How I Got My Literary Agent


because I like Marie Kondo-ed a ton of my
clothes last year for Christmas and I just didn’t want to keep buying all
these like quick fashion pieces that I wear and throw away or I hate them so
that’s why I did that so I went to a vintage store in Toronto and I got these
shorts they’re like mom jeans shorts but they’re good because I have a big butt
and tiny waist like the song so it’s helpful for me to have an elastic
waistband and then I got this sweater it says give me tea or give me death
and it’s like a sweater crop top I really like it so that was my shopping
but this video is not a shopping haul it’s the how I got my agent video I did
a version of this on my IGTV channel back when I was on IGTV on Instagram so
I thought I would refresh it for YouTube and my new YouTube channel and YouTube
audience so yeah let’s get started hey so originally when I filmed this video I
had started my entire writer journey from like the very beginning when I like
first started getting into writing and I just made the video way too long
so I’m coming back and I’m like summarizing basically all the writing
stuff I had done before I started writing my third book which is the book
I actually got my agent with so my first book I started writing it when I was 16
it was called The Pack is heavily influenced by Twilight and it was about
werewolves and so I wrote that book I started when I was 16 and I finished it
when I was 18 in my first year of university I sent approximately four
very bad queries I did not follow any guidelines I didn’t really know a lot
about it a lot of agents back then that was in 2009 a lot of agents weren’t even
accepting email queries um they wanted you to mail out the whole thing and I
just didn’t have money for that as a college student so I sent four very bad
email queries nobody responded to me as they shouldn’t have because it was very
bad and I kind of just kind of got into university life at that point I was kind
of just engrossed in that I was working a lot and so I didn’t end up writing
another novel for a long time so when I was 22 this was in 2014 around I had
finished school I had finished my four years of university I had also done an
additional year of college and I was working my first adult job I just had a
lot more free time and I started reading more on getting back into reading books
and I started a book blog called Lunchtime Librarian not because I was a
librarian but because I read at lunch when I was at work and it was
alliterative I liked it yeah and that really got me involved in the book
community in the Twitter community I started getting like a lot more
knowledge about the writing industry as a whole and querying as a whole and
things like that I keep switching my hands cause they’re getting tired but I
learned a lot about the writing community in that and I joined NaNoWriMo
that year I was like sure I’ll try writing a book in a month and I did and
that was my second book I queried that on and off for two years because I
queried too early so then I had to keep querying I entered Pitch Wars
twice I entered Author Mentor Match twice I never got in and I ended up
sending ultimately 60 queries and then I shelved that book I shelved it because I
was just kind of really tired of working on it I had had to work on it a bit
because I had created a disabled protagonist and even though I had done a
lot of research I kept kind of ending up in ableist narratives and then after I
shelved it I really kind of really felt like for me personally that as an abled
person I probably shouldn’t have been writing a disabled person’s story even
though it wasn’t about being disabled it was a really big part of it and I just
kind of felt like it was too far too far out of my lane for me to be comfortable
and so I ended up shelving that book and it’s shelved for good now I’m not gonna go
back to it so now I’m gonna jump into talking about
the third book I wrote and yeah and then we’ll jump into the full agent story
so this was the beginning summary brings me to my third book and the third book
is actually the book I got my agent on which is so funny because when I was
querying you know you do like all this obsessive stuff when you query like I
would look up statistics about when people got their literary agent like
which book they got their literary agent on and most of them had gotten it on
their third book so I was like the third book so I started NaNoWriMo in 2017 and
I actually started writing a different book I was writing a book about like
death reapers and then I kind of paused I had written like 10k of it and I was
like actually don’t like this enough to continue and I’ve had this idea in my
mind about a black witches book and it just kept eating at me and eating at me
and I kept thinking about it thinking about it so like I think it was like
five days into NaNoWriMo I was like you know what I’m gonna write this black
witches book instead and I swapped over and I started writing my book Voya
Calling and that’s a book about a family of black witches living in Toronto in
the year 2099 and the main character Voya her coming-of-age to come into her
powers as a witch goes terribly wrong and her ancestor gives her one more
chance to not screw up but the catch is that she’s making a choice between
murdering her first love or losing her family’s magic forever
this time I told myself I was like we’re not gonna query too early because that
had always been my problem I had always queried before it was the most perfect
because I was so impatient so I’d finished at the end like the end
of November and Pitch Wars was gonna happen in like August or something like
that and I told myself okay so we’re gonna edit we’re not gonna send
any agent any agents at all until Pitch Wars so I was going to force myself to
use a full six months editing this book so I gone through a round of edits and
then a contest called RevPit came up I never heard of it
RevPit revision pit so it’s a mentorship program but it’s with editors so
freelance editors instead of authors the way Pitch Wars chores contest is but they go
through your full manuscript with me and I really I wasn’t going to enter because
I was like so like boxed in to Pitch Wars I was like this is the contest this
is the contest I have to get into you just so boxed into it for no reason like
there are so many different mentorship opportunities and like one contest isn’t
better than the other it’s just some are bigger or more known than others but I
was boxed in to Pitch Wars and I was like I’m not gonna submit to RevPit and I
told myself I’m gonna edit this whole time and at the time a friend was like
you know what why don’t you just submit like you’ll still get help and if you
feel like you didn’t get enough help you can still submit to Pitch Wars later so
I was like you know what okay I’ll do it I’ll apply and I applied to RevPit each
editor had a cap at 100 entries and they chose they choose one mentee and I got
picked which was so like it was my first time being picked here everything it
felt like the lottery I was like somebody likes me somebody cares about
my work and it was so validating like you really don’t need to get into a
contest to have your work validated like it can really be validated from peers
and other people but for me just like it felt like somebody in the industry was
taking notice of something I was doing and so I got into RevPit, I edited my
book for a month with the lovely Sione Aeschliman who’s a fantastic editor
she has freelance services I’ll link her below
and was just like such a wonderful editor like they helped me so much and
they were so available for me in all contests like we did Skype calls all
that and I just I rewrote half of my book I cut half of it I rewrote half of
it in a month I’d done the whole thing in a month so it’s I guess it’s not as
impressive but but I did that and there was there wasn’t a showcase but there
was PitMad after so I started the book I finished the book November 28th so I had
waited basically like six months of editing before putting it out to agents
and because I have I have so many delusions of grandeur and I think a lot
of people do but I really did I really hope that I would be like the belle of
the PitMad ball like I’d be one of those people that got like hundreds of likes
and I’d find an agent in a day and we’d sign and we have a book deal a week
later like those are the hopes that I had for myself and that is not what
happened so I put my first PitMad tweet out and I think in like half an hour I
think I’d gotten like three likes so there’s nothing wrong with that
honestly like there are lots of people that don’t get any agent likes at all
getting any agent likes is awesome but because I had put up these high
expectations for myself I was so sad I was so like emo and down on myself and I
was like this book isn’t as good as I thought it was obviously it isn’t as
good as anybody else thought it was nobody’s ever gonna sign me I wasted
my time again it was such a huge failure it did get better by the end of the day
like by the end of PitMad on that one tweet I did actually get 49 likes not
all were agents but a lot of them were and a lot of them were really great
agents that I was really excited to query and so I basically made a list I
made a list of all the agents that had PitMad liked me and I put a note on
them that said PitMad I organized all my queries query tracker and I made a
list of all these agents I really caution to not send queries to agents
that you don’t think that you would work well with I talked about this and I’m
gonna like it I talked about this in the 10 tips of 10 querying tips for 10 from
10 different writers video that I made but what had happened was an agent a
very lovely agent had directly requested my manuscript for me and like via email
and I felt I was so like it’s so in my own head but I felt that I had to send
it to them even though I didn’t think we would be a good fit not because they
aren’t a lovely agent but just because I didn’t think that our styles kind of
mesh together and I had sent it off to them and then so this is they had
offered in like a week so like a week after like I had started querying they
offered to represent me and I hopped on the phone call with them because I was
like maybe my mind will be changed and I really just didn’t know a lot about them
and then when I talk to them more I’ll realize actually we are a really good
fit but I talked to them and I still kind of felt like even though they were
a good agent that they weren’t quite the fit for me so after thinking a lot on it
I ended up declining that offer outright I did explain to the agent that I didn’t
feel like we were a good fit and I didn’t feel like I was as enthusiastic
as all of their clients were about them and so I would have to decline outright
which was really scary it was really scary because in part I was worried that
they were gonna like hate me because of this and I really didn’t want that like
I think they’re such a great person I really didn’t want them to hate me and
then I also was worried that I was never gonna get another offer but then at the
end of the day I felt like it’s better for me to decline an offer feeling that
it’s not a good fit than it is for me to accept it and then
maybe later down the line be upset if things didn’t work out because then oh
the only person I have to blame is myself so I continued querying like
normal rejections were coming through which was hard a lot of other people
that had started querying around the time I was querying they have like
picked up agents very quickly and I was starting to feel like start is starting
to feel it in my heart I was starting to hurt but I kept on with it I was like
it’s still like so early days before when I had queried my second book I was
querying for two years on and off so it was just like whatever so I was
querying I queried all those PitMad agents and then I kind of felt like oh
maybe I’ll like check my list again and see if there’s any more agents I want to
add but in looking for a new agents to add to my list that I hadn’t had on
before I found one agent their wants were a little bit more general
previously I’d been looking for people that like explicitly said they wanted
witches or had liked my PitMad post tweet but this was a little bit more
broad but I had recognized the agent’s name and I remember that one of my
friends who’s in the Toronto writer group it was her agent and I know that
she had just recently gotten a book deal and she was really happy with how the
whole process had gone sorry I’m so gross
she’s really happy with how the whole process had gone and so I was like okay
yeah I’ll like add her agent to my list and I didn’t really think too much about
it I just went through my list and I queried them I just sent them a cold
query they hadn’t previously expressed any interest in me they didn’t like
any tweets I have, nothing like that it was just I was like you seem like you
would be a good fit and I know you’re good because my friend is signed with
you I’ll send you a query and I think it took
a couple of like a few days not very long at all for them to request the full
manuscript and I was like okay at that time I’d been getting like quite a good
rate of acceptances I actually because I used query tracker I have like a little
chart of my request rate I’m gonna put that here for you to look at it does
include my requests that I got after I sent out an email saying I had an offer
so then I got more requests off of that but that’s this is like the full request
rate anyway so I sent the query off I sent the full
manuscript off to that agent I was like cool awesome full manuscript requests this is
all great and then about so when was this it was like a month later I got an
email from them and it said oh I’d love to have a phone call with you and I’m
like I freaked out I was so excited I was like oh my god I was like they want
to have a phone call with me this is like it was like I had had a lot of
excitement because I had been so excited about this agent I really felt like we
could be a really good fit and so I was really excited about going on a phone
call with them and then because my brain loves to punish me it was like maybe
it’s a call so that they can tell you they want you to do an R&R and I was
like oh yeah I guess so um R&Rs are like great opportunities but previously
I had done R&Rs and they had never worked out for me and so I was like wah
wah wah but I was like okay whatever we’ll do the phone call and I’ll see and
I had the phone call with them and they said just so you know like once we
started the phone call we said hi how are you pleasantries they were like just
so you know up front this is an offer for representation and I was like
so excited and so happy and that agent was Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency
who I did sign with I did sign with her there’s no dramatics here I did get
one other offer in the end but ultimately felt like Kristy was the
best fit for me I felt like she really understood the book she had like really
great ideas for how to go forward something that really stood out to me
was that she already had names of editors she had in mind for to send the
book to on submission she had an editorial background I wanted
an editorial agent so that they could help me and she yeah she also her
editorial background had also given her a lot of connections with other editors
in the industry had great sales and she had a great personality and all her
clients had lovely things to say about her she’s got a little collection of
Canadians so I joined the Canadian collection and because she was my
friend’s agent I also felt very very confident about how we would be together
I think when you like talk with clients and you get feedback for for an agent
it’s hard to see a client ever saying anything bad but because she was my
friend’s agent I felt really confident that she was gonna be a great agent and
she has been she’s been a wonderful agent I’ve been so so happy with Kristy
so you should query her if you think you guys are gonna be a good fit you should
query her and that’s how I got my agent so I started querying June 7th and I
signed with Kristy August the 2nd so it was kind of like it was like about
two months just a little bit under two months of querying for me to sign with
my agent which was like very fast my second book I’d queried like I said for
two years on and off so this was like incredibly fast for me and then we spent
six months editing the book before we went on
submission to editors which is the stage at which the book is now that’s my how I
got my agent story yeah if you have any questions about like the my querying
process or like working with my agent anything like that feel free to ask it
ask it in the comments below I’m also going to link to Kristy’s details in
case you want to query her I’m gonna link query tracker which is the program
I used to track all the queries yeah and that’s what’s going to be in the
description and thank you so much for watching if you like this video please
give it a thumbs up and please subscribe if you haven’t already I had gone through
that whole process of querying and I’ve learned so much and when I was joining
the book community and then the writer community that’s what had helped me do
so much better going forward was learning from different people and so I
try and like pass on things that I’ve learned that helped me a lot to help
other people so yeah and that’s it thank you for watching bye

12 Replies to “How I Got My Literary Agent

  1. I have added the query letter I sent to my now agent in the video description! ALSO, if you have any questions for me about querying or getting my agent, feel free to ask in the comments.

  2. omg I love that tea sweatshirt! LOL
    This was a great video! So interesting. I follow Kristy on twitter and she seems like such a sweetheart

  3. I might be binging all your videos rn because I love what you're doing!! <3.<3 How have I not seen your videos before? I'm mad about it tbh. What the heck

  4. It is always so inspirational to hear agent stories. Makes it feel so much more possible than what it actually feels like inside lol

  5. Omg… you sound just like me. I’m forcing myself to edit this book until it’s as close to perfect as it can be before I query.

  6. Thanks for the video this was app insightful! I'm still in the revising stage but I'm hoping to start querying around November☺

  7. I’m so glad you didn’t settle and went for what was best for you. I bet that was super hard 😩😂

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