A Very Memorable Week
by Jessica Conoley
Remember last time we talked? I told you about Grandpa passing away in the morning on January 30th and that afternoon I started a new job—well, I kind of left something pretty important out of the story.  In between those two pretty significant life events I got an email.  In reality I probably got a lot of emails that morning, but this one was from an agent that liked The Color Eater so I read it.   Then I read it again.  And then I read it one more time.
See it’s not that this agent liked my book; this agent loved my book. Beyond that she was worried I’d already signed with another agency, and was extremely excited to hear I’d turned the other agent down.  She wanted to have a phone call with me, and, even though I knew some of the most stressful few weeks of my life were ahead—I knew I wanted to take that call.  We e-mailed back and forth, and by noon we had a phone date scheduled. It didn’t seem right to say anything about Grandpa; instead I used the job as an excuse and bought my self a couple days to get my head on straight.  I ended that morning's email chain with, “It's definitely shaping up to be a memorable week.”
Lucy Cleland is the agent’s name, and I waited until the very end of that first phone call to explain about Grandpa and starting the new job and I would need to take a little more time than normal before committing to anything.  Finding the right agent is a big deal, and I wanted to make sure any decisions or commitments I made were made with intent and fully thought out.  I knew my main concerns: Do I think this person will be a good business partner? And, is this person in it for the long haul? But, there were still a thousand other variables to take into consideration. Lucy was extremely understanding, and we scheduled another phone call for the next week. 
Our first call we talked about The Color Eater, and I told Lucy about future projects I had in mind.  See I didn’t want an agent to represent me for this one book, I wanted an agent who would represent me for my next forty books.  I didn’t want her to care if I was writing fantasy or reality, or for grown-ups or kids—I wanted someone who loved what I wrote regardless of genre and would help me figure out how to sell whatever project needed to come out of me at that point in my life. 
Lucy was interested in by my other project ideas and wanted to read my non-fiction. By the next call she clearly had done her homework, speaking of “I Am Descended From Giants” and “Alone Together” with thoughtfulness and admiration. Lucy was on board with my non-fiction writing too.  Knowing I was taking my time, and trying to make rational decisions Lucy offered up other authors she represented so I could talk to them about their experiences in working with her. When I followed up the authors spoke with the same admiration for Lucy that I was developing.
On February 22nd, 2017 we made it official, and I signed with Kneerim & Williams literary agency out of Boston. It's a highly respected agency in the industry with a lot of experience and connections. With Lucy I feel like I found the right advocate for my work. She understands my goal is to put out the best book I possibly can and has an objective, editorial eye that will help me write better books than I can on my own.
Now you have it—the entire story of that crazy morning of January 30th.   My guess is you’re probably wondering what happens next?  Because, that’s exactly what I’m thinking too. 
I can let you know with 1,000% certainty that I will be doing (another) re-write on The Color Eater. Lucy is going through it with a fine-toothed comb and in the next few weeks I’ll jump back into Lena’s world.  The cool news is I think I’ve got a new character headed your way.  After the re-write’s done, and the book’s as polished and fantastic as Lucy and I can make it, she starts shopping the book to publishers.  Once a publisher wants it, contracts are negotiated, and The Color Eater goes through another round of edits (or three) with the publishing-house’s editor, then it goes to print.  I know it feels like a million years until you’ll see the book on the shelf, but stick with me.  We’ll get there together, and when it happens it’s going to be another very memorable week.
Thanks for reading! I measure my success in readers positively effected, so please feel free to share this email with anyone who you may enjoy my work.

Jessica Conoley
Copyright © 2017 Jessica Conoley-Coach, Speaker, TCA Founder, & Writer, All rights reserved.

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