I just returned from the PNWA Summer Writers Conference. It was a whirlwind experience, but I must say the agent who left me unexpectedly dazzled was Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates.
I’ve had pretty decent successes with my latest manuscript: a dozen or so agents have asked for a partial, and although only one agent so far has asked for a full (that agent had me revise and resubmit, but then decided it wasn’t for her), it’s still early in the game. Today I sent my first fifty pages to Elizabeth Kracht, because she blew me away at the conference. Here’s what happened…
I’d originally had a pitch appointment with Amy Boggs of Donald Maass. I was neither here nor there on Amy Boggs, so when my friend Penny asked me to swap agent appointments with her, I did so without reservations. I didn’t know much about Ms. Kracht, with whom Penny had her appointment, so while eating my lunch, I got out my netbook and googled her agency.
Lo and behold, she got her BA in English while living in Puerto Rico… Holy crap! That’s perfect! (In case you didn’t know it, my manuscript is about a Latina protagonist who uses a smattering of Spanglish.) I’ve worried a lot over the fact that my manuscript includes modern Latino-teen jargon, yet most agents are monolingual white people who don’t even realize how perfect my wording is, in Spanish. So the whole Puerto Rico connection was a plus.
Before I go on, there’s something you should know about an agent interview. Agents only give out their business cards to writers they’re truly interested in. I mean, after all, business cards cost money, and let’s face it–there are a TON of crappy writers out there.
So I nervously walked into the interview room and immediately asked her, “How do you say your last name?” Because if I’m going to enter into a business partnership, I want to know exactly who I’m getting on board with.
“It’s pronounced crocked,” she said.
“Like a crocodile?” I asked.
“Sort of.” She nodded. Then to my surprise, she interjected with, “I like your necklace.”
Our easy banter made me feel comfortable with Ms. Kracht, right off the bat. It wasn’t until I began to read my pitch to her that she really took my breath away. I’ve found I can memorize my pitch until I’m blue in the face, but it only sounds natural if I read it out loud to an agent. So that’s what I did:
I read, “When pregnant seventeen-year-old Brisa Larios finds herself at her own shotgun wedding, she imagines her anonymous fiancé with a pornstache and a Chilean vaquero hat, but her actual groom, Hank Milanovich, turns out to be—¡Ahí Dios!—” and then I stopped short, because Elizabeth Kracht had thrown her business card down on the table in front of me, with a dramatic flair.
Ho-ly six figure book deal, Batman!
I was so taken aback, that I couldn’t read the rest of my pitch. I just gaped at that gem of a business card sitting in front of me on the table. When I finally got the courage to look at Ms. Kracht, she said, “You can go ahead and finish your pitch, but I already love your voice.”
And that’s why I would be honored to have Elizabeth Kracht as my agent.