I’ve found that writing a novel is sort of like getting serious about a guy. As soon as you tell people, the questions start rolling in.
Where can I buy your book?
What do you mean it isn’t published yet?
Okay, so what exactly does an agent do?
What’s the big deal about having an agent?
It’s basically the literary equivalent of “Has he popped the question?” “Have you set a wedding date?” and “When are you two having kids?”
The thing is, having an agent is a big deal. Not because it’s better than not having an agent or that it somehow legitimizes your work. After all, there are a variety of wonderful paths to publication, many of which are agent-free.
Having an agent is a big whoop because…
(drum roll, please)
…it's important to me.
Sure, there are other reasons, like having a dedicated professional who will put your book in front of great editors, negotiate on your behalf, help you nip and tuck your manuscript, and, most of all, sell your book and its subsequent rights (did anyone say movie adaptation?). Plus the fact that landing an agent is so darn hard to do. (The rejection rate is over 99%. GULP!)
But for me, the biggest appeal of having an agent is knowing that I have someone who believes in my work so much he invests his time (for free, no less) until the book sells. It means having someone who’s there not just for this book or the next book but for the books I’ve never even dreamed of writing yet. It means having a literary companion who will be with me for every step on the journey ahead.
I was thrilled out of my mind to win over Jordan Breindel of Literary Counsel. He got my humor. I got his. We have the same goals and see the path forward. The gods of author-agent matchmaking have smiled upon me, and I couldn’t be happier.
What professional relationships are important to you, and why? Is it a common vision, workplace cheer-leading or being able to rant in the same language? No matter the reason, I’m betting the relationship is a big whoop because it’s important to you. And that’s what truly matters.