I Have an Agent!

Posted by Sammi Spizziri on July 11, 2020 · 5 mins read

I am so incredibly excited to announce I’ve signed with a literary agent! I couldn’t imagine a better champion for my YA romance than Jacqui Lipton at Raven Quill Literary Agency.

The Story - Say Something

Here’s a blurb of what my story is about:

When Evie’s mom dies right before her junior year of high school, she flees her suddenly suffocating small town, leaving behind her grieving father, twin brother, and the only boy she’s ever loved. After a year spent living with her aunt in New York City and learning about the promising radio career her mom gave up for her, Evie is on the cusp of fulfilling the dream for both of them by landing the podcasting internship of a lifetime when her dad’s heart attack sends her home for the summer.

Determined to still secure the internship, Evie must uncover a fascinating local story in her decidedly humdrum town, one that requires the help of Kace, the angry, heartbroken boy she left without even saying goodbye to. As past feelings rekindle and collide with very different future plans, Evie’s impulsive efforts to improve the family auction business and enforce a heart-healthy lifestyle for her dad are met with increasing bitterness from her brother and growing distance from the dad she used to be so close with.

With deadlines looming and summer ending, listening to newly-found episodes of her mom’s old radio show raises just as many questions for Evie as they answer. The only thing she knows for sure is if she stays, she risks getting trapped in the same small town that ultimately snuffed out her mom’s dreams. But if she leaves, she’ll disappoint her dad, cement her selfishness in her brother’s eyes, and forever lose Kace’s heart.

The Writing Process

I first started writing Say Something three years ago. I was attending an auction with my husband and was intrigued by the family running it. I then wondered what kind of person might grow up in that life and then want to flee from it–and why. The grief element came in naturally as I was grieving miscarriages and infertility. So much of this story came out of that period of waiting to start a family, which makes it fitting that finding an agent coincided with the birth of my second child (Jacqui and I talked on the phone the day before Blaise was born.)

The Querying Process

Querying (the process of finding an agent) is every writer’s least favorite thing. There’s nothing like putting your heart out there in the form of your story only to receive rejection after rejection. And even when you do get the occasional request, it often turns into a rejection. I first queried six years ago with a novel I wrote in college for my honors project. Back then, I had no concept of revisions or feedback or the publishing world, so it was no surprise that my four random queries ended with rejection (or rather, silence). My second round of querying was with my current book but under a different title and before significant revisions. While I got a decent response and contest recognition, it didn’t quite click with an agent (I queried thirty-some).

This past November, I was selected by one of my favorite authors, Abigail Johnson, as her mentee in an incredible program called Pitch Wars. After a complete rewrite and then two more rounds of heavy revisions with her, I finally had my manuscript, Say Something, in its current form. It took lots of babysitting time, my husband’s complete support, and, I’m not going to lie, a decent amount of tears as I battled imposter syndrome and my fears of never finishing. There’s something altogether different about writing when you’re working with someone else rather than creating for yourself and I felt that. I didn’t finish revisions in time for the agent showcase in February but when I did finish, I dove into querying again. Jacqui had already requested from me just before Pitch Wars but agreed to wait as I polished it. When I sent it to her, she read it in one sitting and asked for a phone call two days after I’d sent it to her.

Next Steps

I’m excited to dive into revisions (though it sounds like they’ll be very light, which makes my revision-weary heart very happy) and then go on submission as we search for the perfect editor to publish this story. Here’s to hoping someone loves it as much as Jacqui does!