I’m someone who’s been around the block with agents. Before I came to my senses, see, I dabbled (mostly unsucccessfully) as a screenwriter and so I’d been through every version of despicable agenting. After being lied to, misled, hit on and even worse — ignored — I’d come to believe that an agent, if you wanted to do anything that required one, was a necessary evil, a person who always left you feeling like you were covered in a thin (or thick) level of slime.
So, back when I first started writing my novel, I met with an agent that made my skin crawl. Not only did he specialize in celebrity bios and not novels, but he was also completely condescending and asked far too many questions about my personal life. Still, as far as I knew, those were the required characteristics for the career. We’d meet for those skin-crawling experiences when he was in LA or I was in New York and I’d tell him about my book in between his random soliloquies about the softness of the pillows at the Four Seasons or square footage of his place in New York.
Then I finished the damn thing and let a couple friends read it, all of whom offered to send it to the agents they knew (having agent friends, despite the sliminess that comes with it, is de rigeur here). So I called “my” agent because I wanted to ask him if he’d be okay with me showing it to other agents as well. He and I didn’t have any official agreement, after all. He never called me back which was, sadly, typical.
So I emailed him the question, and within seconds, received a reply that he would in no way consider reading a book that had so much as passed by another agent’s desk. Fair enough, I thought. At least he’s getting back to me. So I wrote him back and asked how long it would take him to read my book. It was at almost this exact same time last year and his response was something along the lines of how he’d try to get to it by the end of the year but probably wouldn’t be able to. I told him as sweetly as humanly possible that in that case, I’d like to take my chances and submit it to other agents. I never heard from him again.
Within the week, I got an email from an agent with the most glamorous-sounding name I’d ever heard who explained that she’d spent the past few hours reading the columns on my site and laughing. Would I, by any chance, be in the market for an agent?
Needless to say, the agent with the most glamorous-sounding name in the business is now my very own and she hasn’t failed to live up to my ever-high expectations (for her glamourousness, not to mention agenting abilities). Working with me isn’t always the easiest thing — I tend toward impatience, overreaction and oversensitivity, all of which she is the recipient of and handles with the aplomb that one would expect from someone named Pilar Queen.
She is the result of the good karma I garnered through every comment that “Some scripts don’t see the light of day and this is going to be one of them” and hand on my knee, the respectful support that erases all those years of slime.
Meanwhile, is it so wrong that I semi-fantasize about the awful celeb bio agent guy (not to mention the slew of screenwriting agents) passing by my book in a store and shaking his head over how much he blew it?
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