I’m glad to bring you another success story of a friend I made in last year’s Speculative Fiction Marathon. (This year’s marathon starts next week, June 4th. See my post on the SFSM.) Usually the phrase it never rains but it pours refers to negative events. For Stephanie it meant amazing things. I can’t wait to hear more from her as she undergoes the submission process.
I got the email on a Tuesday. I was sitting in my acting class at San Diego State University, taking notes on my laptop and watching my fellow classmates perform theatrical pieces when I noticed the little red “1” at the bottom of the screen. Distraction led me to skim the email without noticing who it was from.
My reaction: double-take → shock → audible squeal that no one noticed, because the class was getting rowdy.
An agent had finished my manuscript, and wanted to know when a good time might be to chat, once she finished wiping the tears from her eyes. Yes, my YA sci-fi had made her cry.
Questions tumbled through my mind. Would this be the call, or just one of those “let's discuss revisions over the phone, but I won't actually make an offer yet” kind of deals? See, this wasn't going to be my first time speaking with an agent on the phone. Two months prior, an agent had called me out of the blue one afternoon after reading part of my manuscript to discuss its failings and what I could do to improve it. I will be forever grateful for that call, as it led me to revise and turn my novel into the manuscript that landed me an agent. But when another call loomed on the horizon, I didn't want to get my hopes up.
I emailed the agent back with my availability. I pulled up several blog posts and forums about getting The Call, just in case. The next day, I tried to ignore my cell phone. We hadn't actually scheduled a time, so the agent could've called at any second. For a couple solid hours, I was a tangle of nervousness and second guesses. Around lunchtime, I decided to go to the library to take my mind off the call.
I was turning right at the light for the library when my phone rang. I pulled into the parking lot as quickly as I could, cursing the car that almost blocked me, and managed to answer in the nick of time.
For the next twenty-odd minutes, I sat in my car with a door open (it was hot in that parking lot), a giddy smile plastered on my face. The agent loved my ms (which I had sent her a week and a half prior) and offered representation.
Back at home, emails were sent to other agents reading my ms or query, letting them know they had a week to get back to me. I spent the next several days in a daze, pinching myself occasionally. This was the third ms I'd queried over the course of six years. Only a day before I received the email requesting The Call, I'd been ready to give up on this manuscript and move onto the next.
Things got even more surreal when I received a second email in which an agent wanted a call. That Friday morning, I spoke with two agents from the same agency on the phone and listened as they gushed about my ms and tried to convince me to say “yes” to them right then and there. But there were still five others reading, and I had to give them time to finish.
Another offer came the following Monday, and I started pulling my hair out. A fourth came Tuesday evening. Wednesday, I spoke to the fourth agent on the phone, then took an hour to watch a new episode of Glee and figure out which agent I should pick.
I kept coming back to the second agent who'd offered: Alison Fargis of Stonesong. From the minute I started chatting with her and her fellow agent, Emmanuelle Morgen, I knew I wanted it to work with her. She had missed a subway stop and almost forgotten to pick her son up at school trying to finish my ms. Her clients praised her. She and I had the same vision for my story. Most of all, out of all four agents, I could tell she wanted it the most. She was truly fighting for me.
So I picked her. :)
BIO: Stephanie Diaz is 19. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, she currently studies film production at San Diego State University, but spends most of her time making novels out of stories in her head. She enjoys rainy days and afternoons spent wearing PJs and sipping wild berry tea. Someday, she would like to hike the trail to Mount Doom. Her work is represented by Alison Fargis of Stonesong.