It began with a pitch at our annual NJSCBWI Conference in June 2011. Friday night was the Meet & Greet where we would-be authors got to hang out with agents and editors over cocktails. The regional adviser - Kathy Temean - introduced me to agent Ginger Harris of the Liza Royce Agency because she was looking for "new writers" to add to their "new agency". Having practiced my elevator pitch out loud several times before, I was ready.
I told Ginger about Wheels of Change (then called The Carriage Maker's Daughter). She was excited and asked me to send her 30 pages and a synopsis.
I did. As soon as I got home. Then I waited. You know the drill. Two months. Three. I sent a follow up e-mail and heard nothing. Then I asked the RA what the proper etiquette was for follow up on the requested submission. When she found out I'd sent it to Liza Royce Agency, she contacted Liza Fleissig - the other half of the agency - who immediately said, "We never got that submission or e-mail. Have her send it to me ASAP."
I did, and within a week, she requested a full manuscript. A few days later she offered representation. Her and Ginger's excitement and enthusiasm for the story was a great boost and it was a no- brainer to sign up with them.
After a round of polite rejections with constructive comments, I did some minor editing before we went to round two. This time, it landed at newly formed CRESTON BOOKS, led by author/illustrator Marissa Moss, who loved the story and wanted it. The lucky combination of Liza and Marissa has made the journey an amazingly satisfying one.
If there's a lesson to be learned from my path to publication it is this: If an agent or editor requests a manuscript and you don't hear back from them, don't assume they aren't interested. Maybe they just didn't get the e-mail. And, don't be afraid to go with a smaller publishing house. The TCL I get from CRESTON is amazing and the bottom line is: The best place for your book is with those who love it so much, they can't imagine NOT publishing it!