When I started my writing journey, I really, really, really wanted an agent. It just seemed to me that it was the right route to go. I mean, wasn’t that what every author did?
There are authors who get published and have good careers without agents. Still, my question remained – was this the exception or the norm?
Well, I (my husband really) started querying my first manuscript to publishers and agents. And I had a publisher interested. So, here we go, without an agent.
I had a wonderful experience with Clean Reads (the publishing company I went with). And I continue to.
Now that I am going to be published, I joined a local writers group and found out the benefit of writers conferences. Well, I’ve got to do that!
First conference, I pitched to an agent. He was very interested in work in progress. So I sent him what he requested. He sent back that my writing was “too tight”. How does that happen? To this day, no one can explain that one to me. The best I have gotten is that my writing tends to be “concise”, but not in a bad way.
Second conference, the agent I pitched to, was likewise intrigued, requested manuscripts and whatnot, but never got back to me. Curious. But it happens.
I continue to pitch, to very interested agents. Every single one requesting more materials from me, some I’d get feedback from, some I would not.
At this point, I am starting to wonder “do I even need an agent?” I have, by now, published 7 books – some with Clean Reads, some self-published. I am enjoying what I am doing, not exactly rolling in the big bucks, but I am writing and people are reading my books.
Fast forward to this past summer. I met with an agent at a conference I was facilitating at. I sat with him, not to pitch, but to ask this question: what can an agent do for me at this point in my career?
We talked for a while, he talked about career planning and marketing – working smarter, not harder. He did mention that I was doing a lot of things well, just probably not in the right order, that an agent could help me with these things. Then he said that he would like to work with me. (Color me surprised…I hadn’t even pitched, just shown him copies of my published works.) He gave me his card, told me to send him my sales numbers and platform numbers and said we would talk the next month.
After some back and forth with the numbers, and a formal proposal, I was offered a contract!
The moral of the story?
Don’t stop believin’
If you dream of being an author and you have one path in mind, you might should be more flexible. There may only be one Oz, but there are many ways to get there. The yellow brick road is just the most popular.
For certain, you need to have a website, and e-mail list, social media…
You need to go to conferences…
…when you even have the thought to write a book.