With the publication of my first book looming, more and more I get questions from other writers who are starting to navigate the publishing waterways. They have a mistaken notion that I have some secrets or know what I’m doing. One of the most common questions I hear is:
“Where did you get your agent?”
Why WalMart of course – the aisle near office supplies.
No – don’t be foolish, Rachel Vater (Lowenstein and Yost) is much more of Tiffany’s type agent, you wouldn’t find quality like her in the mass market stores. She is unique, one of a kind.
So how did I find her? Honestly? I found her in a Writers Digest article. I read an interview with her. I liked what she had to say. I met one of her colleagues at a writer’s conference who confirmed my impression. This is how the process went:
- I sent her a query letter.
- She requested a partial.
- I sent the partial and produced more stomach acid than a bomb squad guy with palsy while I waited to hear back.
- She requested the full manuscript.
- I sent the manuscript and spent days chanting and praying full time like an entire Buddhist monastery.
- She called. We discussed the book, what I wanted in my career, her approach, our expectations of each other. She offered to represent me and I accepted.
Despite what people hint from time to time I can promise the following:
- I did not know her before I queried her, nor did I know any of her family or friends
- I had no “connections” in the publishing industry
- I did not hold any pets or distant cousins of hers hostage while suggesting that “bad things” could happen if she failed to offer to represent me
- No money exchanged hands (nor chocolate, flowers or other bribes)
I did do the following:
- Tried to write a good book
- Got some assistance (thank you Kristin Nelson) to write a snappy query
- Took the time to try and learn as much as I could about the publishing industry and the role of agents
- Was honest with myself about what I wanted/needed in an agent
- Sold my soul to Satan in a Faust type deal (no I didn’t – I just wanted to see if you were paying attention – besides no one wants my soul – no rhythm)
I have no doubts that I work with one of the best agents in the business and the very best agent for me. I greatly value Rachel’s input and professional judgment. I appreciate her ability to talk me down when I’ve wound myself up (this happens more than you might think). I admire her business savvy and boundless enthusiasm for this business. I love her for loving my books and those of all her clients. I absolutely ADORE that she knows Miss Snark – which is almost as good as knowing her myself. I feel very fortunate to have not only a good business relationship – but also to really like my agent as a person.
If you are looking for an agent – keep looking. Don’t settle for any agent – find the right agent. They are out there. They are looking for you too.
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