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How I Got My Agent - Full Story!

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

What the frick.

Honestly, I can't believe I'm writing this, and even as I say it out loud, it's surreal.

Okay, okay, okay. Here it is. This is the story about how I got my literary agent. It's a long one, so buckle in.

Backing it up a little bit, last summer (the summer of 2019), I was querying a time travel YA project that got a lot of requests. There were a lot of "dream" agents (and I say dream lightly because honestly, sometimes an agent can be your dream, but you haven't even discovered them yet) requesting fulls, so I was hopeful this project would pan out.

This was after I had parted ways with my previous agent, shelved a project, and probably cried a lot. (I know, I know, sad stuff).

Anyway, my writing career was looking up again, and after sending out fulls and waiting a few months, the rejections started pouring in.

You can imagine - I was pretty devastated, and I had worked so hard on this project - I thought it was the one.

The one consistent piece of feedback I got from agents was that my plot wasn't where it needed to be.

I took this to heart, studying the Save The Cat beat sheet by Blake Snyder, and by August I had began a new project.

The project came easy at first, I was writing everyday.

By February 2020, I was paralyzed by the thought of COVID-19 being a reality, and then by the second week of March, Kansas closed everything down due to the pandemic.

I was sent to work home, and let me tell you - all I could think about was how this was a new opportunity for me. Besides my fiance, the pup, and binge-watching all three seasons of On My Block, writing was the only thing keeping me sane.

During the month of March, I wrote 30,000 words, completing my WIP right at 57k (which is considerably short for YA).

I was so confident about this project that, less than a week later, I sent out my "test" query. (side note: a test query is when you send your query and pages out into the world to see if it's any good. Sometimes, doing this doesn't help the process much. For more on queries, check out my old blog.)

My test query worked, and a couple of hours later, I received two enthusiastic responses - both BIG agents asking for fulls!

After dancing and screaming (cue my dog looking at me weird), I sent out my project, crossed my fingers, and went to sleep.

But listen, within 48 hours, both agents responded to my full, saying it wasn't a good fit.

I was DEVASTATED. It was an awful feeling because there was no personal feedback, I didn't know what didn't work, AND, I had started sending out A BUNCH of queries.

Then, I got another full. A few weeks went by, and that panned out to be another rejection. So, at this point, I'm definitely thinking this project was NOT going to work.

More weeks went by, and I kept sending out queries. More rejections, more nothing.

But then June 3rd came around, and an agent who had my full posted this on twitter:

Call me big-headed, vain, or what have you, but I swore it was about my project. A couple of hours later, the same agent emailed me, asking if we could talk on the phone the next day.

Cue me, again, freaking the freak out.

Then my lovely CP, Amanda (shout out to her because she truly is amazing), convinced me to do #PitMad on June 4th. I was hesitant because, even though I found my last agent via a pitch contest, I felt like it would bring nothing but heartache.

But this time it was different than any of my experiences in the past, and the twitter community was backing me up - I even had some rockstar agents supporting me, and when I tell you I could NOT breathe this day . . .

I literally could not.

No, seriously. My fiance kept asking me if I was okay.

The contest began at 8am, and by the afternoon, I'd had over 200 retweets and 30+ likes.

Then, somehow, the FREAKING AUTHOR OF The Astonishing Color of After saw my tweet, commented, and retweeted it. Death had bestowed me at this point.

So after I resurrected myself, I died again because later that evening, I saw that TWO more previous agents who requested a full, were asking if they could set up a phone call.

You better bet I said yeah to all those emails. At the same time, I was sending out requested fulls left and right, and an agent that I had sent my project to (at the end of April) had gotten back to me with positive news; I'd also seen that she had liked my #PitMad tweet, too.

So on a Thursday, around 5 on June 4th, I had "the call" with a stellar agent who offered representation.

That evening, I followed industry standard guidelines, letting every agent who had my work know that there was an offer on the table.

My emails started blowing up, and then I received another lovely note from another fantastic agent - the agent that would soon make my dreams come true.

And then the calls were lining up. By the end of it, I had five agents offering me representation.

The next two weeks were hard because, even though I had great news, I knew I was going to have to break some hearts. I did a bunch of research, talked to clients, and I slept little.

By June 18th, I was ready to make a decision, and I picked up my phone to call one of my - now - dream agents.

She honestly thought I was calling to let her down easy, but really I was calling with excitement, letting her know that I really wanted to work with her!

After our second talk, it really solidified everything. Then, she sent me the kindest email, a contract attached, and just like that we began a new partnership.

Long story short, I decided to sign with Katelyn Detweiler of Jill Grinberg Literary!

Alright, fun, fast facts, let's go!

  • Manuscripts: 5 books over ten years! YA Thriller (age 17), YA Contemporary (age 20), YA Upmarket (22 and agented) YA Time Travel (Age 24), and YA Contemporary w/ Speculative Twist (age 26).

  • Queries sent: Probably reaching up to 300 total since I've been serious about traditional publishing. For this project, I sent a little over 40.

  • Requests: 17 (fulls) 25 Total

  • R&R: 6

  • Offers: 5

  • WIP completion: 7 months!

  • Revisions: 1 week

  • Query Timeline: Just about a month.


Still have more questions? Leave a comment below.

Enjoy these posts? Like and share them in your writing community; it helps me know that I should make more.

Till next time blog world!

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7 commentaires

Such an amazing story and experience! Thank you for sharing. I'm in the middle of querying trenches now, so this gave me a little more hope. :) When is the release date for your aforementioned YA? I'm excited to read it!

Britney S. Lewis
Britney S. Lewis
05 janv. 2022
En réponse à

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!


Hi Britney,

I'm a writer, or emerging writer as I should say. I believe everything happens to me as some blessing from above the skies, though I do my part too, lol hard work. But today I accidentally landed on this blog and while I'm still reading your experiences while in query trench, I'd like if you could write a post on If agents need an absolute polished MS. Being a POC, English is not my first language, grammar goof ups are very much round the corner. So would that be a deal breaker?

Also another topic if I may suggest is 'using Pen Names, do they scare the agents?'

Britney S. Lewis
Britney S. Lewis
07 juil. 2021
En réponse à

To your second question, I don't have enough experience/information on Pen Names. I don't use one, personally, but again, I think this is all relevant to how comfortable you feel with sharing your name. There is an authortuber by the name of Alexa Donne, and she has an entire video on Pen Names as she, herself, is also traditionally published using a pen name.

I hope this helps, but feel free to reach out with any other questions. :)

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