Monday, April 4, 2011

A Perception of Agents and Experience

When it first came to my attention that in order to publish a book, I would need to get a literary agent first, I had one image in my mind: Imagine those "old" cartoons like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh. How the bad guys are always in the shadows, a silhouette? That was my beginning idea of a literary agent. The more research I did, however, they started coming into the light.

I always imagine my agent as a woman. Maybe he or she won't be, but that's how I've always imagined it. Which is why my vision turned into a woman with stern eyes a set jaw, tight lips, and her hair up in a bun while dressed like a lawyer. In short, agents were extremely intimidating. When I started sending queries [that old, dusty, disaster of a query] and got my first rejection they slipped into the shadows again.

Upon more research, I decided to finally look through each and every agent with every query I sent. From then they started to look like their own person—it was a relief. I didn't feel quite as nervewracked each time I sent the letter because I knew a little of what I could expect if they were interested.

Then I found Kelly Mortimer, and her website put the proper perspective of agents into my mind: the one thing that I always thought agents would never have was a sense of humor. I reread her website just for the laughs, not the info. I was disappointed to see that she wasn't taking urban fantasy at the moment—but I couldn't resist! See, I had found my first agent-I-would-pick-if-I-had-an-option. So I sent, told her how surprised I was at the humor in her website, and got a reply.

At this point I was still imagining the woman in the lawyer suit, but they were smiling instead of the grim expression I always pictured. I got rejected by Kelly in the end, but not after getting an entire bucket of information that made [is making] all the difference. After the last few messages I sent Kelly, I finally got to the point that I imagine each agent as someone like me, actually. Professional whenever they should be, but laid back otherwise. Upfront about issues, ready to improve.

The other topic.

Recently I found the blog of another teen author, same age as I am and as far as I know also unpublished. I had a good idea of how close we were, in the writing stage that is. Then I actually looked through some of her works and got a bit of a shock: she's ten times better than I am. I dunno how she's not already published.

Big self-esteem hit, but hey. Maybe she's been writing for longer than I have, or maybe she's been writing for professional purposes for longer. I've only been trying to write professionally for the past three years. Maybe she had access to a better language arts program than me (I wouldn't be surprsied). Whatever the reason—and maybe there's no reason at all—it just gives me a reminder I always have more to learn. If anything, when she replies to a message I sent her (if she does), I can learn from her.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that off my chest. If any of you are curious to go to her blog (I recommend it! She has a lot of cool stuff on there!) here's the webpage:

Oh, and for once, I don't feel like writing. This is... momentous. And strange. :/

Listening to: Beginning of the End (Birth of a God) - Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream
Reading: I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
(Was) Watching: Ghost Whisperer
Quote: "Her desires are mine. Her wishes are mine. Should even the world stand against her, my blade will be at her side. And should it fail to protect her, let my own existence be forfeit. This I swear, on my honor, on my True Name, and my life." - Ash / The Iron Queen / Julie Kagawaa


  1. Aw, I love Madeleine's blog too, she's such a sweetheart (and yes, I'm tres jealous of her writing skills too). Good luck with querying! I remember I used to feel that way with authors too, it's nice to know that they're human, ya know? :)

  2. I love the two of you! Thanks for making me blush. I'd probably match this blog background if you were looking at me right now.

    I love hearing about agent-related experiences! I'm so glad I started tweeting with agents and reading their blogs. Once you get past the intimidation, it's so much easier to feel as though you somehow belong in the publishing world.

    And, Kendra, I know I've said this, but I'm so glad you read my blog and contacted me! You made my day, but I'm also enjoying your blog so much! Do you think you could add a subscription option so that I never have to miss a post? :D

  3. Teehee (:

    I'll add the feedburner option as soon as the website fixes it; apparently it's broken right now.