I am very easily starstruck, and when I meet authors/editors/agents I really respect, I sometimes get so excited that I forget how to act like a normal human. There was that time I told Sara Zarr that Holly Black was my agent. And that time I started babbling about Schoolhouse Rock to Libba Bray. And that time I asked Kathryn Erskine to sign a book for me… which she had ALREADY SIGNED on a previous occasion. And that time I met Stephanie Perkins and was trying so hard not to be a ridiculous fangirl that I completely failed to mention her books AT ALL. (Stephanie Perkins, I love your books with a love that is deep and real.)
The day I met my agent for the first time was equally ridiculous.
In January of last year, I got an email from my dream agent, Holly Root (who is, shockingly, not the same person as Holly Black.) She’d read the manuscript I’d sent her, and although she wasn’t sure she could sell it, she was enthusiastic about my writing. She proposed we meet and talk about how to proceed.
I will thrilled out of my mind, but I was also beyond nervous. It was my first time meeting with an agent, and I wanted to be Prepared-with-a-capital-P. I reread my manuscript and got ready to discuss its intricacies. I did research on Holly. I studied photos of her online so I wouldn’t idiotically walk up to a random bystander and introduce myself. What could possibly go wrong?
I should have known the universe would find a way to throw me a curve ball.
Everything started out perfectly. Holly and I chatted about my manuscript for a while, and then we got down to the serious business of recommending books to each other. I raved about my favorite John Green novels and about Jellicoe Road, which I’d just finished. She told me about her clients’ exciting new releases. Then she said, “I just read this really fantastic book by Jandy Nelson. It’s called This Guy is Everywhere. You should definitely check it out.” At least, that’s what I thought she said. And like the good little potential client I was, I wrote it down and promised to read it immediately.
The meeting left me in a haze of delirious excitement, and as I always do when I have something to celebrate, I headed straight for the nearest bookstore. I waltzed through the aisles of Barnes and Noble with a goofy grin on my face, piling up a stack of Holly-approved books. But when I looked for This Guy is Everywhere, it was nowhere to be found. I asked about it at the information desk, but they couldn’t find it in their computers, either. That seemed strange, but maybe it was just too esoteric for a mainstream bookstore. I went home and looked it up online—nothing. For a guy who was supposedly everywhere, he was proving pretty difficult to locate.
I wrote Holly an email, thanking her for meeting with me and proudly listing which of her clients’ books I’d just purchased. “I looked for This Guy is Everywhere, too, but I couldn’t find it,” I wrote. “Maybe it’s not out yet?” Then I went to bed and succumbed to happy dreams of representation.
That is, until a sudden realization jolted me awake at 4 AM. Holly hadn’t said THIS GUY. She had said THE SKY. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE.
She wrote back in the morning, and to my vast relief, she found the whole situation hilarious. I ordered The Sky Is Everywhere. As promised, it was fabulous.
Six months later, I signed with Holly.
We have never spoken of the incident again.