This is the post I've waited most of my writing life to publish, and now that it's here, I'm at a loss of what there is to be said. But it seems a pivotal moment that needs to be documented digitally, so here we go.
I am so pleased to announce that I am now represented by the fantabulous Thao Le of Sandra Dijkstra and Associates!
Some fun facts about this wonderful occurrence:
🎂 In spite of having two full-length published works, I had never queried before in my life.
🎂 I technically queried for two years as I dipped my toe in during a round of DVPit, panicked at agent interest because now people will have to read this messy book! and proceeded to inform all the lovely agents expressing interest that I needed more time.
And then took another year to reach out again.
🎂 Due to being published and being very much in need of representation to know how to proceed with my career, I was advised by some wonderful friends to reapproach waiting agents and offer a polished partial and proposal. I mention this for any author who may be doing this whole adventure backwards (publications first and then agent hunting) and has the publishing record and reputation, plus relationship with agents being queried, to attempt this.
However, I would more heavily recommend querying as soon as you have your first book deal. This was advised to me, I thought I would be okay for a while and I honestly regret it. Don't be me. I am grateful for where I have landed, and particularly grateful for the agents who were readily accepting of my unconventional offering, but in many ways it felt more stressful and it is harder to be judged off a partial rather than a full.
🎂 I now have entered graduate school and queried agents in the same year, which I also do not entirely recommend? You need to have nerves of steel. Which I don't have.
And keep in mind I did both of these things while job hunting and then teaching, which...how did you do it, you ask?
I don't know. I still don't know.
Do I have any advice to offer? I think I do!
✨ When someone tells you, "You need an agent" the first time, believe them. I've dealt with too many contracts on my own because of youthful naivete and the assumption that once I was finished with my Cake projects, I would have time to focus on my own projects and figure everything out.
✨ That being said, remember always that no agent is better than a bad agent. Do your due diligence and put yourself first while doing research. Prioritize your career and your needs.
✨ If you're floundering in this industry, look around for your friends and confide in them what is happening. You may think that you're the only one going through this and everyone will only furrow their brows and shake their heads, but, believe me, you're not. And the only way to get through confusing stages like this is with the help of good friends.
Which leads me to my THANK YOU section. There are names I am sure I will forget and I hope those people know I love them just as dearly as anyone else mentioned:
my unnis, Kat Cho (the nice one), Nafiza Azad (the tough love one) and Axie Oh (the bestest critique partner forever one), for all the late-night excerpt reading, query letter trimming and hand-holding that I could never possibly pay back;
lovely critique partners Amparo Ortiz, Natasha Heck and Danica Paige for so much love and support I'm not even sure I entirely deserve but am always grateful for;
my dear light of a friend, Shveta Thakrar, for all of the above and then some, and also being patient with endless G-chat notifications - and honestly, even this sells short the amount of care and emotional support Shveta has put into me that all words fall short to appropriately describe with the right weight and gratitude;
all the friends who offered advice when I was most confused and hesitant on how to proceed, including Elizabeth Eulberg, Adam Gidwitz, Kosoko Jackson, Claribel Ortega (the fabulous! Pre-order GHOST SQUAD!) , Justine Larbalestier, Dana Levy, Angele McQuade and Debbi Michiko Florence;
the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Anne Ursu who is just the gift that keeps on giving this year (and who gently encouraged me through my agent search the same year she led me to Hamline MFAC!);
my beloved Dahlia Adler for lending me her ear, her patience and her Publishers Marketplace subscription;
wonderful agents Beth Phelan (a.k.a. the queen of DVPit and other endeavors that are good and NONE OF US DESERVE HER), Victoria Marini, Tricia Lawrence and Jennifer Laughran for advice and encouragement that was very much needed and can never be repaid;
lovely and talented former agent Amy Boggs for query advice;
my mom, because obviously;
my bestie Moira Maranski because she's too good to me and never asks for a therapist fee;
and every single friend who I confided in, cheered me on, read excerpts, and helped me research, along with every single reader who said, with confidence, "You'll be represented by someone good soon, Ms. Riazi." Bless you guys.
And of course, thank you a million times over to my new agent, Thao Le, who has supported me for years prior to this and cheered me on every step of the way. I cannot wait for this new adventure!