Friday, December 11, 2009

Agent Appreciation Day: She Gets Me!

If someone asked you why you married your spouse, you'd probably have a few dozen reasons, among them things as small as, I love his eyes. We'd all say something different. But one thing we may all say in common is, he/she gets me.

There's nothing like having someone "get" you. Better still, when they love you in spite of some of your less than admirable traits.

Choosing an agent isn't like marriage - the agent chooses you and you date around quite a bit before you get that "ring."

But it is like marriage because, in the end, no matter why you were chosen the grand hope is that your agent gets you. Mine does. And she has from the beginning.

When Jen Carlson read the manuscript for So Not The Drama(can it really be 4 years ago?!), it wasn't love at first sight (unless, it was. Jen?). There was definitely some affection there, yes. But, more importantly, between the manuscript and my query she got me and my mission, right away.

All I've ever wanted to do was write books where the characters were diverse but the story was not about race. And I do. But I needed Jen to explain how important that sort of literature was to the publishing industry. She's been my voice to editors. She's been my advocate who has to constantly point out - her books appeal universally to teens but they put African American protags on the stage. Her work is good. It's needed. It's marketable and it's fun.

Imagine that having to be your job all day - convincing someone of something you believe in. That's what agents do, day in and day out, across their list of rosters.

It's got to be exhausting. I only do it for my books and it burned me out in less than three years.

On top of all that, she's had to talk me off the ledge many days. Explain that damned royalty statement over and over. Ease my anxiety over the ever so slow submission process. And, be a cheerleader when I feel like saying, to hell with it.

I laugh when people question if the 15% paid to agents is worth it.

Do all of the above on your own AND still write books and then you tell me.

Jen Carlson, today, I salute you!

Look at all this agent love over at Lisa and Laura's blog.