July Theme: Getting the big 'YES'! (Lucy Jones)
My first big ‘Yes’ moment came after meeting Madeline Buston of The Darley Anderson literary Agency at a SCBWI event. Before I had the courage to go over and speak to her, I went and brought myself a large glass of wine to settle my nerves. As it turns out I needn't have worried because she was really lovely and began asking me all about my book. I told her it was called ‘The Nightmare Factory’ and gave her an elevator pitch. She said how great she thought the title and concept was and I remember thinking there and then that I wanted her to be my agent. Then the moment came when she asked if she could see it. My heart stopped, and my mouth turned dry.
“It’s not finished yet,” I told her, hoping that I hadn’t completely blown my chance. To my relief, she didn’t seem to mind, and told me to go ahead and send her the first three chapters anyway. We chatted a little more (I can’t remember exactly what about, I was extremely nervous and was just concentrating on speaking without getting my words all muddled up!).When I left I literally skipped down the stairs and may have even punched the air when I reached the street. OK, so I hadn’t been accepted yet, but the book had garnered interest, and besides, I had a really good feeling about this.
As soon as I got home I sent the first three chapters off. The next few days I hoped, waited and prayed (and checked my emails constantly!) Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long. That Monday morning Maddie emailed to say how much she and Darley had enjoyed the chapters. What I read next had me running all over the house screaming with delight. She told me that she wanted to represent me and that she looked forward to seeing the rest of the book. What? I hadn’t expected such a positive response. Maybe a request for a full when it was finished but representation… on an unfinished manuscript!? It was almost unheard of.
I was blown away. Someone believed in me, other than my family, that actually mattered! Suddenly, all the self-doubt that had built up from previous rejection letters seemed to melt away. I kept wondering if it was real or just a dream. I had a constant grin on my face for weeks afterwards and couldn’t stop randomly squealing with excitement when out in public, which must have looked pretty weird to strangers. I spent the next few months working tirelessly to finish the book, but I had the enthusiasm and drive to push forward due to that one simple ‘yes’. Finally, I had broken through the first gate to publication… and the road ahead had never looked brighter.