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Madeleine + Agent = Forever

July 21, 2010

(I am aware that the picture is so enormous it could eat your computer.)

It’s time I admitted something: I have a dream agent. I’ve fallen under the spell that we unagented authors are so susceptible to.

I made it months before it hit me. Before all I could think about when I thought of querying was that I had to get that agent! We make jokes about writing their name on our notebooks or imagining the call when they, inevitably, call to offer representation.

You guys, we are such suckers.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s part of human nature. However, this dream agent spell we find ourselves under has to be dealt with. There are particular things we need to keep in mind when preparing to/dreaming about/actually querying.

  1. Whoever we end up with, whether they’re our dream agent or not, needs to be as compatible as possible. You don’t need to have all the same views (actually, you don’t want that to happen. It means little growth for either of you or your book), you don’t need to laugh at all of the same jokes, but it’s imperative that you can get along, respect each other, and you have faith that your agent truly loves your book and will fight for it. The agent/writer relationship requires meeting each other halfway, because everything you do or don’t do affects the other directly.
  2. You might get a single offer of representation, in which case, which is more important: Waiting for your dream agent to change his/her mind (which, sorry to burst your bubble, is unlikely) or for them to love your next project, or going with the offer from the agent that seems to love your book?
  3. Even your dream agent might be a bad fit. Talking to them online or reading about them is an entirely different thing than working with them. As I said, the agent/writer relationship is one that will hugely affect your experience as an author. You can never know until you talk to someone over the phone or really go into detail about your views for the book, and even then things can be iffy.
  4. If need be, you can stop working with an agent later. Now, if you’re leaving an agent who has worked hard and diligently for you simply because your dream agent is now giving you the light of day, you might need to use a napkin and write down the pros and cons… because it seems like your priorities are a bit skewed. You can read this post about leaving your agent.
  5. It’s always ideal for you to really like your agent as a person. Maybe you guys do laugh at all the same jokes. In my opinion, though, the main priorities are: 1) They love your work, 2) They give strong, solid advice and you take it to heart and try to look at your book from their perspective, 3) You can work together, 4) You like them and they like you enough to be coworkers. Not bosom friends or siblings separated at birth

In the end, if you end up with someone who’s absolutely fantastic in every way – kind, funny, great person, loves your book, tries as hard as possible to negotiate well on your behalf, works hard to make your books the best they can be, keeps you as updated as they can, etc – great. You realize, though, that the last four are more important. Look at things objectively, too.

And, guess what? Your real agent might just end up being better than your dream one.

It’s okay to have a dream agent. I’m going to try hard to win over my dream agent, but my agent’s going to be the person who loves my book most because, if they love your book, they will respect you (or should, anyway).

So, even when your daydreaming about your future BAFF (Best Agent Friend Forever), take a moment to keep your head on straight. And grab a napkin – ’cause you’re drooling.

P.S. I know I didn’t cover half of it, but The Lemonites calls! Must. Write.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2010 11:27 AM

    Shhh… I have an agent in mind that I really like, too. 😉

  2. July 21, 2010 9:03 PM

    Is your dream agent Diana Fox, or is the picture just coincidence? I know Diana a little; she’s FAB.

  3. July 21, 2010 1:00 PM

    VERY true and wonderfully written, Madeleine! 🙂

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