Life After Getting An Agent

Preamble: It’s been six weeks since I landed my dream agent, Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Some friends, namely Shari Green and Elena Aitken, have encouraged me to post an update of what has happened in that time.

Background: My project is a humor/parenting book tentatively titled “Get That Train off Your Penis: Things I Never Thought I’d Say As a Parent.” Unlike fiction and memoir, nonfiction sells on the basis of a book proposal (mine is 55 pages long); as a result, my manuscript is not finished.

Light reading

Here, then, is what has happened over the past six weeks.

  1.  I came down from the ceiling.
  2. I learned how to pronounce and spell Dijkstra. Pronunciation hint: DIKE-stra. Spelling hint: D plus the alphabet (I-J-K).
  3. I hired a babysitter for three hours every Sunday and got over my guilt, mostly.
  4. I emailed a signed contract back to the agency. Then a real one came in the mail. I did a happy dance in my kitchen. The blinds may have been open; the neighbours no longer care.
  5. I became a “blurb whore”, asking various people who are more famous and talented than me to read sample chapters and offer me a blurb. I am amazed at people’s generosity of time and spirit.
  6. I expanded my manuscript’s scope, so that it will no longer be an estimated 40,000 words, but 65,000 as Jill suggested.
  7. I wrote. Some 38,000 words are now done-ish. So I’m halfway through my rough draft.
  8. I got feedback from Jill on the proposal. My primary directive was to “pump up the marketing section.” So, I ordered four books that a few presenters at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference suggested, and I contacted two fab non-fiction writing friends for advice on marketing ideas.
  9. I revised my opening sections.
  10. I found beta readers who are going to read my manuscript and offer me slap-in-the-face, honest feedback.
  11. I let Trish buy me wine to celebrate at a “failed” crit group meeting.
  12. I crashed from the ceiling through the floor more than once, giving in to the convincing voice in my head that told me this was all a fluke. Thank God for friends (cyber and in real life) who are the best voice-silencers I know.
  13. I’ve been in email contact with Jill at least twice each week; she is a dream, answering my various questions promptly and with humor.

Thanks for dealing with thirteen I-statements.

If you have any questions about the process (or any suggested blog topics for me), feel free to throw them in the comments.

About Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom)

Leanne Shirtliffe (a.k.a. Ironic Mom) is a humor writer who lives by the motto, "If you can't laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids." She is the author of DON'T LICK THE MINIVAN: Things I Never Thought I'd Say To My Kids, the picture book THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE (May 2014), and MOMMYFESTO: We Solemnly Swear...Because We Have Kids (Nov 2014).
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22 Responses to Life After Getting An Agent

  1. Lori Dyan says:

    LOVE the update – I’m vicariously living through you right now…GO LEANNE!

  2. That is so awesome Leanne! Thanks for sharing the process and good luck to you. You deserve happy dances and wine :)


  3. We are all living vicariously through your penis. #iykwim. You go, girl!

  4. melsar93 says:

    I promise to cook all of the recipes in your book.

    Also, I now feel a little guilty bothering you about the Things.

  5. gojulesgo says:

    I’m so glad you posted this! I’m absolutely fascinated by the process and don’t know much about what happens after you land a literary agent. I’m very happy for you, and so excited to read the book (even though I’m childless, it sounds fabulous and you’re hilarious)!

  6. girlweena says:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

  7. Pingback: MISSING: Thing 1 and Thing 2 | Leanne Shirtliffe ~ Ironic Mom

  8. Wahoooooooooooooooo!!! Congratulations – what fantastic news and so deserved!! Keep us posted…what a journey and the best is yet to come…imagine?!?!? Write hard! :-)

  9. Marianne says:

    I am so excited for you. And next you can publish a nonfiction book on publishing nonfiction books…

  10. christicorbett says:

    So very happy for you!!!!!!!!

    *dances around room waving hands in air in true happiness for your success*

    Also, since I have twins the same age/gender as yours if you need another beta reader just let me know :)

    Christi Corbett

  11. Rebecca Stanfel says:

    Congratulations again! Even better than landing an agent is landing a nice one with a sense of humor. So good for you.

    Before I learned that memoir submissions follow fiction instead of nonfiction, I wrote one of those huge narrative proposals. Now that I know I need the whole manuscript, instead of my tome (er, proposal), I’m selling off my marketing section. Seriously, if it is useful to take a peek at mine, feel free. It would be exciting for somebody to read it.

    I bet you will be back up on the ceiling and doing happy dances when you turn in your first draft. In the meantime, good luck making words.


  12. Julia Indigo says:

    Just now read this – O.M.G. I am SO HAPPY for you!!! And your penis!! :D

    xox, you are an inspiration.

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