I love my agent.
Her name is Hannah Brown and she is with the Foundry Literary + Media agency in New York City. It is a young agency, but full of veteran agents and they make some killer deals for their clients. I feel lucky to have representation with them.
I feel VERY lucky to have Hannah as my agent. She's quick to respond when I email her or call her. She tells me straight out what she thinks about my books, my potential career, my writing, my plot, etc...etc... And what I love most about her is that she is enthusiastic about my work and believes in me as a writer. It gives me an immense confidence boost and makes me feel..well..for lack of a better word...legit.
I feel like I have a shiny badge on my chest that reads "Agent Approved." It sits next to my "Fanbase Approved" and "Dr. Pus Approved" badges. All three make me feel like giggling, but the agent one is the one other upcoming writers would instantly point at and say "Wow."
Now I want to add the "Approved by Editor of Big NYC Publishing House" badge. You know, the Holy Grail of the traditional publishing world.
Which brings me to the latest update on the life of the As The World Dies Trilogy. My agent pitched it Thursday and Friday to the big NYC publishing houses. She said it went very well and all the editors she approached wanted to see the first book (the one we are trying to sell). She sent off the package she had prepared with her pitch, the ebook of As The World Dies: The First Days, and the materials I had provided her (awards the book won, blurbs, reviews, the option deal, etc). Hannah explained that it is not only about being a good writer (which she believes me to be), but being marketable. Because of being self-published, I had more to add to the package because the book was so well received by the zombie genre community of fans and authors. Now how this will play out has yet to be seen, but so far, so good.
A year ago, I would have never imagined being in this position. At that point I was determined to put out all three books myself and do the best job I could. I had lost the hope of the traditional route at that point due to several reasons. For one, at that time, the publishing industry was not looking for what I had written...though apparently they are now. Also, with the publishing industry undergoing massive changes due to not only the economy, but the impact of the new media, I wasn't too sure if it was a viable route at that time. With the fans clamoring and the new media available, it just felt like going indie was the right thing to do. If someone had said, "Hey, Rhiannon, in a year you'll have an agent and she'll be pitching your book to the big NYC publishers," I wouldn't have believed them. I had sadly laid that dream aside and birthed a new one.
I was actually quite happy doing my own thing, but around August, after the last book came out, I kept hearing the same advice over and over again.
"You need to take this to the next level."
The TV/Film option was being negotiated at the time, so I felt I had progressed in that respect. But what was the next level?
"Get an agent."
The mere thought made me feel a little weak-kneed. I already had a slew of rejections from the first go around.
Just before Horror Realm, a big name in publishing showed up to discuss an offer with me. It would be a month before my lawyer and I spoke with the editor. As I listened to the pitch, I knew the deal was not for me. Afterward, my lawyer and I spoke. Again, the subject of an agent was brought up. He offered to put feelers out. I agreed.
Within a few weeks, Hannah had read As The World Dies: The First Days and loved it. After talking to her on the phone, I knew I wanted her to represent me and see if she could get my book to the big boys.
Now...here we are! And I'm amazed at how fast things happened, but terrified at the same time. I know it will take more than one person loving the book at a publishing house to land a deal. Hannah is very excited and confident. When I talk to her, I admit, I feel the same way.
It is later on, when I'm in my own thoughts that I wonder if it will actually happen. Will my tale of two very different women fighting the zombie hordes in rural Texas will actually end up at a big house. Friends, fans and family seem to think it is a done deal. A few have even said, "You KNOW this is going to happen. Stop worrying." Sometimes I believe them, other times, I don't.
I guess that is the nature of being human.
So...I'm trying not to go crazy as I wait for word. I'm trying to keep focused on my current projects and keep positive in my outlook. I remind myself of how far the book as come in such a short time and how much it is beloved by fans. I remind myself that it has been optioned for TV/Film and that my agent loved it, too. I remind myself that even other writers, published in both small and large presses have sent me really nice emails telling me how much they loved the books. I remind myself of all the positives and ignore my own angst.
"What will you have lost if it doesn't happen?" Kody Boye asked me one night. "You'll still have everything you have now."
He's right. What I have now is solid sales, a wonderful fanbase, support from the other authors in the genre, a good clear vision of the next books I want to write, a wonderful husband, and a good life.
But if I can get that one last badge on my chest...that one last one that reads "Approved by an Editor of an NYC Publishing House," it will make life that much sweeter.