Why hello there! Do you know Marieke Nijkamp? You know, that lovely Dutch writer, who’s beta’d pretty much every manuscript in existence, probably including yours? Or maybe you know her as one of the brains behind the brilliant DiversifYA? Or perhaps her name’s familiar because she helped with one of the contests you’ve entered? Or is it that you remember that she had not one but two sets of queries and pages posted in WriteOnCon this year that totally kicked ass?
Well, however you know her, she’s my CP (and occasional apartment-mate!) and I am incredibly grateful for her and thrilled to be hosting her on my blog today for a very special announcement, or, what I like to call, The Greatest Guest Post Ever. And with that, I bring you the one, the only, the fabulous, the stroopwaffel-sharing Marieke Nijkamp!
On my first Wednesday in New York, after I saw Newsies with a friend and had key lime cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, I made my way to my very first B&N event. “Writing a Novel With Blockbuster Potential” with Donald Maass and The Shark herself. Of course, I was fully convinced it was the B&N at 82nd and Broadway, and I only found out I had to be at 86th and Lexington twenty minutes before I was supposed to be there, but I was happily dazzled by being in New York, meeting some of my favoritest CPs in real life, and I had an impossible story brewing in the back of my mind: something about a school shooting, four points of view, and a ridiculous time frame.
By the time I made it to the *right* B&N it was raining, I’d run through Central Park, and the event was hilarious and amazing. Entirely due to Dahl’s scheming, we ended up chatting to three of the attending DMLA agents–Amy Boggs, Katie Shea, and Jen Udden–and it was so much fun hanging out. (Blogger’s Note: Scheming sounds so dirty. I just wanted to meet them! And maybe beg all of them to let us interview them on YAMisfits. Maybe.) When I got home, I dove into the story, Twitter-followed all the people I met on my trip, and occasionally geeked out over music with Jen.
Four months, equally impossible deadlines, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears later, that impossible story made its debut in The Writer’s Voice (GO TEAM CUPID) in the form of WE ARE OPPORTUNITY. It was such a scary story to write and to put out there. I couldn’t have coped without the readers who loved it as much as I did–and sometimes even more. (Thank you <3)
Later that week, I moderated PitMad–and pitched OPPORTUNITY a couple of times myself. When Jen wanted to know how she could request, I explained the rules to her, and she promptly requested OPPORTUNITY. At the same time, I officially dumped it in the trenches. All in all, I started to calm down a bit. OPPORTUNITY was off to a great start! It got an insane amount of requests and I followed up on the ones I felt would be a good fit for me and my career. And I started drafting my next manuscript.
Now let me backtrack for a bit and say querying OPPORTUNITY wasn’t my first time on the merry-go-round. I’d queried three manuscripts before that, and I was more than happy to settle in for the wait. I’ll let you in on a secret: I loved it. I loved having my stories out there and feeling like I was working on building something. Of course rejections suck, but I never took them as anything more than “not yet” or “not right for me” or “keep writing”. After all, agents are just as passionate about stories as we are, and we’re not on opposing sides. (We’re all in this together! *g*) But focusing on the next story, having amazingly supportive CPs, and–let’s face it–procrastinating on Twitter kept me sane.
Secretly though, I believed OPPORTUNITY would be the one where everything happened overnight.
It wasn’t. The summer was relatively quiet, though with amazing feedback on some of those full requests, and earlier this month, I used WriteOnCon to workshop my Magical MG pitch. Several amazing people convinced me to post my OPPORTUNITY pitch as well, and things went a bit crazy in the YA Query forum. On the second day of WriteOnCon, within a couple of hours, I had three new full requests. One on the boards, one off a query, one off a PitMad request. Jen’s PitMad request.
So I did what I did all those other times. I sent the manuscripts on their merry way, celebrated, interpreted every single word of the requests with my bestest CPs (you can’t have them, they’re mine <3), and eventually went back to my other mss. For some reason, though, I was far more restless this time than I had been over the past couple of months and waiting became infinitely harder.
It took a week for all three agents to get back to me.
The first, an agent whom I admire a great deal, gave me an extensive R&R. My very first R&R in three years of querying, and it was such a fantastic chance. It didn’t always match my vision for the story, but any author would be lucky to have her.
Then overnight this happened: https://twitter.com/suddenlyjen/status/370350361783328768
And I woke up to an email from Jen asking if we could set up a time to talk. And I walked around in a daze for a day.
We chatted later that night. She wooed me by quoting Jacques Brel when I picked up the phone, then wowed me with her ideas for revision and for my career as a whole. When she offered, it was a struggle not to say yes on the spot.
Only hours later, the third agent offered too. When we spoke, she was passionate, organized, amazing. Over the following week, some agents bowed out, others made their intention to offer clear, and I forgot how this mysterious thing called sleep worked. It’s a kind of wonderful weirdness that’s hard to describe, even when you’re a writer.
Now when I say I wouldn’t have managed to cope with OPPORTUNITY on my own, I definitely wouldn’t have made it through this week on my own. I spoke to clients, I lived in the dusty archives of PM, I read through every AbsoluteWrite thread, and I basically Gchatted with Dahl, Corinne, and Sarah 24/7 because decisions are hard. (Love you guys <3) In the end, everything I read supported what my gut had told me that first day. That I knew who the right agent was when I talked to her.
So last night, I officially accepted Jen’s offer, and I’m absolutely delighted to announce I’m now part of the DMLA family.
You guys. I HAVE AN AGENT!!!!!