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Monday, 11 January 2016

How I Got My Literary Agent - Part 2

Ok, so part two is being written much later than I'd planned ... Better late than never.

So - London baby!

The agent meeting was scheduled for 9th June 2015. So, three weeks of panicking... er... I mean preparing!

I used that time to research the Internet, again, to find out what I could in terms of the type of questions I should ask. There was a lot of information, mainly relating to what to ask when you get "the call", but little about if you were actually meeting an agent - FACE TO FACE. It was a bit stressful thinking about it actually. The only relevant blog post I found was by Dean Crawford -  The First Meeting With A Literary Agent - and I hung onto every word he'd written!

I chose questions from various other blog posts to make up a comprehensive list of things I needed to cover during our meeting (safe in the knowledge that I'd probably forget to ask most of them due to nerves!) There is a lot of information on this topic. Some I found helpful were: THIS ONE and the advice from The Writers and Artists site

Once I was happy with that, I stressed about what I was going to wear...

More than that though, I suppose I was worried about the outcome of the meeting. What if Anne didn't like me? Was she really interested in representing me, or just having a 'chat'? She'd only seen 15k of my novel - would she really want to sign me now, or wait until the novel was complete? Questions plagued my waking moments and infiltrated my dreams. It was a long three weeks. 

The big day arrived. I travelled with my daughter and sister - who dragged along her husband - and they were going to go off shopping while the meeting happened. They were key in keeping me calm. And that worked, mostly - well up until the point of nearing the station that is ...

After an embarrassing 'I-didn't-recognise-you-from-your-photo' moment on the platform of Paddington station, I relaxed. She was normal. Didn't appear scary. All was well - for the moment.

After a short taxi ride, chatting as we went, we settled in the lovely Waterside Cafe, Little Venice, and enjoyed a bit of sunshine before heading in for some goodies.

We talked about the part of the manuscript Anne had read and after what felt like minutes, she handed me an agency agreement (obviously not filled out - but one I could take away and read) Wow. I immediately relaxed when I realised she WANTED TO REPRESENT ME!!!! 

For the rest of the time we discussed all the things that I'd listed as things to ask - without needing to ask them! Just as well at that point I think. It was such a relief to know someone believed in me and my writing enough to want to represent me, and I was truly elated. It was one of those moments I didn't think would actually happen, rather one that I had merely dreamed of. 

Of course though, this was an unfinished manuscript - there were risks to taking me on. But, Anne said it was a risk for me too, so if I was willing to take the risk, so was she. Brilliant. My dilemma now was in that I'd still got the manuscript I'd originally queried Anne with, out with other agents. So, we agreed I'd get back to her in a week with my decision.

The. Hardest. Week. Ever.

It was a strange one. How do you inform other agents that you have an offer of representation - but not for the book you queried them with? Anyway, after a long week of emails and nail-biting, I got back to Anne with my "I'd love to accept your offer" email.

And then the hard work began. I had a novel to finish - and then had to hope to God that she loved it!

There was a certain amount of pressure when writing the novel because this time it was definitely going to be read. When I believed it to be finished I gained valuable feedback from some of my writer friends and edited accordingly. Then I sent it to Anne. And oh, my, God, that was a tremendously nerve wracking time!

More of that another time. I am due to write a guest post for the wonderful Jan Baynham's blog - all about my thoughts on editing and the editing process. So, please keep an eye out for that, and the other guests on her blog who will be doing the same!

Thanks for popping by :) 


  1. This is such a great post, Samantha, as we feel right there with you when you meet your agent for the first time. It also contains some helpful advice regarding where to find information about meeting an agent face to face. (says she who can only dream that day will ever come, ha, ha!) I'm so pleased that you are now represented and hope that the next stages on your route to publication run smoothly. I'm looking forward to you appearing on my blog with your advice on editing. Thank for the plug!

    1. Thanks so much Jan, and you don't have to only dream of it happening to you - it could absolutely happen!! I'll look forward to being your guest :) Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated.

  2. I've been waiting for this post for a long while (after reading part 1). As I am in the position of having started submitting to agents, I shall definitely save all your links... just in case!

    1. I know it's been a long wait - sorry! Had to create suspense ;) Thanks for being patient and reading the post now. Good luck with the subs! Will keep an eye out for news!

  3. I loved this piece Samantha, and can totally identify with these feelings. I did it backwards, got my publisher first and agent second, and was beyond excited each time. There's no job in the world that allows you to experience the whole gamut of emotions, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks for sharing xx

    1. Ah, thanks so much for reading and commenting, Caroline! It's great to hear author's differing journeys, rather than assuming it all goes the same way: get an agent, then get a publisher. Backwards is good! It certainly worked brilliantly for you, and I wish you continuing success! xx

  4. Great post

    1. Thank you Caz! And for your link - will check it out :)