I'm happy to report that I have a new agent: Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management. She's a major mover and shaker in the industry: her clients include Markus Zusak, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Nathan Bransford, to name a few. She has a stellar reputation, and I know my book is being represented by one of the best.
The path to her was fast and furious. I sent out query letters to agents I thought would be a good fit; within three days, I received nine requests for the manuscript. On the fourth day, an agent I really admire and respect offered representation - it meant the world to me. Per industry etiquette, I asked for a week to consider her offer and to give the other agents (including Catherine) who had my manuscript time to respond.
Over the next six days, six more agents offered representation. I spent a good deal of time on the phone, and quickly realized that each brought something different to the table. They were all kind, insightful, and - not to sound hokey - wonderful people. In many ways, this was going to be a difficult decision.
But Catherine made the decision easier. I knew of her terrific sales record from Publishers Marketplace, her reputation in the industry, and her impressive client list. I even spoke to two of her clients, Becca Fitzpatrick and Nathan Bransford: they were wonderful and helpful (I thanked Nathan for his blog - it'd given me invaluable tips in writing my query letter) and both were effusive in their praise for Catherine.
Although I wrestled with the decision and really hated to write the "rejection" emails, once I made the decision, I felt absolutely thrilled to have Catherine as my literary agent. I couldn't be happier.
I had a chance to meet her today at the Inkwell Management office. It's an impressive office, the shelves bulging with books represented by Inkwell: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Andre Agassi's Open, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, Hush, Hush, The Book Thief. The Inkwell folks were engaging, interesting, and (this word kept popping into my head) formidable. I feel so honored to have my book represented by that agency, and by Catherine in particular.
Catherine is a great agent who somehow already knows me well. When I was leaving, she placed a gift in my hand she somehow knew would make me happy: an ARC of Nathan Bransford's Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Kapow! Fitting, I thought as I left, not only because Nathan indirectly (with the query letter tips) and directly (with the phone conversation) made this happen, but because that was the word that was beating in me afterwards as I walked the Manhattan streets: