I have an agent, and the way this came about is a headscratcher. Keep reading, and you’ll see why.
First, let’s start with the contest, #moodpitch. It was a new Twitter pitch contest that no one knew anything about. For two years, I participated in every pitch contest out there, and now there was a new one that let you create a mood board to go with your pitch. Older genres used this sorcery, but it was never allowed in picture book contests, so if I was going to participate, I had to learn what to include on a mood board and how to create one for each pitch…in ONE day. I ALMOST didn’t participate, but I love learning new things, and what did I have to lose? SLEEP. That’s what! I stayed up ALL night creating mood boards for as many pitches as possible until the contest started. You write your pitch, search for the perfect pictures to convey your story, pick a color theme…it’s a lot on no sleep. Then, I scheduled the pitches with one hour to spare before the contest started.
On the contest day, no one was getting any likes in the picture book realm. I think there were seven likes given out all day for PBs, and I got THREE of those by the same agent. This brings me to the next ALMOST. I decided not to send my three manuscripts to this agent because, in the past contests, she liked my pitches, but she always passed on them after I sent them to her. I was chatting with a critique partner who encouraged me to send them in because this agent represented a friend of hers, and she loved her. With zero sleep, I submitted all three stories, including the one she had denied previously. I thought about not sending that story because what was the point? Am I just a glutton for punishment? Apparently, yes, I am. The only reason I sent it was because I had changed up the ending…just a little bit. Another reason I ALMOST didn’t send in my manuscripts to this agent because she wasn’t known for picture books. She was the Queen of adult genres, but she wasn’t known for her picture books. Little did I know, she was diving in head first into the kidlit space with the same passion as she did with her adult genres.
On Easter Sunday, I received an email…rejection. I thought, who sends a rejection on Easter? Then a few minutes later…rejection #2. I knew I shouldn’t have sent in my manuscripts. I stared at my emails and literally said OUT LOUD, “Come on, hit me with the third one. Let’s not drag this out!” Five minutes…ten…fifteen, then BAM! I opened it up, and it read, I very much like your story and would like to schedule a CALL!” What? I read it again. Surprising things happen on Easter. Miracles, you could say.
Now, for the final WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING moment, the story the agent liked is the one she passed on previously! And as a side note, it’s my least favorite story. My CPs thought it would be best as a chapter book, so I had just finished writing it as a chapter book days before the #moodpitch contest-all 7,000 words. Using that chapter book version as a guide, I changed up my ending again for a few more layers. Now, I love it.
So, to recap…I ALMOST didn’t get an agent. The moral of the story: get out of your own head. Do the contest. Don’t eliminate the story before the agent does because MAYBE this is the right contest, the right agent, the right story, and the right time for your YES!