craft. The next story I sent out garnered more requests, and ultimately rejections. Same for the next three stories.

Then two years ago, I decided to do the mentor program through Romance Divas. I got paired up with Lee Bross, who helped me significantly. I learned where some of my weak points were and for three months she helped me strengthen my writing.

The story I wrote after taking part in the program really seemed to sit well with the agents. I got actual “feedback”. This helped me to pinpoint what I was doing wrong. And to get personalized rejections from agents is HUGE (and rare—LOL).

Then a critique group asked if I’d like to fill in for the summer because one of their members would be out. I agreed. Let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I made. They were hardcore, but I learned a TON from them. At the end of the summer we parted ways, but I knew they’d taught be a lot about my writing.

This brings us to last year, when I joined YAFF (Ya Ficition Fanatics) a by-application-only critique group. Here, I got a chance to meet ten other fabulous ladies who became not only my best friends but “writing buddies” as well. These gals helped to shape my writing. Both old members and new. They provided me with great feedback as well as support and encouragement. And they were/are brutally honest. If something isn’t working, they’ll let you know. But at the same time if they love aspects of the story, they point that out too.

The point is they prepared me for this moment. They didn’t let me get lazy with my writing. Trust me, these girls let me know if they thought I wasn’t being true to a character or if I tried to give quick/easy descriptions/plot twists when I was capable of something bigger. Here’s the thing, all of this took time.

And I admit, I didn’t stick to the traditional route. In November, I decided (while working on TFGF) that I wanted my stories read. So I subbed some of my stuff out to e-pubs/small publishers. In December, I signed my first book contract with Astraea Press. I still wanted to pursue an agent, but I also knew I wanted people to read my stories. Even if I never make it big, this has always been my main goal. To share my stories with others.

At the end of March I started querying TFGF. It got requests (yay), but I tried not to get my hopes up. I sent my letters out in batches. If I got a request, I sent out another query. If I got a rejection, I sent out another query.

Then I came across a newer agent. I verified she was legit (on Preditors and Editors) and sent out a query. The best decision I’d ever made. Denise got back to me within 24 hours requesting a full MS. Then five or six hours later she emailed me again to offer rep. She included extensive notes about revisions etc. At that moment, I had other partials/fulls out so I emailed all the agents involved and let them know about the offer. And I waited (which is way harder than it sounds).

And the rest, as they say, is history.

This WASN’T an overnight thing. I spent 7 years working my tail off. I read articles on writing. I followed agent/author/publisher blogs. I joined Query Tracker and Agent Query. Whenever I had the chance, I entered contests in order to get feedback. I joined a crit group (which was one of my most instrumental choices I’ve ever made). But most importantly, I KEPT WRITING! The only way to get better is to practice.

So, if you’re in the querying trenches, hang in there. And remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for. You want to get an agent or be published? Then work hard for it.

Looking back, I’m glad it’s taken me this long to get an agent. Because let’s face it, the harder we have to work for something, the more we’ll appreciate it!

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