I LOVE Sara! She's brand new to agenting but she's had loads of experience pulling great manuscripts out of the slush pile, like Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (if you haven't read it, you should--it's beautiful). She is enthusiastic about Underground, and I'm very excited to be one of her first clients.
Back in April I sent NLA a query. They were at the very top of my list, mostly because I loved Kristin Nelson's blog (she was so nice!). At first I thought I would wait to submit to them until I'd sent a few more practice queries, but when I got a full request off the first query I sent out, I felt confident enough to send to Nelson too.
They asked for a partial a few days later and then a full a couple weeks after that. I was shocked that I'd made it that far with such a stellar agency, so it came as no surprise when I got the rejection letter a week later. What I was surprised by was the letter's detail. Sara highlighted the things that she loved (the voice) and gave me specific examples of things in the story that needed to be stronger. She also told me that if I decided to rewrite they would look at it again.
So, of course, I started to rewrite. I stopped querying, I stopped working on my new story, and I rewrote Underground for two months. I made major changes, cutting entire chapters and adding new ones and completely rewriting the beginning and end. By this point I had my writing group and each of them read over sections of the manuscript and offered invaluable critiques. By the end of the revision I felt much more confident about the manuscript.
I sent out another practice query and got a request the next day. (I got plenty of rejections too, I promise. I just got lucky with the first query I sent out in each batch.) Feeling encouraged I emailed Sara to ask if she would like to read the revised manuscript. She said yes!
A month later I was sitting at the computer looking over my agent list and trying to decide who I should send a query to next, when the phone rang.
So there you have it. Sara told me I go her attention the second time when she opened up the document and found a brand new first chapter. She said often when a writer sends revisions they don't change much. She could tell I'd put some work into it and she liked what I had done.
I am thrilled to be working with Sara. I feel so blessed to have gotten this far and I'm excited about the possibilities the future holds. I finished revisions last Friday (or at least the first round) and I can't wait to start working on a new story!