After many years of having an agent and realizing after all that time that nothing was happening as far as getting juicy contracts from traditional publishing houses (or any house for that matter,) I subbed all the work I had sent her over the years and found homes for everything on my own. Not the top tier publishing houses, but mid list publishing houses, which proved, in my mind at least, the stories I had sent earlier were publishable had she did more foot work.
Now the time has come again for me to contemplate whether or not I wish to seek representation. I do, and I've read a lot--especially on Twitter--about querying to agents, and how easy it is to do a query fail.
I agree, but from what I learned after all those years of no representation representation, finding the perfect agent isn't just about making successful queries and signing a contract.
You have to do some shopping and research on your own. Which I have been doing.
I've been shopping for agents since January, and I have the opportunity to meet with one at the NETWO (North East Texas Writer's Organization) Writer's Roundup conference on April 25th and 26th. I've done the necessary research about this person (no I won't say which agency it is, because nothing is set other than I will get to meet this person) The agency does fall within the category of what I like to write, the agency is listed with is well known. Although this agent is relatively knew, she has recieved good reports from other agent's and authors. I am looking forward to meeting her.
I have already sent my query package in. I checked and double checked to make absolutely sure everything was perfect. Now comes the part that I'm unsure about, and what might get me an agent fail, or perhaps I could give her an agent fail.
I am assuming this meeting will be much like the standard issue interview. Who are you, how long have you been at this, what kind of education did you recieve, how much marketing do you do for your own books, etc...
I know there wil lcome a time when the agent is going to say the following words, "Do you have any questions?"
And instead of shaking my head and saying no and shyly slipping away and hoping against hope that I might get that magic call from the agent who I think will get me into the major leagues, I will instead sit up straight, look her in the eye, and smile and say, "yes, I have questions. What are you willing to do to make sure I am successful in getting top tier publishing contracts? Are you willing to be a partner so that we both may benefit, and most of all, will you be available and actually tell I've got an acceptance or a rejection me either by email or by phone at least every month or so? I understand that the agent will not call me just to converse or talk girl talk or some such nonsense such as that. But I do beleive that an agent, like any good reliable business partner should be available. I want to hear back with promptness, not a year from now only to find I might have had some positive leads had the agent bothered to follow them.
And no, under no circumstances am I going to kavetch over my last agent. That's too much like going on a date and spending the whole time griping about the ex boyfriend.
I'll mention, if she askes that I had representation in the past. I will tell her who it was if she asks. I will also tell her why I chose to end the contract diplomatically, but I wont get into any drama. That's for amateurs and kids.
There must be a Pass/Pass on both sides. And if this one doesn't work out, I won't weep bitter tears, but take notes, learn more lessons and go shopping again.
I'd rather wait and get the best agent possible than get an agent who doesn't care whether I get work or not.
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