It’s the dream of every writer. Signing with a literary agent who has the capability to take your career to a new level. And I signed with my agent in August of this year. How we met was interesting, especially since I didn’t actually pitch him at that time.
I was a volunteer for the LA Writer’s Conference 2019. Steve Hutson was one of the agents that was there and he, along with all the other agents, had already filled their slots. There were a few that had some empty slots, but for the most part, everyone was booked.
Volunteers got one free pitch session and lunch, so I took advantage of pitching Sherry Robb who is a television and literary agent in Hollywood. That was my free pitch. I was even able to give her a free copy of my YA novel, Battling Brelyn, which is the book I was hoping to have her represent for Hollywood to buy the rights to the film/tv show.
About a month goes by after the conference and I’m sitting in my room thinking about the next phase of my writing career. None of the agents I had sat with at lunch were interested in MG, other than two and one of them I knew wouldn’t be a good fit for my career. Please keep that in mind when looking for an agent: It’s not just about you signing with them, but it’s about them having the privilege of helping you with your career. It’s a marriage and you want it to work. Personality matters.
At the moment I was in deep thought about my writing career, I remembered the MG novel I’d written and had gotten professionally edited because I was originally going to self-publish it. I pulled out my business cards from the conference and remembered that I liked Steve’s quirky personality and how thoughtful he was when answering my questions during lunch. All the other agents I had heard of before, but I had never heard of Steve, yet somehow, his vibe was really laid back and cool.
So I went to his website, followed the instructions and submitted my manuscript. Two days letter I got a request for the full. Two weeks later, he emailed me saying he was interested but had a few questions/concerns about the length. I know the MG genre well and had followed the word count of many NYT bestsellers, but things do change. He asked if I’d be willing to add 3,000 words just to make sure the word count would be enough for any publishers we submitted to. I had no problem with that.
Words of wisdom: If you aren’t willing to be flexible and listen to the wisdom of your agent, you may not want to sign with anyone. I know that I’ve been in the business for over ten years, but Steve is in the current mix of what publishers want and is always pitching them, so he knows what he’s talking about.
With that being said, I added the 3,000 words and resubmitted. Not too long after (less than a week), Steve invited me on board as his new client. He sent a contract and I went over it word-for-word; I reached out to two of his current clients and their feedback boosted my “yes” from 50% to 85%. Talking to current clients is mandatory. Steve had no issues with me talking to his clients and your potential agent shouldn’t either.
Since then, I’ve had to resubmit the 3,000 words again, just to be sure there was no cliffhanger (since I pitched it as a series, I thought writing a chapter that tied into the next book would work). Steve had no problems with that, but he made a good point: just in case a publisher isn’t ready to buy into a series yet, we want them to know they are getting a complete book.
I’m excited to be a part of WordWise Media. Although I hadn’t heard of Steve and his company prior to the LA writer’s conference, I do love that he’s very serious about the business, always looking to get his clients into the big houses and constantly putting himself out there (networking). Do you have any questions on how to get an agent? It took me years, so I know the wait can be painful, but sometimes, it takes twelve books to get someone’s attention.