The wait is over…

Because I heard back from my agent, Stephen Fraser.

Before I go into his response to my manuscript, I should say that although I referred to him as “my” agent in the last post, we hadn’t yet signed a contract.  Prior to today, we had a gentlemen’s agreement.  He anticipated representing me, and I anticipated his representation, but since I didn’t yet have a completed work to represent, there hadn’t been a contract.

But today he offered to sign me to his agency.  I cannot tell you how excited I am by this news.  I’m excited because in the cutthroat world of publishing, having an agent gives a writer a significant advantage.  Not only does it help tremendously in finding a home for your book, but an agent works to get a writer the best possible deal.  And an agent can help to guide a career.  It’s a long-term professional relationship.

Some have asked me how I landed an agent, so I’ll give a brief explanation of how it went down.

A couple of years ago I attended the BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop.  It’s a week-long conference with presentations, break-out sessions, and intensive workshops.  It was a great experience, and I highly recommend it.  There are editors and agents there, but attendees are given a strict injunction against any pitching or passing of manuscripts.  But that rule, I found out, does not hold for instructors.

I was incredibly lucky in having Martine Leavitt teach my workshop.  I learned so much from her.  If you haven’t read any of her work, you must.  Keturah and Lord Death is an absolutely gorgeous book.  Anyway, without my knowing it, she passed the portion of the manuscript I’d submitted to the workshop along to Stephen Fraser, the agent at the conference.  I can’t say thank you to her enough for that.

So Stephen and I sat down and talked.  He asked to see the complete manuscript, which I finished and sent his way.  That book, my first book, wasn’t ready (and still isn’t).  But Stephen was very supportive and patient, and asked me to send him whatever I wrote next.  Which I did.

So my second book is on its way.  It needs some revision before we send it to any publishing houses, but I was fully expecting that.  I need to pick up the pace in some places, and streamline the narrative.  I’ll keep you posted on its progress.  That’s one of the things this blog is for, after all.  But in the meantime, I have an agent.  It feels really good to say that.

And to follow up my last post with another song, I present “Absolute Beginners” by The Jam.  The mood of the song fits how I’m feeling, and so does the line, “You need the strength to go and get what you want.”

[audio:the_jam_absolute_beginners.mp3|titles=Absolute Beginners|artists=The Jam]

13 responses to “The wait is over…”

  1. Congrats!! Having an agent really does make all the difference–especially in this economy. And Stephen is an awesome agent to have. I can’t wait until you sell your book! We’ll have to do a few Utah author events together.

  2. Holy shit! That’s great news Matt. Sounds like a series of fortunate (and deserved) events that got you here. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

  3. matt

    I’m so glad to hear this news. I’m so happy for you. I can’t wait to see your work in bookstores… and of course to buy a copy. congrats to you!


  4. Oh My Gosh! I am SO excited for you, Matt. Can I just tell you how privileged I feel to be one of your cheerleaders? Congratulations!

  5. Is there a way to write congratulations in green here? Here’s a toast to you and to Giuseppe, Hannah, and Frederick. May they take you places in reality as exciting as they have taken me in fantasy.

  6. Congratulations Matt! I’ll forward your email to Bret, he’ll be really excited to hear the news. That’s just awesome and i’m really happy for you.

  7. That is great news Matt! I am so happy for you. I antiicpated that this would happen based upon our previous conversations. I have a lot of confidence in you, my former padawan. Now if we can get DaNae to write something…

  8. That’s fantastic news!!!!! Although I don’t know Stephen personally, he has a great rep and great taste (obviously!). Good luck and I look forward to reading your work. Woohoo!

  9. That’s great!. i so happy for you Matt. Unfortunately, your method of finding an agent isn’t something I will be able to reproduce too easily. I don’t have a writing workshop instructor tucked around the corner to give a sample of my manuscript to an agent. Any tips of finding one by an alternate method?
    Any way, I am excited for you and wish you and your manuscript lots of luck.

  10. Matt,
    I’m very excited for you. This is a huge step for a beginning author, and here you’ve done it. I’m anxious to see your books come out! I hope you’ll sign my copy when it’s publsihed.

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