I've been dreaming about this day since I finished my first novel. Last Monday, I googled agents looking for literary fiction writers and one agent in particular caught my eye both because she specializes in literary fiction, has worked at Viking and Molly Friedrich's agency as an associate editor/agent, and also because she runs her own boutique agency in Brooklyn--every one of these details mattering a great deal to me for different reasons. So on a whim, I sent Maggie Riggs a query Monday night, just for the hell of it. Tuesday, she wrote back telling me she really enjoyed the five pages of The Ninjas of My Greater Self I'd included in my email (per submission guidelines) and asked for the full manuscript. Two days later, she sent me an email asking if I had any time on Friday to chat about my novel. My heart skipped a beat when I read that. I turned to LB and said:
I will not freak out about this. I will not read into this. I will not make a big deal about this. I will not make assumptions.
I vowed not to read too much into this email because I'd done that so many times before and gotten heartbroken later by agents and editors who'd asked me to call them simply to request another manuscript, or to give me a well-meaning rejection on the phone that was supposed to humanize the rejection somehow (it didn't, by the way, it just fucked me up). I vowed not to think too much about the email, and then slept like complete shit that night because of course, all I did was think about the email.
Friday morning, I woke up, anxious and slightly tense. I got dressed in something smart that made me feel stylish, urbane, cool, and legit. Aboard the train, I changed seats far away from a group of drunk "virgins" taking a cruise together from San Diego to a quieter seat. I skimmed my short story on Joyland on my iPhone that had come out that same morning (auspicious?) and then Maggie called. She told me how much she loved my novel. She told me she'd finished it in two days. She told how much she loved the voice, she told me she loved the energy (which she described as a bullet train), she told me how complex and fascinating and real my characters were. I almost broke down and cried. I'm serious. These are the words I've been waiting for from an agent for so long. I realized right there and then that I'd found the right agent for me (I just needed her to make an offer).
At the end of our hour-long conversation, she offered to represent me and told me I could have a couple weeks to think it over and contact the other agents reading NINJAS and see what their counteroffers were (which was the professional thing to say). But I already knew I wanted her to be my agent, and her Twitter feed I'd studied the night before told me she was committed to discovering talented writers of color and other minority writers, which is really important to me, so I told her point blank: Maggie, let's do this!
She sounded slightly astounded when I told her that, but sometimes you just know, man. Then she got really excited, which made me feel even better, and then I got really stoked too because the day had finally come and now, I'll be writing and publishing books with a very smart, articulate, savvy, and very talented agent. And it all happened in four days. Four motherfucking days. I thank the universe for this, but I thank Maggie most of all.