Friday, January 6, 2012

Mindy McGinnis: How I Got My Agent

The query process is full of pitfalls and frustrations. But here's the good news: it actually works. Here's the bad news: it's up to you to make it work.

It took me a full decade to realize the truth of the second part of that statement. I had three novels and hundreds of rejection letters under my belt (uh yeah, I said hundreds) before I figured out that talent isn't the only thing you need to succeed in this business. You also need research, tenacity, and a support group.

Tenacity - I'm Irish, so... check.
Support Group - Hmm... nope didn't have one of those.
Research - What? You mean I have to do something other than write the book?

I joined the amazing writing community over at AgentQuery Connect, wrote a new book, improved that book with the help of the tried and true crit partners I found there, wrote a query, improved the query with the help of the same, and... then I sent the query.

The result? After a decade of agent hunting and amassing 130 rejections on one manuscript alone, I had 8 full requests in a week. Yeah. It's what I tell my students - do your homework.

Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary was one of my first choices as well as a first responder. I chose Adriann because she was a newer agent, hungry for manuscripts and open to new writers. Adriann requested a partial to begin with, the full shortly thereafter, and then asked to schedule a phone call. My palms sweated. I thought I might vomit. Luckily I didn't, as it would've impeded my ability to speak, but my hands were slick little puppies and my cell kept slipping out of my grasp.

Kinda like my hold on reality.

After a conversation about my inspiration for NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a quick talk about other ideas I had and sharing on her part about Wolf Literary and what they brought to the table, Adriann offered to represent me. And I seriously considered peeing myself.

I wanted to say YES! right then (hey, a decade's worth of effort had just paid off!), but there were other fulls still out and it's proper procedure to let the agents holding them know that I had an offer. I asked Adriann to give me a week to get back to her, informed the other agents and waited for that week to pass. I had one other offer, but Adriann and I had a shared vision for the project, and our personalities had really clicked. At the end of the week, I called her to voice that 7-day-old "YES!"

Quickly followed by: "Uh... now what?"


  1. Yay there is hope for me yet! lol

  2. Valia - Always hope. Hope + Tenacity = well, it equals something. :)

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. I am SO excited to read your book :)

  4. Welcome to the Luckies, Mindy - great post!

  5. Kelsey - thanks so much! I'm terribly excited!

    Emma - thanks for having me:)

  6. This is awesome. You always hear stories about people who stumbled upon success the first time out, and it's inspiring and refreshing to hear about someone who really worked her butt off over time and learned the craft.

    And it makes the sale of NOT A DROP TO DRINK all the sweeter, eh? Congrats and thanks for sharing this!

  7. I never get tired of hearing these stories. :)

  8. Thanks Sarah and Lydia! Yes, this was truly a journey.

  9. Congratulations, Mindy! This was a very inspiring story.

  10. Thanks cd - I hope it can help other see that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep a good grip on your pickaxe.