The Awesomeness of Getting an Agent

Despite having written and published non-fiction books and articles for real money over the years–and having people commission me to write that stuff–I never quite felt like a real writer. Even publishing a short story in an anthology didn’t help much. But now that I finally have an agent, a great one at that, I feel so much more assured as a writer.

As I announced on Twitter a few days ago, I’m now represented by Seth Fishman of The Gernert Company. It still feels new and special to get to say, my agent, and I doubt I’ll get sick of it.

Seth wasn’t the first agent to offer me rep. A lot of writers sign with their first offering agent. I hear there’s a special lure involved, but I never felt it. Of course, I was happy and excited to get that first offer, but for me, even though the agent seemed thoroughly nice, not everything clicked into place. For one, the agency agreement contained too many deal breakers. I could never sign something that would put me at an overwhelming disadvantage, never mind how many others had done so before me. Even if they’d been willing to change anything, there was too much to change.

I can’t stress this enough: getting an agent is about more than just selling your book. Or even selling it at a big publishing house for heaps of money. It’s not enough to think about the now; you’ve got to consider the distant future, with all its various possibilities.

I was lucky, however. If not for that first offer, Seth might never have seen my query. After I sent my notification email, his assistant apologized to me for having missed my original query! So, agent-seeking writers, very unfortunately, these things do happen occasionally. And when your query gets lost at a no-response-means-no agency, you may never find out.

There’s actually a much longer story behind “how I found my agent,” but that will have to wait for another post, another day, sometime down the road.

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