As many of you know, Louise Fury has joined the team at camp L. Perkins Agency. I was regaling her with the torrid story of my first sale, and she said, "You must put that in your blog," so here it is for your entertainment pleasure.
As many of you know, I used to be journalist. I had left a rather slimy agent for training with someone I greatly admired, but was tough as nails. I had only made one sale in my first 5 months (cover story of US Magazine, so not too bad), but she was riding me hard to deliver.
I was riveted by a story on CNN about a family who was begging the Catholic Church to exorcise them of the entity that was molesting them nightly. I turned to my journalist-husband and said, "I really want to read that book when it comes out," and he said, "You're a journalist. Go get the book." And I did. I traveled by bus to Scranton, PA, met the family and the ghost busters and the local reporter covering the story (and saw my first velvet painting in a living room), and came back with the rights all signed up.
My boss was not a horror fan, so she didn't think the book would sell. She wouldn't let me send a messenger to the publishing companies with the proposal, so I walked it there myself in heels, my feet blistering by the end of the day.
A few days later, I had 7 publishers interested in the book. The auction started at $5000 and after two days of bidding, the book sold for $110,000.
The book went on to make number 15 on the NY Times best-seller list, and was made into a made-for-TV movie with Sally Kellerman, who was nominated for an Emmy.
And the point of that story for Louise, and all my agents in training, is that you must follow your instincts on a book, and go after it if you believe in it.