Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How I Met My Agent :)

A lot of people have been asking how I found my agent. The long version of the story involves a chicken (seriously), but I’ll save that for my interview with Oprah. The Secret says to put it out there, right? ;) Instead of just telling the story, however, I thought it would be more fun if I showed it to you:

Aug 22

Dear Ms. Rostan ,

I understand that you are drawn to fresh and engaging commercial fiction. I am submitting BEFORE EVER AFTER, an offbeat romantic novel complete at 85,000 words for your consideration.

Mosaic artist Shelley Gallus’ happy ending ended when her husband died three years ago. Today she learns that her tour guide husband Max is alive and well. This is pinch-me-twice wonderful news, or at least it would be, if Shelley could just overlook two tiny details: Max was blown to pieces on the Madrid subway three years ago; and the bearer of this news is her thirty two year old husband’s thirty two year old grandson, Paolo. Unfortunately, Shelley is a stickler for detail.

BEFORE EVER AFTER takes place along the back roads of European history as Shelley pursues the only clue she has to the mystery of her husband’s vastly improved health - her memories of “The Slight Detour,” the European budget tour package where she met and fell in love with her scruffily handsome guide. As a heartbreaking secret emerges from Max’s accounts of bloody Parisian barricades, smelly medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

BEFORE EVER AFTER is my first work of fiction and was inspired by my experience living, studying, and traveling through Europe. I have included sample pages below. I am committed to a long-term career in writing and would be happy to send you the complete manuscript. Thank you for your time.


Samantha Sotto-Yambao


Aug 24

Hi Samantha -- I read your pages and I think this is off to a fresh, fabulous start. I'd like to read the rest. Would you send me the complete manuscript as an email attachment and I'll get back to you as soon as possible?




Aug 24

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for your interest and kind words. I have attached my novel as a PDF file for your review. I hope you enjoy reading the rest of the manuscript. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,



Aug 26

Hi Samantha -- Well, this hasn't happened to me for quite some time, but I have a habit of reading the first few pages of new material when it comes in to decide how to prioritize my reading, and every once in a great while, I can't stop. I had already read the first few pages of your book in your email, so I read a few more when the manuscript arrived and, as I said, couldn't stop. I stayed up late and finished the whole manuscript last night. I loved it -- and I'd love to represent you. Would you like to speak by phone? Which part of the world are you in now?




Which part of the world was I then? Nowhere. I was over the moon! :)


Stormwild said...

This is how a star is born. :)

Scrollwork said...

I cried with joy all over again!

Alice Loweecey said...

Wonderful story!

Other Lisa said...

Lovely story! Looking forward to reading your book!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Stormwild - I don't know about much about stars, but I can tell you that the moon is indeed made out of cheese - Brie, to be exact ;-)

Scrollwork - *Passes the tissue box* ;-)

Alice - Awww...thanks!

Other Lisa - Thank you!!!

EQuanimity said...

So fascinating and inspiring!

(Florida) Girl said...

I am completely inspired by your story. I will be looking for an agent in the Fall. Any words of wisdom you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.

PS Stopping over from SheWrites.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

EQ - Thank you! :)
Florida Girl - Hi! So nice to see a SheWrites sister here! Good luck with the agent hunt! Hmm...I think I could write a whole post on how to survive the querying process. I'll whip something up for you and post it next week :)

C.M. Villani said...

Okay, that was a fantastic query letter! I am very envious because that is the hardest part of the submission process for me!

I love this post. Whether intentional or not, its very inspiring. Congrats on everything.

Catherine Stine said...

Hi Samantha
I can relate.
Hey, I'm here at blogger, and over at She Writes too.

houndrat said...

Ahhhh, great story, Samantha! Thanks so much for sharing! :D

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

C.M. -Thanks! I hear you. Writing the query was in many ways so much harder than writing the book. And yes, the post was meant to inspire. Reading "agent stories" during the querying process really helped me - I'm just returning the favor :)
Catherine - Hi! Thanks! Great to see you here! I'll drop by your blog later. :)
Houndie!!!! - Thank you! Happy to do it. Thanks for stopping by :)

Virginia said...

What a great query letter and even better agent response! Thanks for sharing it!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Thank you, Virginia! :)

Jennifer Hillier said...

How did I miss this post?? A-MAZING! What a great beginning (I'm pretty sure the best is yet to come). Awesome story, thanks for sharing.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Awww...thanks, Jennifer! :) So happy to share this experience with an agency mate!!

Joy Page Manuel said...

I am just reading this now and what can I say?...I'm blown away. It's true what they say...Great things only happen to those brave enough to take genuine risks...(or something like that, hehehe)!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Thanks, Joy! :D One of my fave quotes to live by is "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take." :)

judiverzosa said...

What an amazing story! Kudos to your hardwork, focus, and dedication.

Samantha Sotto said...

Thank you! I was extremely lucky :) By the way, I've moved blogs. You can find me here:

Flo said...

I just finished your novel, and I could not put it down! So glad your agent felt the same. I went to Europe in high school on a three week trip, and this book brings back some great memories.