I'm pleased to jump back on social media for a few moments to announce that I've signed on with Mark Gottlieb of the Trident Media Group! Mark is a powerhouse agent from a powerhouse agency, so it's exciting to imagine where my work might end up.
For those interested in such things, here's the Coles Notes version of how it happened: for a couple of weeks, I've been querying Canadian/US/UK agents to represent my latest project (working title: BARREN ARM), an upscale near-dystopian/apocalyptic adventure novel ("near" = where epically bad things happen, but the world hasn't ended). Interest has been great and I've had a number of requests for the full manuscript, but Mark read it in less than twelve hours (!!!) and offered representation right away, which I was over the moon about (Trident consistently sits at the top of a whole bunch of submission and deal categories). After chatting with Mark and touching base with the other agents who had the manuscript—who're all great, too—my decision was clear: Trident does serious business, so if Mark is behind my project, that says a lot about its potential. Onwards!
You may recall that in October 2011 I came back from the Surrey International Writer’s Conference with a bunch of requests for the Aeden's Wake manuscript and ended up signing on with one of the agents I pitched. Well, it is my sad duty to report that we’ve parted ways.
What happened? In short, I think we share the responsibility. She cooled on the project based on my reluctance to make every change she suggested; there were many good ideas, but some of the bigger ones took my work in directions that did not meet my vision. I erroneously assumed that she would approach publishers when I had made the revisions and was happy with the final product, while she planned to go on submission only after all the changes were made and only if she was satisfied with them. I should have asked better questions. Our mutual error was, I think, in not letting go sooner: birds in the hand, perhaps.
So, the new year launches me back into the querying and pitching game. (Yikes.) I know it will be a slog with moments of heartbreak, but I’m not dreading it as much this time. This time around should be easier – at least in terms of the process, if not the success – because I know what to expect, how to pitch, and can focus my efforts even more. Also, with the new novels written and another begun, my regular column work and some freelancing keeping me busy, and starting a creative writing MFA in the fall, I’m also starting to realize how importance patience is to the writing game. Good things are happening: I just need to keep working hard towards my goals.
It’s also exciting to read the experiences of other writers and that the agent-author relationship can be more than about a single manuscript. I realize that this post might scare off agents who are looking to represent a work at a time – and to an extent I get that, we have to start somewhere – but am also hoping that it might excite the ones who would be willing to look at a bright career in the making.
For myself, as I jump into the next round of querying and pitching, here are my thoughts on “Finding an Agent, Part II”:
I hope it doesn't scare anyone off, but I have to be true to my aspirations too. Onwards and upwards!