Tuesday, April 12, 2011

MSFV Success Story #9 !!!

It's true! Miss Snark's First Victim's NINTH SUCCESS STORY is official!  Here it is, in the words of the happy couple:

Leigh T. Moore + Kate McKean

Leigh's Story:

I feel like my journey to Kate is unusual, but maybe it isn’t. It starts with a different book, PERFECT, that I finished last May and began sending queries for over the summer.

Several agents requested PERFECT, and by Thanksgiving, I was working on a revise- resubmit. Then that person left the business. She referred me to another agent, but I never heard back from that person.

In the meantime, a different agent requested a revise-resubmit, and by March I’d sent it back to her.

ROUGE enters the picture last September with me following that advice we all get while languishing in Query Purgatory: “Write while you wait.”

I’d started two other manuscripts over the summer—one related to PERFECT, and my YA light-sci-fi romance JACKSON (for my husband). But the wind changed, and an unseasonably cool day got me thinking about growing up in south Louisiana.

So I wrote ROUGE instead.

Actually, I struggled with settling down to write it. I’d never written a historical, and I wasted loads of time on Google “researching” (playing). I sent it through my awesome critique partners, and then I put it in the drawer to marinate.

Back to PERFECT, I starting thinking about the feedback I’d gotten—the comments that it would be hard to sell right now, the questions of whether I had a fantasy, and the always humorous (but nice!) “Send me your next novel.”

I dragged out my next novel (ROUGE) and decided to see how the opening struck you guys. I’d done the Secret Agent Contest before, and it really is a super way to get unbiased feedback.

I never expected to win.

And when the agent was unveiled, I was amazed. Kate is fantastic, and not one of my "middle agents".

I read through ROUGE again, polished a few rough edges, and sent it to her. And four days later I got an offer on PERFECT.

My head was spinning, the offer was from a super agency I would be pleased to work with. But as we talked, the agent and I did not have great chemistry. I asked for a week to get back with her and the hand-wringing began.

JRM (my husband) says, “Who cares! You’re not looking for a buddy, you’re looking for an agent!” I felt very much his implication was Stop being such a girl!

I knew he was right…in theory.

I sent Kate an email explaining what happened and saying I didn’t know where that left us. She quickly replied that I should send her PERFECT.

Five of the longest days of my life passed, and I received a two-line email from Kate: “Reading ROUGE and LOVING it. More soon!”

My throat closed up.

The next day she sent me the funniest email about ROUGE and how it ends. I emailed her back with my road map for the sequel. She asked if we could talk the next day, and I said in my calmest, most professional email voice. “Whee!” (I mean, “Sure!”)

From start to finish, our hour and a half conversation was exactly right. Her ideas for the future fit mine, our styles are identical, we have a similar background. We clicked like two little Lego pieces, and I felt I could trust her.

I told her I’d call her the next day with my answer, and immediately went for a run. I was so full of adrenaline, it was hard to breathe. I got back, and she’d emailed her agent-offer letter. It said everything I needed to hear.

I called JRM and said, “This is what I wanted.” He said, “Then what are you waiting for?” I hung up the phone and emailed her back.

And now Kate’s my agent!

And a huge THANK YOU to Authoress. I can’t say enough nice things about her or the contest. I’ll always remember this.

Kate's story:

I like participating in things like Secret Agent because sometimes queries look different outside their natural habitat. But I read these entries the same way I read the slush pile--waiting for that feeling in my gut that says: "Read me."

When I read Leigh's piece, that's exactly what happened. I was hooked, and I wanted more. It's as simple as that. Her work opened dramatically and piqued my interest. Her entry ended: "Secretly, of course, as this was not Rampart Street or Canal, and in 1890s New Orleans that meant one thing." What one thing!!?!??! What one thing!?!?!? Leigh was also working in a genre that I represent (YA Historical) and it didn't hurt that several editors had told me they would love a theater/dance YA novel. Hopefully that meant historical, too.

I let Authoress know that this, and one more, were my winners and she put me in touch with the authors. Leigh sent her manuscript in quickly, and I added it to my list. (I peeked a little first and read her query letter to find out what the ONE THING!?!?! was--though I really try to read things as they come in.) Except when the author emails me to tell me they have another offer of representation. Agents love a little healthy competition. So it moved to the top of the pile, and I started reading right away. Leigh said she wanted to tell the other agent her decision in a week--which is exactly the protocol I would suggest. 100% reasonable and profession, kudos to Leigh. I switched into speed-reader mode and got to work.

But I didn't really have to go into hyperdrive because the work was so GOOD! It was happening--that feeling I get when I forget I'm reading a submission and get lost in the work as an actual book. The pages (err, Kindle clicks) flew by and I had no problem meeting her deadline. The work had just what I was looking for: an interesting story, in a genre I represent, suitable for editors I already know. Win! But, the last big question loomed: was the author sane?

Sometimes, writers aren't sane. So we set up a call and lo and behold! Leigh is sane! We had a great call and really clicked. Our similar backgrounds helped (though we might have a little trouble being civil during college football season), and it was clear to me she was a professional writer looking for a professional career. I made my offer, was happy to wait for her to have some time to think about it, and was excited to hear back shortly thereafter that she'd made her decision and picked me. We agents get nervous about this step, too, yanno. And we all like to win what I call the Agent Beauty Contest.

In the end, there was no magic formula. Oh, except good work, hard work, professionalism, and opportunity. With that, you've got a good shot.

And we're off! We'll let you know when there's more good news to share!

59 comments:

Niki Schoenfeldt said...

Love happy endings!

Nina said...

Wow! What a great story!

L.J. Boldyrev said...

Great story! Congrats to both of you!

Anne N Kenny said...

Yay! I've read both of these stories and they are sooo good!

Now I can't wait until I can buy them in stores. ;)

LTM said...

ooo--thanks to everyone, and a BIG thanks to Authoress for facilitating all of this. Yay for happy endings!

Oh, and yay Anne! One of my super-critters. I can't wait either~ <3 U :o) xoxo

Danielle La Paglia said...

Congrats to all of you! I love hearing the story from both sides. Best of luck to you ladies!

Tina said...

As a Romance writer, I'm a sucker for HEA! Great story!

Jessie Harrell said...

awesome story - love hearing both sides of it! Congrats to Leigh on her well-deserved agent success story!

Peter said...

Congrats!!! Welcome to the small (but GROWING) club! Wonderful news!

RaShelle said...

This is a fab story. Congrats to both of you. =D

Christine Danek said...

This is so awesome. Congrats! I love hearing stories like this. Well deserved Leigh!

rhea said...

Congrats to you both and to Authoress. Thank you for sharing. I love hearing the story from both sides.

Hart Johnson said...

Ha! I can't believe Leigh convinced somebody she's sane! *cough* But smart, professional and fabulous, she is... And it's possible I just bring out that insanity thing... I think this is a great story! I hadn't heard of the contest and it seems like a great way to go. The fit seems absolutely perfect. Congratulations to both of you!

Merc said...

Super cool! :D Congrats to Leigh and Kate!

meg said...

How WONDERFUL! Best wishes!

Krista V. said...

Congratulations, Leigh and Kate (and Authoress)! That's awesome! I'll have to go back and check out Leigh's entry...

LTM said...

Thanks, guys! Thanks my friends, Jessie, RaShelle, Christine! And yay, Peter!

@Tami-Hart--don't blow my cover... :D No, yay! Another of my super-critters. <3 U xoxo

Pk Hrezo said...

YAY for LEIGH and KATE!! This is the best news I've heard all week. So so happy for you, Leigh!!

Girl Friday said...

Yay, congrats to Leigh!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yay, Leigh. I've been eagerly waiting this story since you announced it on your blog yesterday. Kate sounds like the perfect fit for you, and that's not always and easy thing to find. :)

Carolyn Abiad said...

Yay for Leigh! And can I just mention how much I love the serendipity? :)

Ellie said...

What a wonderful and inspiring story! Yay to both of you!

Ella Slayne said...

Such a fab, inspirational story! Congratulations! :-)

Sarah said...

This is awesome! And I love hearing it from both sides. Congrats guys.

anna said...

Great story and very motivational! Good luck!

Ailsa said...

Loved reading this! It's really interesting seeing both sides of things, and it's so good that perfect matches are made through the site! It's also encouraging for the rest of us :-)

Michael G-G said...

Thanks for my belly laugh of the day: "sometimes writers aren't sane..."

Congratulations to all involved, and best of luck as the journey proceeds.

Now off to cackle, insanely of course, over my ms.

Bekah Snow said...

Congrats!! Interesting to read both ends of the story

sbjames said...

Congrats to you both! High fives to you Authoress. What a matchmaker!

Now, (sigh) if I could only get my computer clock to match your entry times. I got DQed again yesterday for a "too early entry." Maybe next time.

CNHolmberg said...

How wonderful! I'm so glad it all worked out.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!!! Leigh T Moore is so super talented (am following her writing progress at her blog) and deserves this wonderful success with fabulous agent Kate McKean!!! Good luck and all the best! Take care
x

Summer Ross said...

Inspiring! I'm smiling from the turn out. :) Leigh- It sounds like the two of you match quite well.

Michael Di Gesu said...

LEIGH, I am SO happy for you and Kate! Congrats to you both.

Sending tons of bear hugs your way!

jperrykelly said...

Great story! Congratulations to Leigh, Kate, and Authoress Anon for creating such a promising relationship. Good luck to all!

Myne Whitman said...

This is fantastic, and so encouraging. I look forward to, and wish you guys more good news soon!

Matthew MacNish said...

Ha! LTM? Sane? I don't know about that. Genius, sure. Incredible writer? Yes. Hilarious and supportive friend? Absolutely.

But not sane. Not even close.

Marybk said...

This is so great. Congrats to Leigh and Kate. Cheers to a long and successful partnership!

DEMETRA BRODSKY said...

This is wonderful news. I can't wait to read Leigh's book after you sell it Kate! Congratulations to you both.

Michelle Merrill said...

I love this! What a great experience. Yay for Leigh. She's awesome and I can't wait to read her work when it hits the shelves :)

LTM said...

Yay!!! Thanks to all of those I don't know, and Big Thanks to all my bloggie buddies who've dropped in! You guys rule. <3 U all! Bear hugs to Michael; Matt! Zip it! ;p and PK, Michelle, Kitty, Summer, Ellie, Myne, Stina... Group Hug! :D

And big hug to Carolyn! My OTHER Super-Critter!!! <3 U! xoxo

P.S. Oh! Krista V.--#49. Just made it! Thanks, girl~ :o)

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm so happy for Leigh. And I'm glad she found a perfect match.

Aldrea Alien said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aldrea Alien said...

-Blasted computer-
*Ahem*

Congrats to you, Leigh. Reading stories like this are just wonderful. Each one just feels a little nugget of hope for those of us still on the path.

Hope it all continues to go your way. ^_^

Sheryl Gwyther said...

Fascinating reading, Leigh and Kate. Congratulations to the both of you. It's interesting hearing about the progress from both viewpoints. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Yay! Congrats all around!! And it's so cool to hear the agent side too - thanks for sharing! :)

Clarissa Draper said...

What a great story! Great things can happen when you enter contests!

LTM said...

Thanks, guys! I appreciate you all so much--esp. my bleeps Susan, Clarissa, and Theresa! <3 Yay!

I agree w/Aldrea--here's sending all the best wishes for everyone else out there working hard and expecting the best~ ((big hug)) :o)

erica and christy said...

Leigh! Super story. Thanks so much for sharing it. This was worth the wait (since you kept us in suspense via your blog!) christy :0) Congrats again!

Bron said...

Congratulations Leigh and Kate! It's fun to watch the process unfold - from reading and commenting on a post to finding out the author has secured representation. This was one of my favourites from the last round and I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing once it's published - keep us updated!

LTM said...

Thanks, Bron! Hopefully it won't be too long... :o)
Thanks, Christy, my bloggie friend! :o) ((hugs))

Ella said...

Thanks for sharing; it brings hope to new doors to open and happy endings! I agree fun to read some of the back story...Congrats!!! Love that you fit; like Lego pieces! So excited for you~ xXx

Carol Riggs said...

Yaaaay, so cool to read this! I came over from PK's site. :) BIG congrats to ya!!!! Excitement!!

Chris Phillips said...

Great story! Congrats!

Libby said...

That is amazing!

LTM said...

Thanks, guys! And thanks to my bloggie friends! Ella, triple-5s to you~ :o) <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations again, Leigh! And when it's right, you know it. Glad you and Kate will be working together.

Lynda R Young said...

huge congrats, Leigh :)

LTM said...

Thanks, Alex! Thanks, Lynda! Lurv my bloggie buddies~ :o) <3

Leslie Rose said...

Inspiration with a capital I.