How I Got My Agent: Patience Is A Virtue

I have signed with a literary agent! Ring the bells and pop the champagne!

“Hurray!” you may be saying. “Also … what does that mean?”

It can be easy to get swept away in the world of writers, become so immersed in the industry that your friends and family feel vaguely supportive and generally confused. This can lead to some disappointment when you’ve reached a career milestone, yet no one you love actually recognizes it as such. Luckily for you, I’ve created a general outline of  the writer’s professional yellow brick road, assuming traditional publishing (the holy grail). It looks something like this:

Aspiring Author To Do.png

Now that we’ve got that settled, let me tell you how I powered up from “sad writer” to “nervous agented writer.”

  • February 2015: Attend my first writers conference, pitch to agents, including Julie Gwinn who requests the full MS plus a synopsis of the series. Die and go to heaven.
  • May 2015: Finish first draft of novel.
  • September 2015: Realize novel is garbage and not ready to pitch. Write a blog post about adjusting expectations.
  • January 2016: Email Julie Gwinn letting her know polished draft is coming soon!
  • February – March 2016: Outline an entirely new, entirely different novel to stay sane.
  • April – August 2016: Story grid the first novel, analyze flaws, rewrite.
  • November 2016: NaNoWriMo the first 30,000 words of the second novel
  • November 2016: Pitch first novel in a Twitter pitch contest.
  • December 2016: Receive honest feedback from small publisher – book is still a mess.
  • February – April 2017: Manuscript overhaul.  Again. Send manuscript to Julie Gwinn!
  • April 2017: Julie Gwinn kindly responds that she is placing too many YA fantasies right now. I email back thank you and I can’t wait to read said books. She responds with PLEASE QUERY IN SIX MONTHS. Which was super encouraging.
  • May 2017: Attend another writers conference that knocked my socks off.
  • June-August 2017: Yet another rewrite, applying what I’d learned at the conference.
  • September 2017: Resubmit to Julie Gwinn
  • October 30, 2017: Receive email from Julie out-of-the-blue which reads “I would like to discuss representation.” Die and go to heaven.


Julie has always been my number one draft pick. She is warm and bright, a marketing wiz and a well respected agent. It also doesn’t hurt that her agency is located in Nashville, Tennessee, which is one of my fave towns in the south. I told her to please think up reasons for me to have to be there in person.

As you may have observed from my helpful infographic above, much more work is ahead of me. But I must say, having a respected professional believe in putting my words into the hands of young readers has been an incredible, long awaited blessing. As I told Husband Hill after signing the contract, I just feel ready to roll up my sleeves and do this!

More updates to come! Thanks for reading and happiest of Thanksgivings.