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How I Signed with a Literary Agent

I signed with Margaret Hart of the HSW Literary Agency last July (2011). We met at the Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop.

Sounds easy, but it was a long journey to get there.  I attended the Humber School For Writers correspondence course with Joan Barfoot as my mentor. At the completion of that program my novel wasn’t ready to submit to an agent.

Throughout the course I compiled many tips from Joan and used these to improve my writing.

After spending a week with Mary Gaitskill at the summer workshop in 2010, Mary introduced me to Margaret, and she kindly agreed to read Fracture Line. I spent another month updating the manuscript, this time based on comments from Mary Gaitskill, before sending it to Margaret.

Margaret’s first feedback was that she liked the novel, but I had to pick up the pace. I asked a few specific questions about what she meant and then got to work. Four months and a lot of rewriting later, I resubmitted Fracture Line. This time Margaret was happy and she offered me a contract.

There are many ways to sign with a literary agency, but getting connected through the Humber School for Writers sure helped me. If your interested, the summer workshop is starting July 7, 2012.

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About Kristina Stanley

www.KristinaStanley.net

7 responses »

  1. What a cool story about the journey your first novel took. It sounds like it was a lot of rewriting, but so worth it!
    I’m checking out the link. My novel needs a lot of work … :)

    Reply
    • Kirsten, The rewriting is totally worth it. Without feedback from professionals I don’t think I would have gotten an agent or written 3 novels. It’s a long journey, but worth it. I think, anyway.

      Reply
  2. Kristina, Thanks for sharing your story about signing with an agent. I think you make a really good point about the need to take feedback (the more specific, the better) and edit, edit, edit before submitting. My journey to getting signed took nearly two years, but I’m sure it’s in large part because I was naive and thought that even though I was in early drafts of my manuscript, that an agent would see the few gems in there and want to move forward anyway. But it doesn’t work like that. Best to wait and submit something that’s near perfect.

    Congrats on your success.

    Cheers,

    Natalie Appleton

    Reply
    • Natalie, Thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s important for writers that are starting out to hear what the process is and that it takes a lot of hard work. One of the best pieces of advice I received, which you said above, is don’t submit to too early.

      Reply
  3. Dear Kristina,
    I am very excited for you! Yee Haw! Keep the vision of your book as published!!! You will get there. Glad you have an agent to help you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    Reply

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