I have a literary agent!! Her name is Hannah Brown Gordon and she is with the Foundry Literary + Media agency. And she hopes to take As The World Dies to the big NYC publishers and the foreign markets.
So...how did this happen?
Well....let's recap for those new to my blog.
As The World Dies was born online in August 2005. It was a flash of inspiration that had me write what was to become the opening scene of the series. I named that scene “Tiny Fingers” and considered it a short story. The immediate response was positive and readers asked me to continue. And continue I did until early 2007 when I finally finished the last scenes of what is now As The World Dies: Siege. Over those two years, I had well over 100,000 hits on the story and amassed a huge following. As the final reviews came in on the end of ATWD, I felt a great sense of relief and pride in the work. It was still a surprise when fans began clamoring that I should have the story published. Emails poured in asking that I have the story published so they could pick up a copy at their local bookstore and keep on their shelves. To the fans that loved the story so much, it was a no-brainer that someone would pick up ATWD and publish it.
So I pulled down the original and began studying the publishing world. I waded through blogs, writer’s forums, countless helpful books, websites, and joined writing groups. I wrote and rewrote query letters, studied how to write a synopsis, and got subscriptions to the Writer’s Market and other magazines. As I got deeper into the reality of the publishing world, I realized the chance of making a living off my writing or hitting it big were really slim to none. But the fan emails continued to pour in and I kept on sending out query letters. Over and over again, I was told my story was not what they were looking for at that time. I was referred to Permuted Press and found that submissions were closed. I sat at my desk and wept.
It was my husband who looked into independently publishing the books and encouraged me down that path. I was initially very resistant. I still had the dream of the literary agent and the big NYC publishing house. But I began to study how self publishing (Indie Publishing) works and how to avoid the vanity presses. My husband and I decided to put out all three books in one year, utilizing our friends with English degrees as editors and calling upon our artist friend for the covers. It was a lot of hard work and we made some mistakes, but we finally got the first book out.
The first month it sold 25 copies. My Mom bought one and another friend bought one. The other 23 were fans. The second month that number was over 60. My brothers and friends still hadn’t bought a copy, so I consoled myself with the thought that strangers were buying the books. The third month, the sales went up over 100 paperbacks sold for the first book. The numbers have steadily increased since that time. We’re selling between 400 and 500 paperbacks a month now of all three books combined.
Jacob contacted me about joining the Permuted Press family. My hands were trembling when the official offer came in. I read it over carefully and was so nervous I didn’t remember a thing I had read the first time through. I spoke at length with Jacob about Permuted Press and what it would mean to be published by the company. I was deep into the second book revisions and a little overwhelmed. I talked to my husband, best friend and mom about the offer. I paced through the house. I cried a little. Then I turned it down. I decided to continue on the course my husband and I had decided upon. I told Jacob that after the third book was out I would begin to consider other publication paths. He has remained a good friend and supporter since then and has always given me the best advice.
The second book came out in March. Sales continued to increase. One day when running errands, I told my husband about the fan emails I was receiving asking me if I was going to have a movie or TV show made of the books. I thought it was funny. I jokingly told my husband I wanted As The World Dies to be a TV show. When I got home, I took a nap. I woke up to an email from LA asking me about the TV/Film rights.
I could not believe it, but it was true! Someone in LA was interested in my books! What was really fun about the whole story was that he was attracted to my books because Jenni resembled his wife on the cover so he clicked on it to find out what the book was about. He read over the synopsis, liked what he read, and ordered the first two books.
After two failed attempts to find an entertainment lawyer, I received a referral for Barr Potter with The Fox Law Group out of LA. He is such a great guy and was very helpful in guiding me through the process of getting the option signed. The producer had already told me he was flying to Horror Realm to see me and hopefully sign the option, so I was already excited when I received a call from a publishing house the day before the convention. I told my lawyer about it just before I got on the plane.
At this point, I was in a state of shock and wondering what was going to come next.
At Horror Realm, I signed the TV/Film option and wondered what the publishing house had in mind. In the end, I would decline the offer, but it did make me realize it was time to seriously consider securing a literary agent. My lawyer had advised this right before Horror Realm and I realized he was right.
My lawyer sent out feelers. Within two weeks, I was sending off my books to Hannah Gordon. I spent a week wondering what would be her final assessment of the books and my writing. When the email finally came in that she wanted to talk to me about representation, I burst into tears then started dancing around the house. Just to have someone interested on that level was an amazing feeling.
When we finally spoke on the phone, I was a nervous wreck, but it went really well. It was strange to hear the opinion of someone at the upper end of the industry on my writing and my story. I had tears in my eyes through most of the conversation, and my heart was thumping so hard in my chest it almost hurt! By the end of the conversation I knew I wanted to sign with her. She believes in my writing, and I know she will do her best to sell the trilogy.
The final agreement was finalized the day before Thanksgiving, which gave me a whole lot more to be thankful for. The next week I received the paperwork with Hannah's signature already scrawled across the bottom. I could barely hold the pen as I signed. It was a big moment for me.
That night I told my husband that securing an agent, who believes in my work, felt like the ultimate reward for the years of failed submissions and countless hours writing. I felt happy not only for myself, but for the diehard fans that pushed me from the very beginning.
"Well," my pragmatic husband said to me, "that's all good and fine, but I hope she SELLS it now."
What comes next? I don’t know for certain, but I do know having a literary agent has the power to open new doors. The Foundry Literary + Media has a very good track record and have a staff of literary agents that have a lot of experience in the industry. I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a year of learning a whole lot more about the publishing industry. We’ll see what it has in store for me and As The World Dies.
As always, I want to thank YOU, the fans, for your support in your emails that pushed me to keep going and reach higher. You guys and gals are AWESOME!!!
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