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!
7 Replies to “The Agent Dance, by Deb Eve”
I’ve loved reading all these posts this week . . . because they’re so honest, but also because it takes me back to an afternoon in August of 2004 when I had the first phone conversation with the amazing woman who is now my agent. I had 300 rejection letters in my office, but hearing her say “I love your writing and I’d like to represent you” made all of them fade away. And even though I blabbered and had no idea what I was saying, she was incredibly gracious and suggested we speak again the next day. We did, the rest is history, but the memory still makes me feel like flying.
I had a wee blubber too. It felt so wonderful to have someone (not related to me or friends with me) say those magic words “I love your writing!”
Nice post, Eve.
Yes, Judy and Eileen – you said it. It is a truly amazing gift to have someone else (and someone who KNOWS what they’re talking about) say those magic words – “I love your writing!” Luckily, it’s a gift we can give to other writers as well!
Great post, Eve! I love your story about finding your agent (and telling Elinor Lippman!). It is such a relief to know that someone else is in your corner (after all that querying) that I think you (and everyone else) can all be excused for babbling with excitement… I can’t wait to meet you–and hear you read when you come to New York in May!
You know Eve, I went to a Khaled Hosseini talk and booksigning along with 1,000 of my closest friends and as he was signing my copy of THE KITE RUNNER I couldn’t resist telling him my book was out on submission. He said, “Oh, to an agent?” and I said, “No, to publishers!” and damned if he didn’t light up and congratulate me. My version of the Elinor Lipman story. I was so busy floating out of there, feeling all collegial and professional with Khaled Hosseini, that I didn’t bother to read the inscription. I think he scribbled something in Farsi, probably the same thing he scribbles in every book, but because I didn’t look, I couldn’t ask him what it said. And now I’ll never know!
That was one agent and three manuscripts ago.
Actually, Evie I thought your baby scribbles were brilliant.
Oh, I loved the Kite Runner…did you read his second book???
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