The short version:
As of today I am officially represented by Erin Niumata at Folio Literary Management!
The longer version:
I’ve been waiting to write this blog post for three years. Three years, people! That’s how long I’ve been in the query trenches. Not with this book, but with my three books combined. I started querying in February 2011 with a fantasy romance manuscript, back when I thought 120,000 words was a perfectly acceptable length for a debut novel, and I’ve learned a lot since then.
I’m not going to recount the full story of my querying experiences, but I’ll recap the past six months that led to my signing with Erin.
Back in September (2013), I started Field Rules, a contemporary romance based on my own experiences as an archaeologist. I wrote the first draft in six weeks, which is unusually speedy for me. I think the story came easily because I love writing about archaeology, especially since it brings back a lot of great memories of my days in the field.
After I finished the first draft and my CP reviewed the entire manuscript, I sent it off to beta readers, then made revisions. My goal was to have Field Rules ready in time for Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest in December. I’ve done a fair amount of online contests over the past three years, and Pitch Wars is hands-down my favorite because you get to work with a mentor. I already participated in Pitch Wars in 2013, with my YA fairy tale retelling, Piper Girl, and it was a great experience.
After I sent out my Pitch Wars queries, I was thrilled when three mentors requested more pages. Things were looking good! Then, when the mentors picks were announced, I found out I wasn’t chosen—not even as an alternate.
The next day, in a wonderful twist of fate, I learned that Karma Brown—one of the super-secret Ninja Elf mentors—had picked me as her mentee! I was thrilled, especially since she told me she’d give my manuscript a thorough critique. Working with her was an incredible experience. She went above and beyond the call of a mentor, even dealing with my stressed-out questions on New Year’s Eve! By the time we were done revising, I felt much more confident about my manuscript.
During Pitch Wars, Field Rules got 3 requests, which was fantastic! After I sent off my requests, I made a list of further agents to query. Before I could dive into the query trenches, Heidi Norrod hosted #Adpit—a Twitter pitch party for Adult and New Adult authors—on February 5. My pitch (“Indiana Jones meets Bridget Jones”) got a bunch of requests, including one from Erin Niumata at Folio Literary. I was particularly excited about her request, because her agency bio said she’s not accepting unsolicited queries. I had also seen an earlier tweet of hers, stating that she was going to start accepting romance and women’s fiction submissions as of Feb. 14, so I thought, “Yes! I beat the rush!”
On Valentine’s Day, Erin upgraded her partial request to a full, which made the day ten times better (especially since I had nothing romantic or fun planned). A week later, Erin sent me another email, asking to chat the next day. Of course, I completely freaked out, barely slept, and was a wreck in the morning.
During the phone call, Erin offered representation right away!! I wanted to accept, but I had to notify the other agents who had my work and give them time to respond.
A week later, I emailed Erin back and formally accepted her offer. Today I signed the contract with Folio, and I’m super excited for the next phase of my writing journey.