I’ve entered the Secret Agent contest twice. The first time I won! It was back in August 2009 with my novel Light Bingers. The agent ultimately passed but by then, I was well into another manuscript. Fast forward to January 2011 and I entered the SA contest with my novel Platinum Diaries. This one, I didn’t win. And actually, I wasn’t all that disappointed. I knew it would be rare for lightning to strike twice, so I was really looking for some good feedback. And that’s exactly what I got.
The comments basically said the same thing: Love the voice, but nothing’s much happening. After that I became slightly obsessed with the openings of books, reading everything I could get my hands on, randomly opening books in the library to read the first page. I rewrote the beginning, cutting out the first six pages, starting the story where the action started.
One of the agents I submitted to with my new opening was The Sheldon Fogelman Agency. It was a long time in the making—the full story is on my blog, but one day in April I got an email from Janine Hauber saying that she manages foreign rights at The Sheldon Fogelman Agency.
Janine was taking on clients of her own and wanted to know if my novel was still available. Of course it was! We had a pre-phone call. Then an editorial meeting was held with the entire staff, and then she called again and offered!
I just wanted to say thank you to Authoress and for all the participants on this wonderful site. I lurk/learn here more than I participate, but without the SA contest and those comments, I might never have changed my opening. I believe that is what got my foot in the door with all the agents who requested from me, and ultimately an agent!
Thank you all so much!