Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Five Minutes with an Agent

After lunch, I prepared to speak with Melissa Sarver, agent for the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency. It was one of the scariest things I had to do, even though Ms. Sarver isn't scary at all. She's very nice, and I enjoyed speaking with her. She's my first New York agent I've ever spoken to.

I pitched Virtuoso, my YA Paranormal novel. First things first, Ms. Sarver loved the title, which is important, although the title that gets on books is usually up to the publisher instead of the author.

Then, I went into my pitch, telling her what Virtuoso is about.

First, she told me I had to be very careful about this pitch. The first part I said was almost exactly like this other YA book titled If I Stay, which is about a cellist who is in a car accident and a coma, her family is dead, and she has to decide if she should stay or go. It sounds like a fascinating book, but you could imagine my horror and embarrassment to find out there was already a novel similar to mine.

Yet, the beginning of our novels might sound similar, mine diverges greatly. The second part of my pitch had her sit up, and I saw her eyes widen. I could almost hear her thinking, "Now, this might really work. This is different." Or, at least, that's the impression I got. She liked the concepts in the novel.

She cautioned me to lower Derek's age to keep the novel as YA, since it's on the border between upper YA fiction and adult fiction.

Then, she said when I was ready to submit the novel to send her an email, reminding her where we met, and to send along the first few chapters on my manuscript.

*blinks* That's right, folks. It's my first partial request.

*does happy dance for a moment*

But, the real work has begun. My novel needs a massive redo. I have research I need to do. And, I'm getting ready to write my NaNoWriMo novel in November. *sighs* Yes, it means I can't go back to Virtuoso until December at the earliest.

I realized something important when talking with Melissa Sarver. Being an author is what I want to do. If it means I have to write the novel again and do many revisions, then it's the way it has to be. I could do the rewrites I was previously doing and have the novel accepted by a small publisher, but I want to make the best product. I want to have a novel worthy of an agent and publisher. It'll be a lot of work, but no one ever said writing was easy.


Nicole Zoltack said...

Congrats on your partial request! That's wonderful! And yes writing isn't easy, but it's worth it in the end. :) Good luck with your revisions.

Cherie Reich said...

Thank you! It'll be a while before I can send the chapters to her, but I want to do it right.

Becky Mushko said...

Way to go with the agent interview!