Short version: I submitted to an agent who was at Spring Spirit!
Long version: In summer 2012, I queried an agent named
Deborah Warren from East/West Literary Agency. She had attended that year’s Spring Spirit conference, and she was on the coveted “submission list.” The manuscript I queried about was titled THIS DAY IN JUNE, and it was a rhyming story about an LGBT Pride celebration. Several months went by, and I hadn’t heard back, so I continued to submit to other agents and publishers. In 2013 the manuscript for THIS DAY IN JUNE was picked up by Magination Press.
Shortly after I signed my contract with Magination Press, I received an e-mail from Deborah. “Please send a full manuscript of THIS DAY IN JUNE to me,” it said. I responded, letting her know that it had already been acquired (how often does that happen?), but that I’d love to submit more work to her in the future if she was open to it. She was open, but at the time she wasn’t interested in anything I submitted to her.
Fast-forward to February 2015. I’d just learned that THIS DAY IN JUNE won the 2015 ALA Stonewall Award. (Yippee!!!) Later that week, I received a congratulatory e-mail from Deborah. I seized that opportunity and asked her if she’d be interested in representing me. Within the next month or so, I’d signed with a real, live AGENT!
As we speak, Deborah is negotiating a publishing contract for a YA nonfiction book, she is shopping two of my picture book manuscripts, and she is helping me refine a third manuscript before it goes out on submission. I couldn’t ask for a better agent!
Winner of the ALA’s 2015 Stonewall Award, this wildly whimsical, validating, and exhuberant reflection of the LGBT community welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we’re all united.
Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Sacramento City College. She earned her undergraduate degree in clinical psychology at Tufts University, and completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology (emphasis on psychology of women) at the California School of Professional Psychology. She has conducted research on the physical and mental health of lesbian women, and has written numerous articles and book chapters on gender and sexual orientation. She lives in Northern California. For more information about Gayle, visit GaylePitman.com.
If you have an agent and would like to share how all that wonderfulness happened, please send your story (300-600 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org.