Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Cup of Agent-Tea

When I finished my first novel, about a year ago, my mom flew down from Minnesota to help host a “Novel-Tea” party. I knew as soon as the characters and story began formulating in my mind that I’d want to celebrate in such a way. A handful of my dearest friends gathered to make dream-centered crafts, eat tasty food and talk about our creative goals.

A friend who couldn’t attend told me he’d be at the next one, which would be “even better,” seeing as it would mark the day I landed an agent or signed a publishing contract. Although I didn’t say it, I disagreed; you only finish your first novel once. I suspect that no event will match the unique sensation that brings. Sure, I had revisions to complete, then the whole query letter, agent-hunt spree. But regardless of what happened next, no one could take what I’d accomplished. (I hope all writers feel this way...)

A couple of days ago I came upon photos from the tea party and noticed that the pink flowers my mom planted during her visit had sprung to life, seemingly overnight. I then received two exciting emails from agents, both interested in representing my novel.

Before the phone meetings, a crazy mix of hope, eagerness, glee and punched-in-the-stomach nausea overwhelmed me. I listened to songs from the tea party and songs my dad has sent me via iTunes (they always seem to speak to where I’m at) and headed to the park to sit in a quiet place.

I wrote, more like scribbled in hyper/nervous pen, in my journal that regardless of what happened next, I wanted to recall and savor the current giddiness. It’s about the journey, after all -- right?

Yesterday I signed a contract with a fantastic agent at an incredibly reputable agency. After I stopped floor dancing (don’t ask...) I shared the news with loved ones.

I’m so glad I took time to observe and mentally record how I felt beforehand. The happiness and gratitude I feel now marks another step, another beginning, in my writing career. And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t finished the darn thing in the first place! (See how important that first draft is???)

Okay, so perhaps I’m stating the obvious: Not completing your book is the one sure way to not get agented or published. What’s more important, in my opinion, is the bumpy, cool ride and diligence it takes to get to that final page, paired with appreciation and willingness to celebrate every step along the way.

I’m the same person and writer I was before the flowers sprouted, the agents beckoned and the contract appeared. But now I have the joy of bringing my vigor regarding this next step to the page. (The other vital aspect of writing success: KEEP WRITING. Most days I feel as though I couldn’t help or stop if I tried.)

Fellow writers with whom I’ve shared my latest news have offered big time support and encouragement, I imagine because they truly get it. Many of them are significant steps beyond my current stage, yet they all seem to recall what it’s like to sit here. With them in mind, I’ll sip a spot of agent-tea then get straight back to work. One of the best parts of new beginnings: the work, responsibility and possibilities they bring...


  1. Very proud of you. I think you inherited your Mother's gift of writing! Love, Dad

  2. Thanks, Dad! I hope I did... ;)

  3. Big congrats August! I hope the agent sells it to a publisher soon. My name is Jonathan Mitchell. You may or may not remember me. We met some weeks or months ago at Mike Sirota's book signing in Burbank. He gave me some editorial advice for my novel. I also have a blog. You might want to check it out if you have time.