Name: Gabi Burton
What you Write: YA Fantasy
Agent: Naomi Davis
BookEnds has been a dream agency since I started querying. Not only because of their stellar track record, but because of how supportive BookEnds agents are in supporting the Writing and querying community.
Describe your experience with “The Call.” What do you write? When did the agent catch you? What was it like to get the call of your agent offering on your book/work? How long had you been querying/submitting, etc? Share as much as you’d like!
I was floored when I got a message from Naomi asking to set up a call. This was my first foray into fantasy and Naomi is known for their great eye in the genre so I figured querying them was a long shot. I had been querying this book for 23 days when I got my first offer. I nudged agents with my query, including Naomi, and they got back to me the next day asking for a full. I was over the moon to get the request and even more over the moon when I got a message saying they wanted to schedule a call.
For context, I had Query Tracker tabs for all the agents with my full manuscript open on my laptop. I would check the comments section daily (ok, hourly) to see if there were any new developments. I had the tabs open in a specific order grouped by: agents I was excited about, agents I was excited about but was certain they wouldn’t offer, and *unicorns*. Unicorn meaning I would absolutely drop dead if that agent offered.
Naomi was a unicorn.
I’m a nervous pacer, so I had a designated place for agent calls. My on-campus apartment borders the soccer fields so I went to the bleachers on the field to talk and pace. It was March in Maine so the field was pretty much covered in ice and the bleachers were empty. I got there ten minutes early and just walked back and forth across the bleachers, practicing the questions I was going to ask and trying to get my nerves out of the way.
Naomi called right on time and immediately gushed—their word, not mine—about the book. I was in tears by the time they were finished (and, again, it was March in Maine so the tears were frozen to my face and eyelashes.) When they were done, there was this awkward silence for a few seconds. Which is when I realized I should probably say something, so I said, “Sorry, I’m just crying right now.” What I didn’t say is that I was doing a weird little happy dance at the top of the bleachers.
I’d read a ton of interviews about questions to ask during the call and I’d had a few other calls before Naomi so I had a general idea of what I wanted to ask: what they connected to in my book, do they have any editorial ideas, how do they do edits, how do they communicate, how do they pick which editors to send to, etc. I ended up only asking a few of these because Naomi answered most of them while we talked. They told me about BookEnds, what it’s like to work there, the amazing support system, etc.
Naomi wanted to know what inspired me to write the book and how my own experiences shaped my writing. By the end of the call, I knew Naomi’s vision for my book, knew they had the connections in publishing I wanted, and, most importantly, I knew I’d found an agent who wholeheartedly believes in me and my career. I am just as excited now to work with Naomi as I was when I got the message about the call. Naomi’s enthusiasm for this book came through in our every interaction; from the messages we exchanged over Query Manager, to the call, to the second call where we talked about the contract, to the edit letter, to discussing in-depth how to move forward with edits. Naomi is a gem and I can’t express how lucky I feel to have them championing my book to hopefully share with the world.