THANK YOU, BEYONCÉ!
It will come as no great surprise that I am grateful to Beyoncé for the role she played in my journey toward becoming a published author.
But, if I'm going to be totally honest, I owe E.L. James a pretty big high five too.
It was about this time last year that I stumbled across a Fifty Shades of Grey live tweet and -- I am not even exaggerating because seriously -- my life changed forever. AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE REALLY EXCELLENT MOVIE I WATCHED THAT NIGHT OR THE WITTY COMMENTARY THAT BURST FORTH FROM MY BRAIN.
I got to know a bunch of wonderful people during that goofy, snarky live tweet, including my inimitable agent, Brent Taylor.
See, at that point, I’d just barely dipped my novel into the shark-filled query waters, and I'd been following Brent on Twitter for quite some time. In fact, Brent was the first agent to request THE DIMINISHED, and he was also the first person to reject it. Eep. But we had a blast and really connected during the live tweet of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Fast forward to June, a wonderful agent requested an exclusive R&R (revise and resubmit) of THE DIMINISHED. The word “exclusive” made me feel just a little squirrely, so I reached out to Brent for some advice. He encouraged me to do the revision, giving me the push I needed to dive back into my manuscript and do the hard work the book required. Brent was agenting me before he was my agent. We were meant to be.
Said agent didn’t fall as in love with my revision as we’d both hoped. I was pretty crushed, but I managed to pull myself together and started sending out my revision. I was still super proud of the work I'd done on the book, and I felt confident that THE DIMINISHED would find its home.
On the advice of a good friend, I re-queried Brent. There was just something about him that made me think we’d work really well together. I spent an embarrassingly long time picking out the perfect gif to include in my email to Brent.
In what seemed like no time at all, Brent had made an offer, I’d let the other agents who had my manuscript know, and I gave them a deadline of a week to make their decisions. That was also the week that my boyfriend and I bought our first home. Big stuff going on, guys. Big, exciting life stuff.
One of the best things to come out of that really hard week of waiting for all the agents to respond were the friendships I forged with some of the other writers at Triada and a number of other agencies. It was so incredible to see the generosity of time, advice, and friendship that is so present in our community. I strive to be as wonderful as the writers who've supported me through this process.
A week after Brent made his offer I signed the agency contract in our new kitchen. Two weeks after that, Cody and I got engaged. Holy bananas, that was a whirlwind of a month.
When the dust settled, Brent and I got to work on THE DIMINISHED. It took a couple of months of contemplation and furious revision to get the manuscript to a place where we felt confident going out on submission.
Being on submission was a super fun time*, and I will be eternally grateful to Cody, my friends, and Brent for keeping me sane while we were out.
When we were on submission, my heart rate jumped about 20 beats per minute every time the phone rang, so I changed Brent’s ringtone to FORMATION. I figured it might help to KNOW it was Brent calling. Beyoncé was the obvious choice.
I was in a very serious work meeting when my phone blared “I got hot sauce in my bag, SWAG.”
I make excellent choices, y'all.
We’d gotten word that the wonderful Lauren Smulski at Harlequin Teen had made an offer on THE DIMINISHED. I definitely didn't sob into Brent's ear over the phone or anything. I was over the damn moon. (And by "over the damn moon" I mean actually weeping for joy for literal days.)
I signed the contract with Harlequin two days before I married Cody at my parents’ house.
SO. Long story short, This is how you get a book deal. You find the perfect Beyoncé gif. The End.
In all seriousness, I’m pleased as punch to be represented by the extraordinary Brent Taylor of Triada US Literary Agency.
And I cannot wait for you to read my novel, THE DIMINISHED, which will be published by Harlequin Teen in Spring 2018, followed by its as yet unnamed sequel in Spring 2019.
MEGA SQUEE. What a year!
*Read: EXCEEDINGLY STRESSFUL AND A GREAT TIME TO PLAN A WEDDING…