I am blessed to have a family that supports my writing. My husband says when you write a best seller instead of if. On his days off he takes our son to the grocery store so I can edit another chapter. My parents let me monologue at them about some new and exciting story idea. Every holiday at least one cousin or aunt or uncle asks how it’s going. I don’t always know what level of update to give, so I ramble awkwardly about drafting and querying and publishing processes.
To these kind and patient souls, I have good news.
Really awesome news, actually.
I’m now represented by literary agent Danielle Smith from Lupine Grove Creative!
I told a few people that I now have a literary agent, and one joked “so she takes 50%, right?” while a few smiled brightly and said congratulations without knowing what the an agent was for exactly. I’ll happily take the jokes and the smiles. Thank you. This writer’s ego thanks you too. In case you’re wondering, no I won’t have a book in bookstores next month. Publishing is a lumbering beast and it takes years to get a book on the market. (But seriously, it’s not 50%. Golly gee nope nope.)
For some context, here’s a basic breakdown:
- Write a book
- Edit the book X times
- Research your market
- Query agents
- Start a second book
- Sign with an agent
- Market yourself
- Finish your second book
- Agent sells your book
This list doesn’t even cover half of it and the order of events/level of success depends on many factors, but it’s a start. As you can see, the agent is very important to the process. She is the one who bridges the gap between writer and publisher. Literary agents are middlemen. Middlewomen. Middlepeople? THEY ARE MIDDLERS.
These middlers help get manuscripts ready to pitch, send the pitch to acquisitions editors, manage contract negotiations, etc. Since agents aren’t paid until the writer is paid, the relationship is symbiotic. Both parties are motivated to work hard and produce results. It’s pretty awesome. To say the least.
Step 4, querying, is the standard way of getting an agent. Writers work for years to get ready to query, without even knowing if they’ll succeed. They steel themselves for rejection after rejection, hoping for the one magical acceptance that will jumpstart their career. I’ve been preparing for step 4 for a long time, so last week I was shocked to hear that I could skip it entirely. I want to believe that it’s the culmination of hard work, but it was the grace of God and the support of Shelley Couvillion, as well as Danielle’s decision to take a risk on me.
Explaining circumstances requires explaining the specific project that Danielle will represent, and I’m not sure what’s public info vs. what’s hush for now info, so I’ll sit on that for a bit. Friends/Fam can talk to me in person if they’re desperately curious.
Even though it’s a huge step forward, I have a funny sense of limbo. I’ve still got to sit down and outline and write and brainstorm and research and receive rejections, which are a constant in the writing life. Publishing isn’t one mountain to climb; it’s a whole range of mountains. You celebrate reaching each summit, you look to the hard work ahead, and you enjoy where you’re at in the process.