In Celebration of Agent Appreciation Day

I found out this morning that today is Agent Appreciation Day.  I feel truly blessed to be represented by Erin Murphy, who is kind, frank, thoughtful, accessible and funny.  Below, I’m pasting in the email that I sent out to writer friends after my unexpected pitch session with her:   

So I walked into the SCBWI conference this morning to check in. The woman found me on their list, drew a line through my name and said, “And here’s your agent pitch time.”

“I didn’t get a spot on the agent pitch lottery,” I said.

“Yes, you did,” she assured me.

“I didn’t get an email,” I said with panic and delight rising up like a double helix.

“Really? That’s strange.”

We came to the conclusion then that my spam filter might have eaten it. But I’m beginning to think that I could have deleted it without looking at it if I’d received an email that said “lottery winner” in the subject line.

I had decided to dress down for this conference, nice jeans and a sweater. And I was going to be facing Erin Murphy? How unprofessional. Even worse, I hadn’t prepared a pitch for her because I didn’t think I’d won the lottery. Urghh. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such an odd mix of horror and happiness before that moment.

I didn’t want to sound like a complete idiot when I talked to her, so I tried to reconstruct my query letter for the mermaid story. She gave the first talk of the day. I learned that she was looking for authors and not just projects. So I quickly pulled together some notes on STAND-IN FOR MURDER and THE DONYA’S REVENGE.

My time came. I introduced myself and apologized for my attire. She was very nice about it. I asked how she liked to go about these things, and she said that it was more like a conversation than an interview.

Well, best foot forward. I hauled out the GRIFFIN, showed him off. We talked a little bit about Peachtree and how much I liked working with Lisa. Then I noted that my other fantasies were probably too far out for Peachtree since they’re not a fantasy house.

“So you’re looking for another publisher then?” Erin asked.

I agreed. From there, I babbled on about the Italian experience, Magari, the Cinque Terre, and read the pitch for the mermaid plot. I also wound up reading what I had for STAND-IN FOR MURDER. I didn’t touch on THE DONYA’S REVENGE other than the fact that I’d written it and gotten the “Impressive writing. Confusing plot,” response.

And what happened? She offered to look at the mermaid story and told me to mention my other work in my letter. She meets a lot of people and probably needs reminders about what she said to whom.

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