Heather Head (heatherhead on QT) has signed with agent Ethan Ellenberg of Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency.
I was inspired in part by my children. I'd read each portion to them whenever I got done with it, and I loved that, and they loved it. I was also inspired by research that, at that time, was just starting to come out about plant intelligence. And I thought, if plants are intelligent... what would happen if one of them became Earth's dominant species? Then I flipped how we treat plants on its head and went from there.
I also read a lot of care guides for animals, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to write a "care and keeping of humans" guide from the point of view of a plant, and so there are these little segments throughout that are taken from a guide written by a "human breeder." I just had fun.
I had really good friends who know the industry and believed in my book, and they helped me keep going. My children loved it, and my husband, who has very good taste in literature (and who helped me tremendously in untangling sticky problems with the plot), also loved it. So, in short, it was my supporters who kept me going. I am so grateful to them.
All that being said, I'm a professional copywriter, so I write roughly 10-15,000 words a week in the course of my business. This means that I'm continuously honing my writing muscles, even if most of it is not fiction. Still, I do have to be disciplined if I want to get my own stories written, of course.
So I looked for agents in those markets, and it turns out that it's really more suitable for an adult audience. Ethan was the agent to pick it up and see that, and want to represent it for that market (I actually didn't even query him--I'd queried someone else in his agency, who reps YA, and that agent--Evan Gregory--saw potential and passed it to Ethan--so it's true that they will pass it on inside some agencies if they think someone else is a better fit). So I'm incredibly grateful to Evan and Ethan for that.
I had originally only queried agents who were recommended to me by authors I know. Then I spread my net a little farther and used QueryTracker to filter & search for agents representing YA sci fi. QueryTracker, of course, is wonderful for this! Then I'd research each one, looking to see that they're reputable, that they make frequent sales, etc. This is how I found Ethan (thank you, QueryTracker!!!).
Contrary to some advice, I didn't "start at the top and work my way down." I tried to query a range of agents--from top shelf (like Ethan!) to new agents and everything in between (so long as they were reputable or with a reputable agency). I don't know that my approach was right--the advice is probably better followed than broken. I'm lucky, however, and thrilled, that I was offered representation from someone of Ethan's caliber.
Of course, I did always send precisely what they asked for. If they wanted a synopsis, I sent a synopsis. If they wanted five pages, I sent five pages. If they wanted a synopsis, thirty pages, and pet hamster well... that never happened. But you get the point.
I do think there's a point at which you have to accept that maybe this one isn't ready for an agent (or the market's not ready for it), and try something different. That's why you're supposed to be working on your next novel, of course!
Thank you so much for having me, and for the excellent resource that is QueryTracker.