Monday, August 8, 2016

Big Literary News...


I know this big news is a long time coming, but it's finally happened... I got an agent. After several manuscripts and a year of querying the most recent novel with 65 agents... I've signed with Carrie Hannigan at the HSG Agency.

I thought it would be more useful if I took some time to experience life with an agent and then write a bit about what it's like before I made this announcement. As I found out after I first got one, there are a ton of blog articles out there about getting an agent, but not many about life with one. I highly recommend this series of articles by Caroline Richmond about what happens after you sign.

I think the thing that surprised me the most was, now that I could focus on the writing, it suddenly felt pretty intimidating. Before, I tended to be focused on one project at a time, writing and finishing a draft before moving on to something new. But lately, with the title “professional writer,” I'm finding it's psyched me out a bit. I keep flipping from project to project. One day, I'll have this great picture book idea and maybe this manuscript will finally turn out not to be cutesy, the next day I'll remember that I really was making some progress on that ghost mystery rewrite (third time is the charm,) and then the day after that, I'll get an idea for Middle Grade Sci-Fi that might finally break my curse with Middle Grade manuscripts...

Don't psyche yourself out.

You're still the writer you were before you got an agent, even if there's more of a chance that an editor will see your manuscripts. Personally, I'm still working on this one. 

Also, I think there's this period where you feel like every time you're e-mailing your agent that you're bothering them. I think it's because as a writer, we spent so much time, culling each word of a query to a prospective agent, that you feel the need to examine every syllable of correspondence to your new agent. I think I'm starting to get past this phase, but I still reread all my emails about 15 times before I send them. 

The last thing is, I was surprised at how much time I'm saving. Before, I would spend hours researching agents, pitches, how to query in my free time when I wasn't writing. Not having to worry about the business side as much opens up more time to research craft, see what new books are out there in my genre and figure out what kind of writer I want to be.

So, having an agent is freeing but also intimidating at the same time. What are your thoughts about what changes when you have an agent? 

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new agent! It was a good call to post about it after you've lived with it awhile. Since the writer/agent relationship is like a marriage, people don't want just the honeymoon phase stories, they want the stories of how you've made it work and what works about it.

    I know how you feel about suddenly not having to focus on finding an agent, about not needing Pitchwars or Querytracker. It's a strange feeling when you see other writers out there still hunting and you don't have to anymore, but it's freeing too. The feeling that you're 'bothering' your agent is part of that shift from querying to agented. Writers often feel like agents are holy grails and they take politeness to a worshipful level. Sure, we're supposed to be professional in our correspondence, but it's good not to forget we're human and they're human too. We're so afraid of their rejection we forget rejection isn't the end of the world. This translates to how we act after we get an agent. The good news is, like you're experiencing, it goes away. You can start sending more casual emails, and not be afraid of what your agent says. The good agents respond quickly and aren't overbearing or hurtful about their suggestions.

    Thanks for posting this. More writers need to know what it's like after signing, how the professional relationship goes and how to be sure you're always acting professional throughout. I wish you and your agent success!

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  2. Glad to know that someone else feels that way too! It is interesting seeing other people around me still looking for agents. I always have to remind myself that I don't need to read agent interviews that pop up in newsletters anymore, because I don't need that.

    I like the analogy of a marriage... it certainly is like trying to forge a long relationship, figuring out who does the dishes and how you live together... that seems pretty accurate. I think we don't realize when we're querying that there's a lot of figuring out preferences of how to work together after you're together and that can be an interesting part of the process too.

    Best of luck with your writing as well!

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