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Monday, March 14, 2016

How I Got My Agent: Stephanie Faris

It's time for another How I Got My Agent series! This week, I've lined up some great authors who were more than willing to share their story of how they got their agent. I think you'll enjoy them! For today, we have the amazingly talented Stephanie Faris with us. Take it away, Stephanie!

How I Got My Agent
by Stephanie Faris


The journey to publication is never a straight line. For many of us, there will be a few wrong turns, some dead ends, and quite a few roadblocks along the way. But as long as you get to your final destination, it’s all worth it.

I wasn’t new to writing when I first started looking for an agent, but I was new to writing for young readers. I was so excited to hear there was finally a market for books for teens, I jumped right into writing one without really studying the market. I read quite a few books and thought I knew what the industry wanted, but I was way off.

The book that landed my agent started out as a series called Ghost Patrol. It was about three teenage ghost hunters, written at the beginning of the paranormal investigation craze. I knew it had that unique something that just might get attention, so I started sending it to agents. The feedback was positive, but interesting.

“Your voice is a little too young for young adult,” one agent said. “Could you rewrite it as a middle grade?”

At the time, this was news to me. I’d grown up young adult books like Sweet Valley High, which were targeted to tween readers. I had no idea today’s young adult books were supposed to be written for 18-year-olds to read, mostly because when I started researching, I naturally gravitated toward the sweet young adult books that were out there. I read a stack of middle grade books and rewrote Ghost Patrol as a middle grade novel.

That agent rejected it, but I knew it was even stronger. I started the research process over, searching for an agent that was looking for a great middle-grade series. That was when I found Natalie Lakosil. She was actively looking for authors at the time and she was at a great agency. I sent a partial of Ghost Patrol to her and soon after, she asked for the complete manuscript.

I still remember that trip to the post office. At the time, I’d had years of experience with standing in line at the post office with my packaged-up manuscript in hand, but I remember this one specifically. I had a good feeling about it. After more than a decade of rejections, you should learn never to get your hopes up, but you can’t help wondering, “Is this it?”

The email came in unexpectedly. I actually read her second email first, the one where she’d attached the contract. I had to backtrack to the email just before, where she’d offered representation. I know you’re supposed to think on it for a while, but I’d already researched her. I knew she was the one I wanted.

I think if there’s anything to be learned from my journey, it’s that perseverance pays off. Also, the book you land an agent with may never even see the light of day and that’s okay. It was read by the most important reader of all—the agent who sold my first (and every other) book!

(Also, P.S., Natalie just put out a call for “a fun, fresh historical or sci-fi romance.” So if you have one, send, send, send!)


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Bio:

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

Links:



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Blurb:

Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!


8 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

Thank you for hosting me here today, Kristin!

Leandra Wallace said...

Nice to hear your agent story, Stephanie! And how exciting to have gotten that email. =)

Kristin Smith said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Stephanie!

Sharon Himsl said...

Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. I find other authors' experiences very helpful. Interesting how you navigated from YA to MG after an agent gave that advice. (Oh, to be so lucky to HAVE an agent). But not sure how this will play for me. Hmm...let's see...teen girl age 15, stuck in the middle of a very adult world. A PG-13 MG? For now it's YA, until someone labels it otherwise.

Liz A. said...

You mailed the manuscript? Do they still require that? I thought everything was email these days.

Stephanie Faris said...

Thank you, everyone! Sharon--15 sounds YA to me. Too old for MG, I think. Liz--FWIW, it was 2009. LONG time ago! The email and partial were emailed but she wanted the full in print form. Some of my copyedits (from Simon & Schuster) still are in paper form. Some editors prefer to work that way.

Sandra Cox said...

Natalie sounds like a keeper. Glad it worked out so well for you.
Mine is Joyce Holland with D4EO. She's been great.

diedre Knight said...

What a great, insightful story of your journey! I would also have been surprised about today's conceptions of MG and YA. Thanks for the tip!