Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Our First ON THE BLOCK 2016 Success Story!!

This may just be our FASTEST SUCCESS STORY EVER!  Within days of the auction, Rena Rossner let me know that she had offered representation to the author of the first full she'd read from her auction winnings.  Shortly after that, the author accepted.  I'm happy to share her story, in her own words: 

So I have this little book, a lighthearted romantic mystery about a struggling actress and above-average dog walker who has inherited a police dog with a nose for crime. She's kind of ridiculous, and she has a major luck problem—which is how I could describe myself. No surprise then that I felt daunted at the prospect of looking for a literary agent.

Before I began my search, I belonged to a Facebook group of authors who were in the midst of querying, and the tales of spreadsheets, rejections, R&Rs, or the dreaded silence made the prospect seem bleak at best, muse-killing at worst. But the fact is, there are a lot of manuscripts out there and a finite number of agents. And each of those agents represents perhaps a few genres, and then, within those genres, he or she has preferences, wish lists, and an existing stable of authors with work that shouldn't be cannibalized by something similar. I'm sure many agents dread their inboxes full of queries that miss the mark. As writers, it's our responsibility to get to know as much about each agent we query as possible to increase our chances of a good fit.

Luckily, the Internet and social media now offer some fun and efficient ways for agents and writers to match up. At Miss Snark’s First Victim, the hardworking Authoress provides a super-supportive critique forum and runs a number of very successful competitions where writers and agents can meet. The one I took part in was On the Block 2016, which was an agent auction. I entered it on a whim, not having entered anything like it before, and then as the selection date approached, I readied myself to hear nothing. But then I got an email! I was number thirteen. Lucky number thirteen.

During the week that my excerpt was posted, I was bowled over by the generous and encouraging comments and helpful feedback that I received from Authoress’s writing community. I started to get my hopes up. My husband noticed that I had started to vibrate (kidding!).

When my auction time arrived, I was touched to learn that my sister and my friend Lynne were watching with me. Rena Rossner from The Deborah Harris Agency and Danielle Burby from Hannigan Salky Getzler—both amazing agents who I’d be lucky to have represent me—bid with so much enthusiasm that it was all over in four minutes! I was in shock. I think I shrieked. Rena Rossner had won a one-week exclusive with my full manuscript.

And then I waited. It was an exciting time. I lost a few pounds because my body was whirring as if I had a hamster wheel inside me. My husband started to speculate about whether I might explode if I was offered representation. The final day of the exclusive, I woke up to an email from Rena saying she’d finished my book in two sittings. She was offering me representation! Then my husband had to inform me that I was slapping his arm and he was now awake and I could stop.

Later that day, Rena and I talked on the phone for about an hour. I was impressed with her experience and industry knowledge. And she was so friendly and easy to speak to that I was immediately put at ease, which I feel is important when you’re working with someone on a creative endeavor. We were already batting around ideas for my character’s arc across my planned series. I could tell we were a good fit. And I was very encouraged by her thoughts on the different ways my book might fit in the marketplace. Rena also represents sectors and genres I have an interest in writing in at a later date (middle grade and speculative fiction), so in that respect, she was also a great fit for me.  I’m still pinching myself! I couldn’t be happier to be represented by Rena Rossner and The Deborah Harris Agency. And I haven’t exploded—yet!

Thank you, Authoress, for all you do to help aspiring writers to improve, find community, and match with agents. Your hard work is very much appreciated.

—Maggie Findlay


  1. CONGRATS! I loved the excerpt. Please let us know when it's out.

  2. Congrats. Glad you found representation.

  3. Congratulations! I love success stories.

  4. That's awesome! Congratulations!