How my agent found me – Mary Kubica

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By Mary Kubica

I was about twelve years old when I first developed a love of writing, and it’s a passion that hasn’t let up since then. I spent much of my preteen and teenage years scribbling stories away in notebooks that I wouldn’t dare let anyone else read. These stories were very private to me, more of a journal of sorts where fictional characters – very much like me, but a bit more outgoing and adventurous than I was – would come to life on the page, and allowed me to live vicariously through them.

I spent the next decade or two honing my skills as an author. After leaving a teaching career to start my family, I dove into what would one day become my first published novel, though there was no way I could have known it at the time. I was a new mother with an infant at home, spending every free moment I had hard at work on my manuscript.

It took five years to write the novel, which I did in complete secrecy; no one aside from my husband knew about my work-in-progress. Without letting anyone I knew lay eyes on it, I sent it off to as many agents as I could find who represented my type of work and, as luck would have it, it was rejected by each and every agent I sent it to. To say I was disheartened would be putting it mildly. I was certain my novel would never be published.

Two years passed before one of these agents reached back out to me. As it so happened, she’d been working as an assistant the first time she laid eyes on the manuscript and, though she loved it, she didn’t have the authority to take it on after others on her team decided to pass. But within those two years she was promoted to a literary agent and actively seeking her own clients. She remembered The Good Girl and made an offer of representation. Needless to say, I was thrilled. It was a dream come true.

Writing is a subjective industry. What one reader or agent or editor loves, another may not. The best advice I can offer an aspiring author is to never give up. Though it may sound cliché, it’s entirely true.

I think quite often how The Good Girl – or the novels I’ve penned since then – would never have been published were it not for one literary agent who found it worthy. Write honestly and from the heart, not worrying what others will think of your work-in-progress, and when the time comes to send it off, keep at it until you find the agent or editor who loves it as much as you do. You deserve nothing less.

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of four novels, including The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, Don’t You Cry and Every Last Lie. A former high school history teacher, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children, where she enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.

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