Just one day after my agent proposed to me … er, I mean asked to represent me, I went to a reading given by Elinor Lipman. I swore I would not raise my hand during the Q & A and blurt out, “I just got an agent!” – because after all, that is not even a question. So when someone in the audience asked about finding an agent, I literally sat on my hand. But when someone else chimed in with another question about finding an agent, well, somehow as of it sprouted a mind of its own, my hand was up and I was blurting out my happy news. Elinor, sweet and generous soul that she is, congratulated me profusely. Then she asked, so do you have a question? And I did. It was, So now, how do I live with myself?
Because the truth is, I was so thrilled and relieved once I finally found an agent, that I really didn’t know what to do with myself.
Unlike what Deb Kristina said earlier in the week, the whole process of finding an agent did feel somewhat like dating for me. After all, like dating, you’re trying different people on for size in a (sometimes) desperate search for the one that fits. You are putting your best face forward and hoping, hoping, hoping (at least I was) that someone would fall in love with you – and you with them of course. And just like dating, it hurts like hell when you’re rejected. But just like your mother told you when the first love of your life ran off with that bimbo from the senior class – or you finally dumped your fourteenth loser – it doesn’t mean you (and your manuscript) are not lovable. It simply means that you haven’t found the right match . . . yet. And like dating, all you can do, is scrape yourself up and get back in the game.
Also like dating, when you find the right one – you might just blubber like an idiot. (Okay, is that only me?) Finally, all those weeks (who are we kidding here?) or months (if you’re extremely lucky) or years (more like it for most of us) of agonizing over query letters and sample chapters and kissing envelopes for luck as you sent them off in the mail have paid off. You have someone on your side. Someone – other than your mother (who thinks everything you’ve ever written since you were 9 is brilliant) and your husband (what choice does he have, really?) – who believes in your dream. Someone who thinks you really can do this crazy thing you’ve dreamed about for so long.
That, my friends, is a pretty amazing feeling. And in the end, worth every moment of hard work and persistence that it took to get you there. So for all you aspiring writers out there, I hope you’ve gotten some sound advice from us this week and some encouragement to just keep at it. To all the agents out there, thank you for believing in us. And for the rest of you glorious readers, thank you for being the stuff of our dreams!