How I Got My Agent

It’s been a dream of mine to write one of these blog posts! I can’t believe I’m actually really getting to do this.

princess and the frog happy twirl

I entered the trenches in July 2014 with a YA fantasy that was so brilliant I was sure I’d have an agent in a week. Now, I look at that manuscript and my eyes burn. However, before I did that, I ended up on QueryShark! It took a looooooong time until I figured out how to write the best query I could, and now I consider myself pretty good at them, but it definitely was not easy.

Anyways, the fantasy garnered a tiny amount of requests until I eventually shelved the ms.  In January 2015 I began querying a YA contemporary and immediately saw an improvement, but that still wasn’t the right manuscript.

In the summer I started work on a new story. I fell in love with this story and my characters. It started to feel like The One.

I wrote the first draft in a mad dash of three weeks, and at 4:29am on July 8, 2015, I had 65,751 words and a completed first draft.

I set it aside for a bit so I could approach revisions objectively, but then got to work because Pitch Wars was coming up! Pitch Wars was like this dreamy amazing contest of wonders to me, and I really wanted to be a part of it. I relished the chance to work with a mentor, learn more about writing and revising, and perhaps gain a whole new community of writers.

I stalked researched all the mentors thoroughly. I read their wish lists; if they had been mentors in 2014 I read their mentee’s entries; I followed and interacted with them on Twitter. I made lists and then made more lists. Picking 5 people to submit to was hard, but I eventually did and sent my entry off! Even if I didn’t get picked, I was hopeful I’d at least get some feedback on the opening pages I could use.

Well, I got more than that. The amazing Kes Trester and Jennifer Hawkins requested my manuscript, and then they did this:

Pitch Wars List

The revision period of Pitch Wars consisted of 3 rounds of edits, a lot of Friday Night Lights fangirling, and Austin Powers gifs. Kes and Jen were fantastic mentors. They didn’t look over my shoulder, but I knew I could reach out to them whenever I needed them. I had an 8 page edit letter that never felt overwhelming. And I just worked, cutting and adding to the manuscript, delving deeper into my main character and her anxiety, learning new parts of her.

The other important thing I gained from Pitch Wars was the mentee group!! I don’t know how I would have made it through the Agent Round and all its horror/anxiety/excitement if I didn’t have that safe corner of the internet. I still love that corner of the internet.

All I have to say about Pitch Wars is you should definitely take a chance and submit your manuscript, because you never know. It could change your life. 🙂

parks and rec happy

In between PW revising and revising on my own/with CPs, I also found some beta readers, who offered invaluable feedback on my manuscript. So definitely get beta readers!!

The Pitch Wars Agent Round happened and I almost had a breakdown, but then I got a bunch of requests and I was happy and excited and like “I’m gonna have an agent by Christmas!! BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.”

ha ha. No. It took longer than I thought, but then finally, one day in March I got The Email of My Life.

sue excitement

It just so happened I was leaving for Toronto the following day. I nudged the other agents, packed my bags, and fluctuated between BEST DAY EVER and OMG ANXIETY STRESS BALL (so just like that scene in TANGLED).

It was a crazy hectic time full of all the emotions. I went on my trip, hung out with my friend and CP Alwyn Hamilton (#PenguinTeenOnTour), and refreshed my inbox constantly.

I got another life changing email in the airport on my way home Monday evening, and the joy of it carried me through the 2 extra hours I spent on Toronto’s runway (scary winds back home delayed take off D:).

On Wednesday morning, I was on the subway heading to class when I got an email from DREAM AGENT. It was short and said she wanted to talk.

I immediately called my mom, as one does.

parks dying dead

We went back and forth before we could arrange a time. Dream Agent had to push some stuff around to make my deadline, but when she got back to me she gave me plenty of availability to choose from on Friday. I chose 5pm figuring I might need some extra time between another appointment. But on Friday I ended up being free around 3 (much earlier than expected) so I sent Dream Agent an email telling her we could have our call at 4 if she was still free then.

The waiting was hard. I didn’t know how I’d pass an hour if I didn’t have anything to do.

I promptly got an email back with “I can call you now!” (cue: more flails)

So she called me. We talked for nearly an hour and it was lovely and I knew she was perfect for me. She was interested in my voice and my writing and just me. We had some laughs, talked books, and the future, and a part of me kept saying this is good, this is so good, this is everything. Now I know why it’s THE Call. This was the call.

I signed with Heather Flaherty (aka Dream Agent) at The Bent Agency, and I’m so excited to continue my writing journey with an amazing agent at my side.

this is what dreams are made up lizzie mcguire hilary duff.gif

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Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

now's when my life begins

I’m not freaking out, are you freaking out? I’m actually writing a Pitch Wars Mentee Bio. Guys, I’ve wanted to write one of these for a very long time. Okay, onto the fun stuff!

Hi, I’m Michella (Me-kel-la).

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I’m totally normal! 🙂 Feel free to call me Mic (like Mick Jagger or Mickey Mouse). I’m part Italian, Filipino, and Indian. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I love New York, but I also really love London so I don’t know, maybe after college there could be a move across the pond.

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The Cloisters in NYC and Parliament/Big Ben from The Eye. Where do I belong????

Anyways!

I’ve written a YA Contemporary called Lady Hamlet in which my lovable and dramatic MC decides to stage a gender swapped version of Hamlet but doesn’t realize that’s easier said than staged. At the core it’s a story about female friendship but also has some anxiety, kissing, family woes, and play rehearsals. Link to the Pinterest board if you’d like! It’s pretty.

writing2 A self portrait. The likeness isn’t exact.

THINGS I LIKE:

YOU
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Going to museums and impersonating the art
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Biking:
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Juicy buns, aka omggggggheaven’sfoodwhatisthismadness:
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I do also love pizza. My dad is a pizza man and used to own his own pizzerias. Fun facts!

Tennis: (Wimbledon cap at US Open aka A+ work)
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Filming:
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I also like making lists. As you can tell.

You probably want to know what books I like, sweet like-minded book people that you are. I shall tell you! I mostly read YA, but have been known to read stuff outside my chosen genre. Here’s a snapshot of books I curl up in the fetal position with:

jandy9780147508430_p0_v3_s260x420blue-lily-lily-blueFangirlWIP TheNightCircus tree grows brooklyn rebel of the sands princess bride anna kiss peter-pan stardust Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_(US_cover) heist societynimona

*Pets screen* So pretttyyyyyyy.

princess and the frog happy twirl

TV Wise! [I tried so hard to be selective] [also: FOOD NETWORK]

the musketeers orphan-black-season-2-poster8parks-and-recreation-tv-movie-poster-2009-1020482255onceuponatime_sdcc_poster_full Gilmore-Girls-gilmore-girls-2960621-1280-1024 teen wolf

Movie wise! [did not really try to be selective]

legally blonde Jurassic_park inception 10 things i hate Tangled_poster anastasia The_Empire_Strikes_Back_(1997_re-release_poster) Lord-of-the-Rings-Swords mulan sound of music Singing_in_the_rain_poster The-Parent-Trap-1998 breakfast club the little mermaid Road_to_el_dorado_ver3 back_to_the_future_poster_01 bend it iike beckham

Music wi–no, sorry. We could be here all day. Let me just say: Florence + the Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Rolling Stones, The Killers, Bastille, and soooo many more.

Fun Facts:

  • I broke my wrist/three fingers falling off my scooter when I was in sixth grade. I don’t know why I thought that was fun.
  • I used to write for the Vampire Academy fan page Shadow Kissed! Now that was fun.
  • I still love Build-a-Bear. I have a penguin named Tux and an owl named Fieryo.
  • My kitty is cute and fat. He goes by Timmy.
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  • I’ve never dyed my hair but I’d love to have blue hair like Karou.
  • And when I went to DC 4 years ago, me and my mom and fave tita and cousin made a video of ourselves dancing all over the city to cheer my nonno in the Philippines up, who was recovering from a stroke at the time. THIS IS THAT VIDEO.

What a great way to end!! Thanks for reading 🙂

You can find the other #PimpMyBios here.