Meet Kelly Peterson (she's the one on the left, in case you couldn't tell, that is me on the right)!
Kelly is my sweet, amazing, and sometimes cold hearted agent, and I love her for all of these qualities. This is the story of how she became my agent, but before I can tell about the crazy stunt/prank I pulled on her, we have to go back to August of last year.
A little less than a year ago, I knew absolutely nobody in the industry, I had no idea how to go about anything. I wasn't familiar enough with twitter pitches and hashtags and all that, so I posted the below tweet (yes, I know I have a typo, just leave me alone ok!?) *Wipes away tears.
Marisa Corvisiero, was the first (and only) agent to reply to my tweet with "Whatcha got there, cutie?"
We went back and forth and she was really nice and sweet. I found out shortly after that there was workshop in NJ in September and she was going to be there, but by the time I tried to register it was already closed. So I Dm'd her, and she replied.
She tried to find a way for me to register, but couldn't. She gave me her cell number and told me to let her know when I was there. So I got myself on a plane and flew from NC to NJ. When I landed, I had a message from her telling me to meet her and her friends at restaurant whatever-the-name-was-that-I-don't-remember (I was too excited). I grabbed my backpack (yes, I had a backpack and I'll tell you why in a minute), called an uber and went straight to the restaurant. I'm sure I looked absolutely ridiculous walking into the fancy restaurant carrying a BACKPACK! Anyhow, she introduced me to her friends, her client, and Jr. agent Kelly. Kelly and I were on the same side of the table, and there were two people between us so we couldn't really talk to each other that much, but right away I remember thinking how cool she was. We had dessert and walked back to the hotel, sat at a table, ordered a cheese platter, and talked for over an hour, me, Marisa, and Kelly. Marisa and I talked A LOT. Kelly mostly listened.
Marisa told me to pitch my ms. I froze. I had never pitched it in person before! We talked about it and she asked what else I was working on. I told her about my Afro-Brazilian WIP, and her face lit up. Even Kelly next to me started talking and asking about it (I could tell that the first ms was long forgotten in their minds). Marisa told me to let her know when the ms was ready and I left around 10pm. I called an Uber, went back to the airport, and found me a comfy spot to nap until my flight at 6am. Thanks to my backpack, I had access to my airport overnight emergency kit (reach out to me on twitter and I'll let you know what was in there! LOL).
Fast forward to March of this year, I was able to sign up for their workshop in Charlotte. Yay! I wasn't planning on pitching the Afro-Brazilian ms then, but I so happened to have finished my revisions the night before! So when I got there, I was like, you know what?! Why the hell not?! I pitched it to Kelly (horribly) and she asked me to send her the first 50 pages. I may have spent some time hanging with these ladies instead of watching part of the workshop (shhhh... don't tell Marisa! :)
There we are, me and Kels in the foreground, I guess you could call this picture foreshadowing... LOL. Ok, I'm sorry.
Two weeks later, Kels asked for my full. In April I entered (and won! *insert mind blown emoji here) #RevPit, so I reached out to Kels and all of the other agents with fulls (I had close to 30 fulls out), and let them know that I would be revising my ms with the amazing Jeni Chappelle (who has now become a best friend), and if Kelly would like me to re-sub when it was ready. She said YES PLEASE! So I did. Kelly and I had just kinda become friends too. So I DM'd her.
Since we Dm'd often, as she was reading my ms she asked a few questions about the mythology, culture and such. Then she said, she finished and had a few more questions and asked when I'd have some free time to chat. So she told me she'd DM me on Sunday around 5. I was glued to my phone all day waiting. At 5 on the dot she messaged me and asked if I was online. I said yes, and my phone rang. It was just sitting on my lap and all I could do was stare at it. I saw the call was from PA and I freaked out. I knew Kels was from PA. So I answered with a very hesitant: hello?
Kelly was like, "hey! This is Kelly," and my stomach turned sour. She was just like, "how are you?" and such, and I was sitting there like: WTH is going on.
She started saying pretty things about my writing and ms, and the entire time I was like, well, it's really nice that she called to reject it instead of sending a form email. She's such a nice person. But I legit thought she was calling to tell me she didn't want it. Then, she goes: "well, if you haven't guessed it yet, the reason I'm calling..." (she paused. SHE FREAKING PAUSED!). I already had tears in my eyes and was blinking to keep it from creeping into my voice when I thanked her for reading it etc,etc. Then she goes, "the reason I'm calling is to offer you representation." Like, I could hear the smile in her voice! She did it on purpose! She had pranked me into believing she wasn't going to offer! So I started screaming, and the tears began to fall, and hubs thought I was losing my mind. Then Kelly started dying laughing. I wanted to strangle her though the phone, but I was just so happy. She said she knew I hadn't prepared any questions, since she'd "surprised" (pranked) me, so she just told me several things that I'm sure were important, but I couldn't focus on it. Later, we had another scheduled call and I was able to calm down, focus, and ask the questions I needed answered.
Then, another offer came in, and another. It was such a hard decision because the agents were all super fantastic and they'd all said things I wanted, NEEDED to hear to build the confidence to make the right decision. Jeni laughed at me (although she swears she was laughing WITH me) when I told her one of the factors I used to make my decision. I had come across a quote a few days before I had to make up my mind that said something like:
"If you have to choose a path, choose the path that will give you best story."
There was also something about a fortune cookie, but anyhow, it was an extremely difficult decision. And I chose Kelly.
So I texted Marisa about a plan. I said, "do you remember how I met you? I want to do it again!"
Marisa was instantly on board with my plan and we plotted it together. I flew to NJ and arrived at the restaurant before they did. The rest is here!
Jeni said something to me once, and it has stuck! She said:
Fortune favors the bold!
I'm not going to say that this works for everyone, and that it's easy. It's easier for me because I'm a huge extrovert, but if I can leave you with anything, anything at all from my experience is: GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND GET OUT THERE. Doesn't need to be to my ridiculous extreme, but do something different. Meet people, participate in event, reach out, go to workshops. Your voice goes as far as you can shout it. Move that voice around, reach more people. Someone will shout back!
Thanks for reading.
Beijos & Valeu!