Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Next BIG Step!

 I don’t know exactly how many steps it takes to become a published writer, but I do know I recently took a huge one – 

I am now...

                  (drumroll please!)

…an agented author!

(We will pause here for cheers, whistles and Snoopy dancing!)

It all started when I received the sage advice (first from Tina Radcliffe and then from Julie Lessman, two of the authors from Seekerville) that it was time to get an agent.

Hah! Easier said than done!

First of all, I needed to write a query letter.

No, scratch that.

First of all, I needed to understand what a query letter IS. (See the results of that part of the journey here)

Next, I needed to write a query letter.

                    Not just A query letter – I needed to write MY query letter.

Because the query letter is your foot-in-the-door, smile-on-your-face first impression.

Then I needed to polish my synopsis.

Then all I needed to do was put it all together and send it off to an agent!

No – back up again – first I needed to find an agent I wanted to query, research the agent and the agency – make that multiple agents and agencies – and prioritize my list.
There are so many good agencies, prioritizing was the hardest part!

I queried one agent, ended up with a negative result, and put querying agents on the back of the stove.
God was telling me to wait, so I waited.

Then the Seekerville ladies (thank you, Ruth Logan Herne!) had another one of their impromptu contests - -
-          - well, impromptu for their readers. I know a LOT of thought, prayer and planning goes into these contests!

But this contest just HAPPENED to be an agent query contest.
The five finalists were given an opportunity to query an agent that just HAPPENED to be one of the top agents on my list.
And I just HAPPENED to be one of those five finalists.

So, with much trepidation, I sent my query to Barbara Scott, of WordServe Literary (

knowing I would have to wait several weeks for an answer…
…and got an email back from her in less than an hour!

The rest, as they say, is history.

I can’t tell you how much it means for this newbie writer to have an agent – someone who knows the business, knows the publishing houses, knows the editors, and is enthusiastic about my book. 

Whew! I feel like I have Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and Roger Staubach all rolled into one as my quarterback!

Lessons learned?

1)      Finish your book! If you’re a new writer, have been working on that story for a while, but you’re still not even close to writing “The End”, sit in your chair and work! If you need some cheerleaders, join the #1K1HR group on Facebook ( Tell ‘em I sent you.

2)      Research agencies and agents – find out who they represent, what kinds of stories they’re looking for – and ask your friends for recommendations. Read the agents’ blogs, their guest appearances on writing blogs, and their bios. Make a list of your top five. Once you’ve queried all of them, make another list of your top five.

3)      Be like a Boy Scout: Be Prepared! You never know when God is going to send opportunity to your door, so be prepared to answer that door when He does. Write your query letter. Write your synopsis – better yet, write two. Have a one-page and a three-page both ready. You can then expand or contract your synopsis easily to fit the requirements of the opportunity.

4)      Don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking – pray for God to show you His time for you to send out that query!

5)      When you get that call or that e-mail, don’t faint. The floor is hard, and you’ll just worry the dog.

6)      Call your husband and crit partners with the news before the excitement wears off.

7)      Start on your next book, if you haven’t already!

Happy Writing!


  1. That's SO exciting!!! ANd I've heard she's such a sweet lady. Congrats!

  2. Definitely lots of "cheers, whistles and Snoopy dancing" happening. I'm so pleased for you, Jan! Earlier today someone posted a plaque on Facebook I had to share: "Happy is the person who learns to wait as he prays, and never loses his patience, for God's time is the best time." I love that, because it's where I am right now. Like you, I spent time researching agents, only to query "the" one, and be rejected. Since then I haven't queried again. I chose to keep writing instead, but I'm recognizing God's prodding to move forward, so your "lessons" are well timed. Winning a synopsis critique during Speedbo was another reminder that He has my future under control. :)

  3. Jessica - Yes, she is a sweet lady! Thanks for the congrats (and your book is on my TR pile - right underneath Julie Lessman!)

    Carol - Pay attention to the prodding! And congrats on the Speedbo win - I didn't win anything all month long, but I always know I'll win exactly what I need when I need it. A critique must be exactly what you needed!

  4. Congrats, Jan! Hope she does great things for you!


  5. Let me tell you, Jan, we were dancing in the streets in Seekerville when we heard this, so you go, girl!!! :)