Monday, June 4, 2012

Here's the scoop

I'm going sort of off topic today. One of my blog mates actually encouraged this, so I'm not going totally solo rogue. Something wonderful happened Friday, but it started weeks and weeks ago. To add to the suspense, I'll start at the beginning and save the ending for..well, for the end.

Over the years, I've queried hundreds (yes, hundreds). Here are my stats. 212 for one project--15 interested agents, 2 positive responses, but no offers. 55 for another project, 3 interested agents, no ultimate positive responses. 63 queries, 3 showed interest, but in the end no positive responses. That's a partial list because I was querying for a few years before I started keeping track on Query Tracker.

I had much better luck with small press. One of the first two I queried took CHOKE last year. However, we parted company in May and I am self-publishing the rest of that series.

Even though I say I had quit querying agents, there has always been one agency I'm interested in. That one is BookEnds. I've sent them proposals several times because of their excellent track records with cozies. I also know some authors who employ them and are happy there.

So, earlier this year, my good friend Peg Cochran/Meg London, who is writing two series for BookEnds and Berkley Prime Crime, alerted me to a new idea being put out by a Berkley editor, an idea for a series set in Texas, where I live. She encouraged me to turn in a proposal for it. I've done more than one proposal for BookEnds in the past, and they've liked some, but have never taken me on. A proposal is three chapters of a mystery, the synopsis for the rest, and sketches for two more books. These take me about a month. I have one of them that I would someday like to go ahead and develop, but it didn't get me in the BookEnds door.

I told Peg I just don't have an extra month right now. We're moving from the Austin area to the Waco area in the 13th of June and I'm also finalizing my second Imogene Duckworthy novel, SMOKE, to publish right after our move. (And yes, I'm also going crazy.)

Peg suggested I submit my novel, CHOKE, instead of a proposal. This didn't seem right, but the worst that would happen would be another turn down from BookEnds. (Their turn downs are polite, so it's not so bad.)

I submitted the novel, went to Malice, met the editor with the Texas proposal idea, and came home. Soon after Malice, I got an email from Jessica Faust, the agent I had sent the file to. She liked it! But didn't need more clients, and besides the Texas idea had been taken by someone else. BUT, she would forward my file to her partner Kim Lionetti. Two days later (2 days!), on a Friday, Kim emailed with positive comments, asking if I was available for a phone call on Monday! I had to postpone my husband's cancer treatment and the baby's open heart surgery (just kidding!), but I was there for the phone call.
All of my hyper-ventilating over the weekend was for nothing! We talked and even laughed, even though Kim had a bad cold, we sent some emails back and forth and worked out details, and last Friday, Kim emailed a contract! I signed it and mailed it back Saturday morning. I think it's official. After I had virtually stopped looking for an agent, and had gone whole-hog into self-publishing, I got an agent. I'll keep on with the Duckworthy series, but Kim will agent my Neanderthal series and the new series I'll write for her.

Life is strange! 


  1. That is so awesome! I'm so happy for you Kaye and thanks for sharing your experience, especially what you went through to get an agent. Great job!

  2. Thanks, Mary Ann. I'm looking forward to finding out more about my next project!

  3. This is absolutely, positively fabulous, Kaye. I am so happy for you. I know you've worked very hard to get to this point. You are proof positive of that old saw--never give up. Huge congratulations!

  4. Thank you, Jan! Yep, this is a hard job. But you know that. :)