Kristina McBride


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The Call (Yes, THE Call. With THE agent!)
One YA Author’s Journey to Publication

One of the most exciting days of my life was the day my agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, emailed me after reading my entire manuscript and asked to schedule a call to discuss her thoughts.

I could barely contain myself! Could this call actually end with an offer of representation?! (OMGOMGOMGOMG!)

I had spent two years writing three novels, countless hours researching agents to query, double that in time spent on perfecting the query letters, and finally, after everything, I was going to speak to an actual, real-life literary agent sitting in one of those crazy tall buildings in NYC!

After freaking out for a few hours, I decided that I needed a plan. What should I say? What would she ask, and how should I respond?

A friend of mine who had recently had a few of these Calls herself gave me one important piece of advice. “Let her lead. Relax. And enjoy yourself.” Then my friend sent me to a website I had already become very familiar with, suggesting that I study up on the following:

“When Agents Call”

“When Agents Offer Representation”

Here are a few tips that I can offer based on that first contact with Alyssa:

1. Know your genre. Be familiar with current authors and titles that are in the same
vein as your own manuscript.
2. Do not be afraid of revisions. Be open-minded when the agent is giving you his/her
opinions. (Alyssa’s used the terms “messy” and “needs an overhaul” in regards to
my ms during that first call. It didn't even sting.)
3. Prepare a few questions that you can ask the agent. Think of this as a double
interview. You want to be sure this is a good fit for you as well.

My first call with Alyssa was a dream-come-true kind of experience. She ended up offering me representation during our conversation, and I am so disgustingly lucky to have her on my side.

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This is such a sweet, upbeat, informative, and wonderfully written post. The enthusiasm just glows off the text. I've got a foot out the door to VCFA, but I'm making a note to feature the link when I get back.

I am honored! I've been writing the series "One YA Author's Journey to Publication" for a while now, just trying to figure out this whole blogging thing. If I can help one person figure out how to perfect a query, find the right agents to send to, or prepare for the most important phone call of their lives, I'll feel like I did something right. As a former teacher, I am motivated by the need to use what I have learned along the way to benefit others. Hopefully this is helping me pay it forward!

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