How I Got My Agent, I Guess?

Well. Here we are. I literally never thought I’d be making this post because I just assumed this goal would forever be unattainable. I tend to write weird things. Things that could be marketable, yes, but you might have to squint at them a bit. I ‘m most inspired by anime and video games and K-pop music videos. No, I’m not joking about that last part. Korean pop music is on the cutting edge of music videos.

Anyway, the point here is that I have an agent. I never thought I’d get here and I never thought I’d be writing this post. But I’m here and I’m writing this post. So here we go:

I’ve chronicled my querying process with MIDNIGHT AT THE NOEN TIGER before. It’s been a long journey. At least two years since I got into AMM. Probably another year since I started querying. I obviously stopped querying when I got into AMM to work on the book itself. After a massive revision through, I decided to query again.

And uhhh, guess what? I STRUCK OUT. A lot. I got some full requests that all amounted to the book being too complicated, Selene being too disabled, the worldbuilding being too weird, etc. While all these agents were generally very nice in their rejections (agents are people too, everyone), I couldn’t help but feel disheartened. NEON TIGER might not be the book that got me an agent.

And so I moved on.

I kept writing. I’ve written and revised two books in the past two years, and have almost finished a third. I wrote a lot because I wanted to. I busted my ass because I wanted to. I write because this is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do with my life, because it’s the one thing I know I’m good at.

(As a side note, I wrote my first “book” in first grade and misspelled the word “rabbits” as “rabies” and that’s all you need to know about me.)

Fast forward a couple of years. I’ve written and queried two books, only to hit that same wall of rejection. Over and over and over again. However, I’m stubborn. I’m so hardheaded and I have been since I was born. So I kept writing. I didn’t want to give up no matter how much the querying process drained me because I knew this is what I wanted to do.

However, I didn’t decide to query NEON TIGER again until November of 2021. After taking a long hiatus from it and essentially shelving it, I was encouraged by my therapist to go back and look at any old projects I might want to revisit. At this point, I was feeling so run down by the constant rejection that I didn’t want to take her up on her advice. But I did. I looked at NEON TIGER and decided to give it one last try. If querying it as adult (which is what I did), didn’t work, then I’d shelve it for good this time.

This extremely small step into the querying game yielded some full requests, including one from my now-agent, Ernie Chiara. Ernie is very fast, bless him, and I think it took him all of four hours to request the full. I was excited, but I’ve been in this game for a very long time. I wasn’t expecting much as I sent him the full.

And then…Twitter happened.

And this is when I lost my mind. Thanks, Ernie.

Thanks to this little Twitter happenstance, I completely lost my shit and began frantically screaming at all my friends (and the AMM query Slack) about what it meant and if it was a good thing. Everyone assured me this was a very good thing and I should be excited, but I have an anxiety disorder and cannot be happy about anything.

And then…the R+R happened. I figured I would either have an offer or an R+R, because Ernie is not evil and would not directly tweet at me like that for no reason, and…IT WAS. An R+R I mean. I feel so lucky that Ernie was already so invested in the book to the point that we had a very long discussion about what needed to be changed. We quickly hopped on the same page about the revisions and I got to work.

Note: I am very fast. I love deadlines and manage my time very well, probably due to some undiagnosed hyperfocus issues.

Anyway, I got my revision done in a couple of days, then sat on it for two more, then sent it off to him. Ernie, once again, like me,. is very fast and got back to me within an hour about it. We set up a phone call while I was in a Kroger parking lot waiting for my groceries. I was trying not to vomit in my mom’s car. It was a fun time.

Cut to the following Monday when we had The Call. I thought I was very prepared. I had questions printed out, and I still said some dumbass things because I think I’m a comedian. Luckily, Ernie still wants to work with me anyway. I feel so lucky to have someone in my corner who not only gets my book, but someone who is enthusiastic about my career as a whole. It’s a great feeling and I literally never thought I’d get this chance. I feel so lucky, so appreciative, and so much like a shonen anime protagonist. Like Naruto, I’m going to do my best no matter what. BELIEVE IT.

Some advice:

  • Sticking to your creative vision is so hard when the publishing industry is so driven by trends. Believe me, I know this well. But it’s imperative that you do this. Someone out there is going to love your work and you should never put yourself in a box you don’t want to belong in.
  • Querying just straight up sucks. Get writer friends and non-writer friends. Get hobbies outside of writing. I cannot tell you how K-pop and dramas saved me during the querying process. Instead of obsessing over QueryTracker, I was losing my shit over the latest Monsta X comeback or something.
  • Sit it out for a while if you need to. I did.
  • There’s no magic formula for getting an agent. Sometimes it just happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. Unfortunately, this business is just as much about luck as it is talent.
  • Don’t be afraid to shelve something. Seriously, it’s okay to love a book, but if you have to shelve it, shelve it. It sucks but you can always write something else and you can always fall in love again.
  • Feel your feelings. It’s okay to get pissed or sad about the process. God knows I did.
  • Be kind to yourself. We’re all just silly little people doing our best.

So, really, that’s it. My querying journey has been very long, but getting an agent has been a very short process. Sometimes it just works out that way if you find the right agent. And if it’s not fast, don’t worry about it! Give yourself some grace and keep writing.

And maybe like watch your favorite TV show or something in the meantime. It helps.

This is Taemin and you should stan him.

3 thoughts on “How I Got My Agent, I Guess?”

  1. Awesome stuff. And yes, there’s no real way to determine if you’ll ever make it. The best thing you can do is keep trying. And it’s great that you’ve gotten traction through your own efforts. Wishing you all the best in your writing journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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