Monday, April 18, 2011

Dreaming About Agents

I think everyone has a dream agent. You know. The one who will make them rich and famous bestsellers, right? Some authors know all the names and details about all the agents they’ve ever queried, or hope to query, and even have them listed in order of ideals or whatever. (Talking about in the author's heads, here, not just a spreadsheet.)

And that’s all good and fine. Except what if that dream agent at the top of their list doesn’t end up being a good match? Agents can look great on websites and Publisher’s Marketplace, but what if your dream agent and you have totally different personalities? Different plans? Different individual ideals that clash?

Signing with an agent is a big deal. An important, big deal. And while it’s only one more step in a writer’s journey, and certainly not the last step.It’ know what? It's kind of like getting married. You want to be really sure you’re making a good decision, that the agent and you are truly a good, lasting, beneficial match. 

So. My dream agent?

1. Loves my manuscript. Seriously loves it.
2. Has good insight about how to improve the manuscript we both love.
3. Enjoys working with me, talking to me, exchanging emails with me, etc. (But not excessively or obsessively.)
4. Gets my voice, my style, my characters, and maybe even my ideas.
5. Has a sense of humor, a good heart, and a realistic view of the publishing world.
6. Is patient enough to be tolerant when I have a breakdown (which I promise won’t happen often, but might happen occasionally).
7. Is also patient when I have an idea that excites me to the point where I just have to discuss it.
8. Wants to sign me and get right to work.

Some people would say that’s a tall order, a long list, a lot to hope for. I know. Just like I know it’s unlikely that I’ll get all that. But you know what? Just like when I was younger and dating—you have to have some kind of standard, some kind of criteria for the guys you go out with. I think it’s the same with agents.

What do you think? Am I hoping for too much? Thinking too hard about it? Messing up my chances just by posting my thoughts on this subject?


Julie said...

I love your list, and I don't think hope is ever really wrong (okay, hoping your obnoxious neighbor trips over her dachshund probably would qualify as bad-karma inducing hope, but you know what I mean).

I think it's good to have in mind what you are looking for. I have dream agents, agents who've shown qualities I admire in our past dealings, agents who are responsive, kind, and understanding about writers. I hope one of these agents falls enough in love with one of my projects to take me and my story on. But if another agent loves my work, then I'm certainly willing to let go of old hopes and look forward to an exciting future in publishing.

Great post!

WindyA said...

when it's the "right" agent, that is definitely NOT too much! I think when you've found the agent who you're supposed to sign with, that's gonna just be the tip of the iceberg :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I think it's perfectly fine to post what you want. It's good to dream and know what you want because a lot of people don't really know what they want, and then they end up getting in a "relationship" that's problematic.

Julie Wright said...

Love your list! I don't think you're hoping for too much. I don't think you're messing up your chances either. I think it's good for them to know what you're looking for in a match. :)

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks for your thoughts, ladies. Tip of the iceberg Windy? Oh yeah, baby. Absolutely. That's the idea.

Michelle, problematic is exactly what I'd like to avoid. But you know, it's not always--well. Realistic.

Julie--Yeah, Karma is important. Just as adjusting your hopes to match a situation. Great point.

And Julie W--Thanks!