An Agent Like the Death Star — But Not Evil (More Like Mind-Blowingly Fabulous)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, an aspiring writer sent her first query letter. It was November 1st, 2010, the day she had circled on her calendar because it was: The Day to Start Querying The Book. She had revised the query countless times and read and reread it for typos. It was the culmination of months of work, and she knew any mistake would squander the opportunity. She finally added a subject and the recipient’s e-mail address — and pressed the fateful SEND button.

Only to realize a few moments later, she had spelled something wrong.

The title of her book in the subject of the e-mail.

The freakin’ title of her book in the freakin’ subject of the e-mail.

She wasn’t the type to swear — especially not loudly — but there are always exceptions to every rule.

The rejection came just a few hours later.


When horrible things happen, the mind is often merciful and blocks them out. It’s a wonderful thing really. That is why I can categorically deny that I have any connection to that silly, silly, young aspiring writer. None at all.

Exactly one year after that silly writer sent that infamous query, I started in on a NaNoWriMo idea I had gotten a few days earlier. I was calling it Sciencetastic SuperGirls, and I had begun getting a tad excited about SuperThis and SuperThat. In fact, the day before (Halloween) had looked something like this…

SuperMama + SuperEthan

I only got the first half of the story written during NaNo because I got two R&Rs on an earlier book I was querying, and I dove into that work instead. When I finished up the R&Rs at the beginning of January, I reopened that NaNo file and read what I had written. And I really liked it. Really really liked it. My New Year’s resolution was to make sure I didn’t query this project too soon.

Fast-forward to April. The Nano idea had been finished, revised, beta-ed, revised more, and polished to a shine. And I finally gave myself permission to enter a contest (for feedback, I told myself — just for feedback!) I entered Miss Snark’s First Victim’s Secret Agent Contest. And I got great feedback, both from the other participants as well as the secret agent, who happened to be super insightful about each person’s entry.

And then I ended up as one of the winners — and the prize was a full manuscript request.


I started querying the next day.

Good times, right? Easy street!

Not quite.

One month later I was in another contest, The Writer’s Voice, with the awesome Cupid as a coach. It was another fabulous opportunity for feedback, particularly from my amazing #TeamCupidsLC teammates. Which was great because my entry didn’t generate a single request for pages. Not a one.

I was down in the dumps the morning after that contest, but I told myself that this book was so much better than my last one and that the query was fully vetted. (And my fabulous critique partner, Tara Dairman, made sure I didn’t forget it!) I just needed to keep sending queries. So I did.

Then, at the end of that day, I got an e-mail that I was completely terrified to open. It wasn’t a response to a recent query. It was a response to the full I had sent a month ago to the Secret Agent.


This is a really long post. Should I break it into two and save the rest for tomorrow?

What would a good blogger do?

Oh, I’m such a sucker… here’s the rest…

But first, you better put on one of these awesome shirts, courtesy of the Best Twitter Cheerleader Ever, Leigh Ann Kopans.


In the e-mail were three words: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. There were other words, too, but who reads those e-mails in a coherent way? And most importantly, there were no sightings of that dreaded word: unfortunately.

A few days later, I got off the phone amazed to find myself with an offer from an agent. And not just any agent — one who I already felt I could trust implicitly, one who loved my book and who loved my ideas for future books, and one who just happened to be part of the agency I had been salivating over since the beginning — since even before that silly young writer sent that first stupid query out into the world.

The next week had a flurry of new requests and a competing offer from a much beloved agent  — but it was like the initial offering agent was the Death Star, sucking me in with her tractor beam of awesome.

Like this…

Except, as I said, she’s awesome, not evil — so it’s better to imagine the Death Star as a Vat of Chocolate. Like this…

The Awesome Version of the Death Star* **

*It should be noted that I once worked in a chocolate factory, and I can testify that chocolate vats such as these look (and smell) just as good in person.

** It should also be noted that I never NEVER dipped a mug into said chocolate vat to determine whether it tastes just as good. Only silly, silly young aspiring writers would do something like that.

Anyway, that silly, silly, young writer and I are proud to announce that we are now represented by the…





(phasers set to confetti)

Tricia Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency!!!!!!!

Which is basically the equivalent of getting to leap like a banshee into that vat of chocolate.

Something NEITHER of us have ever done.



Filed under Blog

30 responses to “An Agent Like the Death Star — But Not Evil (More Like Mind-Blowingly Fabulous)

  1. kiperoo

    Loooooooove all the details, and especially the chocolate, on this awesome success story!! A million congratulations! Can’t wait to buy this book! 🙂

  2. Congrats hon! This is fantastic. Make sure you’re doing the ‘I have an agent dance’ 😀

  3. WOOHOO!!!!!! It’s official! Best post ever–and I love all the visual aids. =) Go, SuperAnn, go!

  4. So excited for you and the Supergirls! I think the book is fantastic and I can’t wait to read it. And congrats on Tricia- she seems like an awesome agent. Ahhh, so happy for you. Love your success story.

  5. Pingback: Hooray for Ann! | tara dairman

  6. Andy

    Congratulations, Ann! I’m sorry that we can’t see you in person to hear how excited you are, but Tara is doing her best to rival your excitement!

  7. YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! Congrats!! I’m SO happy for you!!! <3333

  8. JoyMC

    So, superexcited for you Ann!!! Huge congratulations!!!

  9. AH!! I had a feeling it would be her! THAT’S SO FREAKIN EXCITING!! CONGRATS!! 😀

  10. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I AM OVER THE MOON EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    SERIOUSLY FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (i mean, as much as I can, having already done it once.)

    She’s an INCREDIBLE agent. I could not possibly be more happy for you, hon.
    ❤ Congratulations to you BOTH! ❤

  11. Woo hoo!Livin’ the dream! Congratulations and best of luck! 🙂

  12. Congratulations!! I’m really thrilled it turned out like this for you : D

  13. Congratulations. What a great story!!

  14. Dee

    I’m soooo excited for you! Watching it all happen was fun. 🙂 Congratulations!

  15. Congratulations! What fabulous news! Best of luck with submissions.

  16. Amy

    Yea yea yea yea yea! Thanks for sharing the whole story. I’m so excited for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. SO happy for you!!! Loved hearing the backstory of your journey, and those t-shirts are awesome 🙂

  18. Heather

    Mmmmm chocolate. Now I can add to my collection of authors I went to school with, currently holding steady at one (by the one and only Phil Rossi, so don’t worry, you are in good company lol!) Will any of these SuperGirls hail from planet Zybok perhaps? Many many congrats!

  19. Not very nice to make us read all the way to the bottom! 😉

    Congratulations. Super excited for you!!!

  20. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I’m so happy for you!!! And your agency sisters with Tara. How fun is that???

  21. Oooh. Typo in my comment. your = you’re. I can’t even comment without editing.

  22. Wow, I’m not sure what to salivate over first–the news, the chocolate or your writing!!! LOVE IT ALL.

  23. Yay! I cannot wait to read the whole book! I’m so excited for you, congrats!

  24. Thank you SO much, everyone!!! I can’t tell you how much your support means to me!!

    And Heather, no one’s from the planet Zybok, per say, but I did get halfway through this story about crazy seventh grade girls with crazy imaginations going on crazy adventures on their bikes and think, “hmmmm….I wonder where this is coming from?”

  25. That’s such great news, Ann! So happy for you. Can’t wait for the Sciencetastic Supergirls!

  26. Fantastic news! (Sorry I’m late to the party….) Huge congrats to you! I loved reading all the details of your journey. And I want one of those t-shirts! lol

  27. Anonymous

    Yay Ann! Congratulations! We are so excited for you

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