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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How I Got My Agent: Gina Denny

The very sweet Gina Denny was kind enough to share her "How I Got My Agent" story. This story was originally posted on her own blog back in February 2015 right after she signed with her agent. You can read her original post HERE. Thank you, Gina!


Not to give away the ending or anything, but the post sort of sums it all up. If you want the quick and dirty details:

I've officially signed with Kirsten Carleton of Waxman Leavell Literary. 

Pitchwars was involved and she originally contacted me via a PitMad event this past summer. 

That's the short version. 

Here's the long version: 

I started querying my first novel, SNOW FALLING, in the summer of 2013. As I was putting the finishing touches on that novel, I had the idea for what would eventually become SANDS OF IMMORTALITY. When I talked to other people, everyone said, "Write that book instead. That's way better than the Snow White one." 

I queried the Snow story anyway and racked up a whole lot of rejections, as would be expected. I wrote the next book - which is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty - and kept moving forward. I started writing in November of 2013, and in fact this novel was the only time I ever finished NaNoWriMo. 

In the late summer of 2014, I started querying SANDS OF IMMORTALITY. I entered it into some twitter pitch contests, one of which was the #PitMad contest. Kristen requested my work based on this pitch: 

Her mother's cryptic journal. An ancient spell. A prince on the run. Waking Sleeping Beauty was simpler when it was just a dragon

At the time, however, Kirsten worked for an agency that required exclusives. My query was with five other agents, and one already had a full manuscript, so I had to hold off on querying Kirsten.

Then came PitchWars. I entered. I was chosen by Mina Vaughn and we worked on my manuscript. When it was all done, I started querying. I got requests back immediately, so I felt really confident in my work. By this time, Kirsten was working for Waxman Leavell. They didn't require exclusive submissions, so I queried her with the new manuscript. She responded pretty quickly (next day, actually) asking for a partial, and then the next week asking for a full.

Then the holidays started.

And publishing slows to a crawl during the holidays and I sat, staring at an empty inbox for about four weeks.

Let me tell you, THAT was the agonizing part. Having fulls and partials out, knowing that everyone was enjoying time with their families and I wouldn't hear anything for weeks and weeks.


Kirsten emailed me last week, offering representation. We spoke on the phone and it was just easy. I'm not big on phone calls in general, but she had an excellent idea for tweaking my ending a bit. I was exceptionally nervous about this because my ending is definitely not a Happily Ever After, and it's not for everybody. But she doesn't want it to be a Happily Ever After, she just saw a way for it to be bittersweet in a more realistic and powerful way.

That sold me.

She got my book and my reasons for doing it the way I did. She liked the ideas for the whole series and wanted to work with me all the way. I was sold already, but I wanted to do the right thing and make sure I had all the information before I made a permanent decision, so I contacted everyone else who had my work. Two more agents requested fulls (one had a partial already, one only had the query), and I sat and I waited, refreshing my inbox like a crazy person for ten days.

But here we are. Today, I signed the contract and I am officially represented by Kirsten Carleton. I'm so excited to make some changes and to make this book the best book I can produce and eventually work towards putting it on some shelves!

For those who like the stats:

First manuscript:
Queries sent: 70
Requests: 10 (including partials, fulls, and 2 R&Rs that asked for wildly different things)
Months on the query circuit: 15

Second manuscript:
Queries sent: 27
Requests: 10 (including partials and fulls)
Months on the query circuit: two, then a break for PitchWars, and then three more, for a total of five. 

Gina Denny is a homeschooling mom to four very noisy boys and part-time band and orchestra director. In both settings, she talks a little too much about Harry Potter. She has a bachelor's degree in business, a master's degree in education, and once stood in line for NSYNC tickets for just over fourteen hours. She loves live music, hiking, overly silly sitcoms, and burritos. She writes fantasy for grown-ups and lives and works in the Phoenix area. Visit Gina's website at ginadenny.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter at @ginad129.


mshatch said...

That was a lot of waiting but I'm glad Gina got her happy ending:)

Liz A. said...

That must have been rough having it out during the holidays. You know you're not going to hear anything, but you hope anyway.

Huntress said...

Persistence is the key. So glad for you Gina.

Homeschooling? Waaay cool. *BG*