A Place in This Life · agents · THE CALL · Young adult writing

What Really Happens After “The Call” – One Year Later


Here it is, November 1. Exactly one year ago I received the “Call” from my agent with an offer of representation. This was the moment most writers dream of… garnering approval from the key player in the game of writer-gets-published – the literary agent. If you read back in my blog archive, you’ll taste the whole story (including the half-raw chicken I struggled to cook when the call came through).

Exciting as it was to achieve The Call, it is now in the past. Fast forward a year later, and the reality of publishing – and just how slow it can be – takes center stage. The thrill of sending out my first story, A Place In This Life, for consideration is also a memory, albeit a big one that still brings butterflies to my gut.  Having my second story, SWELL,  out on rotation was also a key moment because I loved that story. It sounds so romantic, being on submission. But reality says it can be a quiet stretch of time with little to no word.

My genre, young adult fiction, is mighty tough to crack. With everyone jumping on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight shroud, things have become a bit saturated. Waiting time between agent submissions and editor yays/nays have grown longer, with writers becoming more frustrated. It seems this second “Call” is a lot harder to achieve, and at some point the writer wishes to even hear “no” so as to get an answer already. I reach that point about once a month, glance at it for a bit, and move on.

Why not fret and worry that I will ever hear something about one of my stories? Because it does no good. And time and again, I’ve experienced great changes when I least expected them. I assume it will be the same with one or more of my stories. Occasionally I go there, where my mind wonders if anything I write will be published in book form. If not, is that an indicator of my worth? Are my stories no good? Are your’s? No. Again, it means nothing, because the biggest hurdles have already been jumped. Writing a book is a monumental achievement that many attempt, but never complete. Obtaining an agent is just a part of this lifetime achievement. And if you’re lucky, the icing on the cake will be a book offer.

It is essential to see the roots of your craft, and praise yourself for hearing the first call – the one telling you to write. In and of itself, this call just might be the only one you will ever need.

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7 thoughts on “What Really Happens After “The Call” – One Year Later

  1. Great post! So often, authors believe that getting “the call” from an agent guarantees immediate publication and instant adoration from all the editors. The reality is that even agents have trouble sometimes selling perfectly wonderful books. I went through two agent relationships and countless submissions and rejections before my wonderful agent landed me a three-book deal. While I certainly wished our path had been quicker and straighter, I suppose those bumps make you appreciate success when it comes.

    Good luck, and thanks for a great post!

    Tawna

    1. Thank you, Tawna! You’ve been through an amazing ordeal (is that the right word?). Sometimes you have to go beyond what you expect, to get where you want to go. I’m just happy to write at all!

      – Julie

  2. This is great! And congrats on your one-year anniversary. 🙂 The waiting can really do terrible things to your mind–so, as you said, it’s good to remember “the first call”, the one that got you started writing. I’ll keep this in mind too since impatience can sometimes get the best of me. LOL

  3. Julie, I am in the same boat you are. I got the call this month from Christine too! My stuff is out on submission and I’m waiting doing the same back and forth that you wrote about. Even now as I attempt to do NaNo, I’m wondering if I’m just kidding myself. Should I waste my day in front of the computer or get up and clean the house? Frustration is a huge part of the waiting that is hard to deal with. Here’s hoping for good news for you soon and for me.

  4. You’re so right.

    People get caught up in the publishing game, pining for an agent, an advance, a deal, the second deal, etc. that they don’t treasure how they wrote an entire novel, the whole shebang from draft to revisions to edits, something that many people can never do. Plus, there’s the sheer enjoyment of it.

    1. So true, Medeia. The reward – the true one – is in the experience. To create a world, develop people to the point of where they are real in your life, is a unique treat. Letting the story and the characters out in the world is even more touching (and an event that brings me and many writer friends to tears).

      – Julie

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