If I had to give an award for the craziest week, this week will be in the running. For days, there were fireworks in my chest and I cannot stop the springy feeling constantly rising up my throat. It’s like choking and wanting to vomit at the same time.
Things that led me here
Last May 29, I received the shinest email ever to land in my inbox. What they said was true. It’s going to change things. After querying agents who liked my DVpit pitch, I was anticipating for something positive. This was a story I knew was going to be the one. You’ll know it. After spewing out mountains of words and stitching them together, I finally gained confidence that this baby can face the world and thrive, although it did have a lot of typos.
I read the email half-awake, early in the morning, expecting a No with a pinch in my heart. I have convinced myself to read it at once because a delay doesn’t change the agent’s answer.
It was a Yes. It was an email for The Call.
You guys, I jumped out of my bed with my chest screaming at my bones.
The next thing I did was to email the agents who I queried. I wasn’t hoping for much. One Yes was enough. With the Black Lives Matter protests slowly firing up, two agents being outed for – well, being racists – and everyone in the publishing world talking about the eyebrow-raising hashtag #PublishingPaidMe, all I thought was, “They’re too busy. And I get it if they ignore my email, because it’s not important.”
They weren’t. I had two other lovely people requesting for fulls.
One weekend, I received another email that gave me the same punch in the stomach. It was another Call. My innards were making acrobats in my ribs. The conversation was different this time, other than me being awkward and shy and completely dazed. Even before I asked my questions, they were answered. She told me the parts she loved about my manuscript, the little details I actually forgot, told me that we’re shaking things up in a way that scared me but put me at east at the same time. She told me who she is, who they are, that a cat might randomly meow in the middle of our conversation, and that I can do whatever I wanted, whether I’d stay in MG or stray in YA. She calls herself a baby agent without reluctance, because she’s confident in her own pace, and she’s got a powerhouse of amazing women who’d champion her as she champions me.
Four days later, I told her I’d love to have a seat at their table.
And soon after that, they opened the door and welcomed me in.
Cue the confetti! I am now represented by Melanie Castillo of Root Literary.
I have been holding my breath in the past 2 weeks only to lead to this: I am now represented by the ever-radiant Melanie Castillo @wellmelsbells of @rootliterary. Little Marikit, Ali, Juan Tamad and Saturnina have found their champion! ✨🇵🇭✨— Caris Cruz (@hellocaris) June 25, 2020
And boy, Book Twitter throws the BEST welcome parties!
There’s still a long way to go from here. Being the realist that I am, I’m readying for the long rewrites, nights of bawling over confused plotlines, and maybe even failed stories. But I am grateful to Melanie for believing in me, and I will take this opportunity to better myself as a person and writer as we knock on doors for my dream book.
There are still fireworks in my chest.
P.S.: Literary agents are AMAZING. They do so much for something they gain so little, opening doors for voices and stories that will shape the young generation. I have so much admiration for them before and moreso now, and I will try my best to be a good author, client, and friend.
P.P.S.: We could have never connected if not for Beth Phelan and DVpit. Thank you, Beth, for always amplifying BIPOC voices, even when it’s scary and risky. Thinking of you with a grateful heart.
P.P.P.S.: To Larissa, who told me my book was important, I will always be thankful for the conversations we had and I will always, always cheer for you. You are amazing and I am looking forward to the door-breaking, sword-slashing epic adventures you’ll make.