Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fate and Fortune

How one right turn, leads to landing an agent.

On this journey to get published it seems the road has been nothing short of long and winding, yet just one little turn can send you down an unexpected path. I've always believed in fate. I've always believed things happen for a reason. The last couple of years I'm having a hard time figuring out what that reason might be, but I'm hoping one day it will all make perfect sense. So when a simple chain events leads me smack-dab in the hands of "my" new agent, I have to think there just might be something to this fate business after all.

Here's how the story goes.

It's the middle of the month and I'm in the middle of a rut. I'm going to work each day, trying to figure out when I'll have time to work on new stories, feeling a little low, needing a little inspiration. I haven't been out for awhile, when some people at work plan a Happy Hour get-together. Perfect I think. It's been weeks, maybe months since I went out. I'm ready to go! So I accept. Then wouldn't you know it, the very next day I get an email invite from my local illustrators group for a meeting. On the same day! At the same time! We hadn't had a meeting for months, maybe six or seven months, and now we're getting together on the same day I already made a commitment for. I'm thinking what bad luck I have, wishing they were on different days.

So I go the the Happy Hour. It's close to work, which is close to home. We get done earlier than I expect. Now, I'm the type of person who doesn't like to miss out things. My Mom says I'm always trying to fit 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag. (Actually I don't think she uses the word potatoes.) I'm on my way home believing that's where I'm heading when I approach the freeway on-ramp sign, next thing I know I'm making a quick call to a friend to find out how far into the meeting they are. Twenty minutes later I'm walking into the meeting. Late, but walking in, ready to hear what every one's been up to. I knew Molly would be there sharing her portfolio and her recent experiences in New York City, I just didn't know I'd be there too. Molly Idle won the SCBWI portfolio award grand prize back in August. As part of her grand prize she won a trip to New York to meet with a few Art Directors from major houses and tonight she had stories to tell! Lynne Avril was there too, which always makes the meetings a hoot and a half! She had some original art to show. Part of her Amelia Bedelia books. I'm always amazed at the amount of work she can do in a short amount of time.

As the meeting is wrapping up I'm having a discussion with Molly, who is also querying agents. She mentions an agent that I had queried awhile back but never heard from. I decide the next day that I should query that agent again, maybe she never got the initial query? Within hours I have a reply. She looked at my website, calls my work beautiful, but passes. Again, I hear my work is too realistic. I send her a thank you. (I normally don't do this. I figure their inboxes fill up enough with important stuff.) And what do you know, she sends a quick email back with a recommendation for an agent more suited to my style. I query this second agent and two days later I have a verbal offer! We email back and forth a few times with questions (I had a lot of them - she even said there were a lot - but she took the time to answer every one of them.) And two weeks after this meeting I had never planned to go to, I almost didn't go to, I have a signed contract with my agent!

Being a believer of fate, I also read horoscopes and fortune cookies, I have this one pinned to my wall as a reminder. The harder you work the luckier you get. This is true. This business is hard work. Working hard can put you in the right place at the right time. But I also know some people work really hard and never get lucky. And I also know that as I drove down 56th street that night, and made a split decision to get on the freeway, made that one right turn, fate was involved.