Many people want to self-publish or have already self-published successfully. While I have a lot of respect for self-publishers, I am not in that camp. I’ve always known that traditional publishing is the route for me because I want close support while navigating the industry. I want to have a team of experts who can help me share my stories with the world.
When I began my writing journey, I had no clue how long it would take to go from writing my first ever picture book draft to getting my story published. I still don’t know. However, I recently accomplished a major step in getting closer to my goal: I’ve secured an AH-MAZING agent! The following timeline details a sequence of selected events that led up to Agent Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties, Inc. offering representation.
02/16/18: Marvel’s Black Panther Movie Released and Sparked My Writing.
04/07/18: Completed My First Picture Book (PB) Draft.
04/25/18: Participated in My First Twitter Pitch Party (#DVPit). Received 1 Like from an Agent or Editor.
06/15/18: Attended My First Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Mid-Year Workshop, Orlando, FL. Received First (of Many) Professional Critiques.
08/02/18: Joined Rate Your Story.
01/02/19: Joined Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge.
04/23/19: Participated in #DVPit. Received 4 Likes from Agents or Editors.
05/05/19: Queried 11 Agents on QueryTracker. Received 11 Rejections. Stopped Querying, Reassessed, and Continued Editing Stories.
07/31/19: Selected by Hannah Holt as a Runner-up Mentee in Justin Colon’s #PBChat Mentorship Program.
04/25/20: Participated in #DVPit.
10/26/20: Participated in #DVPit with Pitches for Five Stories.
10/29/20: Participated in #PBPitch Twitter Pitch Party with Pitches for Five Stories. My Agent, Sara Crowe, Liked One of My Pitches.
10/30/20: Queried Sara.
11/04/20: Sara Replied. Sent Sara Other Polished Stories, Showing My Range.
11/12/20: Had THE Call. Received an Offer of Representation!
12/15/20: Signed the Agency’s Agreement.
As you can see, Twitter Pitch Parties such as #PBPitch and #DVPit frequently appeared in the timeline and had a central role in helping me connect with my agent. Of note, I’ve participated in these and another pitch party at other times; however, I found no records I could use to help me add those events to the timeline.
Pitch Parties always motivated me to edit and improve my pitches and stories. Over the 2 years and 10 months, I edited the story my agent liked, which is my first picture book manuscript, about 60 times.
My two go-to templates for writing pitches are:
When [catalyst of your story happens], [main character] [takes this action], however [these things happen to prevent character reaching their goal]. In the end [this happens/main character discovers this]. (Source:Author Jo Hart)
[Age] y/o [Name] is [critical backstory]. When [inciting incident] does [major plot change], [pronoun] must [major decision] or else [stakes]. [comps] [hashtags] (Source: @BrittnetMMorris).
On the eve of #PBPitch, I used Hootsuite to schedule when my pitches were to be posted on Twitter, according to the #PBPitch instructions.
During #PBPitch, I received a few likes from Agents and Editors, inviting me to submit the full story to them. After #PBPitch, I researched my agent and subsequently emailed Sara a query letter and the full story. We had THE Call and a month later, I became a member of the Pippin Properties, Inc. family!
Although our agent-client relationship is new and shiny, my gut and heart tells me I made the right decision. I have faith that she is my forever-agent. Not only is Sara a powerhouse in the industry, she is everything I could ask for in an agent. It truly is a special feeling when you meet a stranger who is genuinely excited to help you share your stories with the world.
Thank you, #PBPitch, for getting me one BIG step closer to having my publishing dreams come true.