Getting The Call From an Editor and an Agent



This has been the craziest, best spring of my life. As I prepared to indie publish The Six Train to Wisconsin, I got “The Call” from Harlequin.

Except I was editing and didn’t hear the phone ring. LOL. So it went to voicemail. But she immediately sent an email to contact her. When I got in touch with her, it was awesome. She really likedย Reckonings, my first YA novel.

She had revisions she wanted, but she wanted to make an offer on it!

I almost fell over. This was my first novel. The one I wrote in 2006. The one I cut my writing teeth on. The one I workshopped and submitted to critiques for years.ย The one I’d revised from 120k to 67k because I loved it so much. The one I feared I’d never sell.

And I’d almost given up on it. I’d submitted to 192 agents and 15 publishers over the years. The last publisher had a lovely editor who gave me a page of feedback, saying I could revise and resubmit to her. I taped her email over my desk. It was the kindest rejection I’d ever received. It buoyed my spirits.

She recommended I submit to this Harlequin editor.

I did. Eight weeks later I got the editor call!

But I knew nothing about negotiating book contracts. I talked to my mentors Jenna Bennett and Paige Shelton who advised trying to get an agent to help. So I went through my spreadsheet of agents and contacted the ones that gave me great feedback on the full manuscript to see if they might be interested in working with me.

ICM Partners expressed interest. ICM Partners!!! Agent Lyndsay Hemphill devoured my revised book in a day and we set up a call. She offered to represent me. She was super enthusiastic about the book and she patiently answered all my questions about everything.ย I immediately wanted to work with her. I signed with her last week.

So I’m delighted to announce Lyndsay Hemphill of ICM Partners will be representing my YA novel and negotiating the offer from Harlequin.

I still can’t quite believe this is all happening. And I am so thrilled to work with such a top notch agency and such a publishing giant!



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77 Responses to Getting The Call From an Editor and an Agent

  1. Yay congrats!! So happy and excited for you woo hoo!!

    • Thanks Victoria. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been a long road. But I can see how every rejection propelled me to be a better writer and a stronger person. Hindsight can sometimes be a good thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Marc Schuster says:

    Great news! Congratulations! (We knew you could do it!)

  3. kathils says:

    Wow! And many congratulations! What an exciting spring you’re having. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. kford2007 says:

    Oh, Kourtney, this is wonderful news!!!!! I’m thrilled for you. Congratulations.

    • Thanks Jenny! I still can’t quite believe it’s all happening to me. Sometimes I whisper, “I have an agent,” and grin to myself. It’s just unreal. And thank you for all your support. I wouldn’t have kept going without it.

  5. Gwen says:

    It’s a fantastic story. Congrats, again! You’ve definitely earned it.

    • Thanks Gwen. And to think in November all hope felt lost. I really doubted anything would happen with my writing. But my blog buddies and my crit partner believed in me and helped me through that rough patch. You guys truly are the best!

  6. Lyra Selene says:

    Congratulations! That is so amazing! Good luck!

    • Thanks Lyra! It was the coolest calls I’ve ever gotten. Hearing that two industry people really love your story and believe in it was awesome. Realizing that you were right to be stubborn and keep at it even when things felt impossible. All I can say is never ever give up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Pete Denton says:

    WooHoo! This is fantastic news. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’ve certainly been persistent with this book and the hard work is paying off. I’m really happy for you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Pete! I dug my heels in and refused to give up on it. Though I did take breaks to work on other things. I really loved this concept and wanted to share it with readers. Still have revisions ahead but I’m thrilled to make the story better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. 4amWriter says:

    That’s so incredible, Kourtney! You must be over the moon. Goes to show you what not giving up can get you! Congratulations.

    • Thanks Kathryn! I’m so so happy. Exactly. And I almost gave up a few times. It’s because I had such a great support network (bloggers like you especially) that I stuck it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Cat Forsley says:

    Congratulations ๐Ÿ™‚ again and again ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  10. That is insanely fantastic!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! You must keep us updated on every step of this journey ๐Ÿ™‚ Otherwise I suspect I shall perish of extreme curiosity. Oh man. This is so cool!!! Congrats!!!

  11. Congratulations, Kourtney! You’d better believe I’ve shared your wonderful news ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Gerard says:

    WOW! WOW! WOW! That is great news. I wish you all the best. Seems like 2013 holds great promise.

  13. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, Kourtney, I’m so happy for you! Just goes to show how true it is to never give up no matter how many rejections one gets. Your hard work and dedication have always shined, so I’m not surprised in the slightest to see this happen for you. But I am delighted!!

  14. Woo hoo! Congrats, Kourtney! Aren’t those the most surreal moments? I still look back on my phone call days (2 in a row, which was inSANE) as though they were half-drunken dreams. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So glad that your talent and hard work are being recognized. GOOOO YOU!

    • Thanks August! I can’t believe it’s finally coming together. ๐Ÿ™‚ During each call I kept thinking, “Pay attention, take notes.” Otherwise I might have squealed and fallen out of my chair. ๐Ÿ˜‰ *Blushing* Thanks. I still can’t believe this is all real. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. J.C.V. says:

    Congrats! I am so happy to hear that you are getting published. I am so happy for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Jennifer! Can’t believe it all started back in 2006 with the germ of an idea. I’ve read it takes 10 years to get published. That seems to be about right. I’ve had friends get an agent fast and spend years looking for the right editor. I’ve seen others query forever and then bam it all comes together. ๐Ÿ™‚ So many different ways to the same goal.

      • J.C.V. says:

        What is the best advice to give someone getting ready to pitch to an agent?

        • LOL. I’ve done lots of these. Biggest lesson? Keep it simple. It’s really hard to take in everything you hear.Make sure the main plot thread and conflict are laid out clearly. Don’t name more than two characters. Refer to other characters by their role like the teacher or the police officer, but don’t throw lots of character names at the agents. And practice so it rolls off your tongue so you can make eye contact and aren’t reading it. And be ready to answer the question: what’s the stakes?

          • J.C.V. says:

            Sounds like a riddle. I would have been stumped on that question. LOL
            Did you take samples of your blog? Did you give out your blog address along with your manuscript?

            Did you get to ask the agent questions?

          • It stumped me the first time. ๐Ÿ™‚ No, don’t bring anything to hand to them unless the organizers specifically tell you to do so. Otherwise, that’s a big no-no. If they like your book, they will either give you their business card or tell you their email and what they want you to send to them–so have a notepad and pen handy. It’s good to have your own business cards to network with other writers but I’ve never given one to an agent at a pitch session. After the pitch, the agent generally asks you questions and you might have time to slip in a question or two if you have them.

  16. Wow, Kourtney! Congratulations! Your persistence has paid off in a big way. I’m so happy for you!

  17. jmmcdowell says:

    Totally awesome! And when I tell people about “The Six Train to Wisconsin,” I’m also telling them about this novel finding a home. Everyone thinks “Six Train” sounds like a cool book, and I know “Reckonings” will be every bit as good! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw thanks JM! It’s pretty wild that they are both finding their places at the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s awesome to hear. Reckonings is a fun time travel adventure. ๐Ÿ™‚ And after revisions it should be quite good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Dancing. Dancing! Now’s the time for dancing! Persistence, patience and talent wins! (would chat more, but DANCING!)

  19. EllaDee says:

    192 agents and 15 publishers… since 2006… I think this qualifies you as an “overnight success” ๐Ÿ˜‰ So happy for you. Congratulations.

  20. Congratulations! Great Work!

    • Thanks Carol! I’ve often read the perseverance pays off. I think if the talent is there and you keep developing your craft and working at it and trying, eventually something’s gotta give somewhere. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. What fantastic news! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    • Thanks Patricia! It was quite an experience. The worst part was missing the call and wondering, was that “The Call”? Why else would a publisher call? This can’t just be feedback, right? The agony of uncertainty. Completely worth it, but a total nail biter.

  22. I am so, so, insanely happy for you!!! It’s a GREAT BOOK and you are a GREAT WRITER and this is FANTASTIC news!!!!!

  23. jenniferfusco says:

    Happy, happy, happy, happy, so happy for you!!! Can you tell?

    • Jennifer, I’m not sure, but I sorta get the feeling you might be happy for me? ;P Thanks so much! I don’t know how I’d have gotten here without your promotional genius and your lovely ears letting me vent and talk through things. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Late to the party as always, but my congratulations are truly heartfelt. And I am definitely inspired by the number of submissions you made before getting a bite. I, too, will keep going!

    • Aw latecomers are just as welcome as early birds. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you Audrey. We’ve been slogging along together for a while now. It seems like it will never happen but it will. As long as we keep at it, there is always a possibility. Seriously, I kept thinking am I the only one who can’t do this in 50 rejections or less? But I read that Laurel K Hamilton’s topped out over 200 before the Anita Blake series found a home. Not that I think I’m as amazing as her, just that it’s nice to know other writers had triple digit rejections and went on to success. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. That’s amazing news all at once. Congratulations Kourtney!

  26. Kourtney, Kourtney, Kourtney!!!!!! I am so happy for you!!!! And so proud of you too. You are an inspiration. This is so exciting, and such a lesson to us all. Never, never, never, never give up! Best wishes for great success in all your writing endeavors.

    • Thanks Naomi! There were days I thought it would never happen. Your inspiring blog posts and gorgeous photos re-energized me and made me want to keep trying. ๐Ÿ™‚ That lotto saying is so true “You can’t win if you don’t play.” So I kept on playing even when it felt like it wouldn’t happen. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw thanks so very much!

  27. klynwurth says:

    EEEEEEEEEEEEE! I’m so happy for you, Kourtney. Looks like you might do more than one guest post on my site…one for each book! Congratulations. Your hard work is paying off.

  28. Pingback: How Do You Know When You’ve Made It? | The 4 A.M. Writer

  29. Congrats, Kourtney!! That’s amazing news! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Oh my gosh! Congratulations, Kourtney! This is amazing.

  31. Congratulations! Terribly exciting stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope it all goes swimmingly.

  32. Pingback: Never Give Up: More than 200 Rejections Before the Book Deal | The 4 A.M. Writer

  33. Pingback: The Six Train to Wisconsin | The Dreamweaver's Cottage

  34. Very exciting! Congratulations!

  35. Pingback: Getting the Call: 3 writers share their stories…and some advice for you | Book Editing Expert

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