My agent search is over! I’m now represented by Christopher Schelling, agent to Rainbow Rowell, Augusten Burroughs, Kim Stanley Robinson, Stephen Baxter, Emma Bull, and a host of other literary, YA, and sci-fi writers (as well as a few celebrities). It’s been a long, long road. I’ve sent out 200+ queries in the last year, which have resulted in 75+ manuscript requests (most of which turned into rejections). Christopher originally rejected my literary novel for adults back in November, but he’d clearly come very close to taking it. I convinced him to reconsider it–I’ve been doing a rewrite for the past few months–and he decided to make me an offer.
There’s been lots of drama, lots of moving pieces, but honestly the mechanisms by which already-published authors get new agents are not relevant or interesting to most of my readers. Suffice it to say, the process is not nearly so simple or clear as you’d think. In the end, I had a few different offers from agents, but Christopher’s clients, including all of the ex-clients that I could find, were very complimentary–they had nothing bad to say and much that was good. I was forced to eat my statement that all agents have downsides–it’s just a matter of knowing what your agent’s downsides are before you sign with them.
So we’ll see! But I am very, very, very happy to be done with this. It was exciting for the past few days to be the belle of the ball, to be courted and to be in the position of being the chooser, but ultimately it felt very foreign to the experience of being a writer, which is largely about quiet and silence. I’ve often wished that the writing life were more exciting. This past week I’ve gotten a glimpse of what that looks like, and I must say: excitement is pretty great, but not necessarily for me.
Thank you to the dozens of authors who took the time to speak to me by phone or email. Thanks to the agents who considered my manuscripts. And thanks especially to the many author friends who’ve held my hands through all this. There’s been so much excitement and genuine joy on my behalf (my closest friends have seen how long this process has lasted and the toll it’s taken on me!) At a certain point in this year, I was carrying a lot of anger because of the agent search, and in order to make a final decision I had to finally start letting go of some of that anger. That and the compassion and camaraderie shown by my friends has made me realize that there are serious benefits to being a more open-hearted author. I’ll probably continue to be miserable, envious, and hateful, but maybe I’ll sometimes be slightly better!
It’s been great to finish this up at a time when there’s so much Twitter discussion of agents and of the querying process. I’ve come away with more than a few insights into the whole process, which I hope to share in the next few months.
One nice side effect of having an agent now is that the path is finally clear to me releasing my Cynical Writer’s Guide To The Publishing Industry. It’s already got a cover and everything! So look out for that in the next few months,.