Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Agent Crush & Why You Should Play the Field

When I married Scott, I thought my days of crushes were over---well, not the celebrity crushes because we’re allowed to keep five of those, right? But on my writer’s journey I’ve discovered a new type of crush that brings back high school insecurities and squeezes my heart in an equally intense way. The Agent Crush. It’s inevitable that as we’re researching to find the best agent for our book someone wonderful will make our hearts cry “If only.” We’re checking websites and blogs and interviews. We’re watching Querytracker to see how they respond to other writers. And then there’s Twitter—a social network that helps us hang on their every word. *sigh*

For me, one of the toughest things about starting the querying process was querying the second agent. You see, I’m a loyal gal. When I commit to someone, I quit looking for other options. But here’s the thing: Until an agent has committed to you, it’s wise to “play the field.” Here’s why:

1.      Self-Preservation. You’re not going to give up if your top choice rejects you. There are other agents in the literary sea, and it will be balm to your soul to have seen that for yourself if a rejection letter pops up in your inbox.

2.      Choices. One of the advantages in sending out simultaneous submissions (querying more than one agency at the same time with the same manuscript) is the possibility of having more than one offer of representation. Talking to the agents will give you a feel for their level of enthusiasm for your manuscript. The fabulous agent to your favorite author may feel a little “Meh” about your writing and may not make selling it as much of a priority. A newer agent may be bursting at the seams to unleash your masterpiece.

3.      Finding an agent (for most writers) is a slow process. Sometimes it will be months before you hear back from someone. Sometimes you won’t hear back at all. You owe it to your manuscript…you owe it to the kid waiting to read your book to get your work in the hands of more than one possibility.

So go ahead, doodle your favorite agent’s name in gel pen on your hot pink Post-it notes. There’s no judgment here. But keep your options open. There may be an agent of awesome waiting in the wings.
How do you handle agent crushes? Comment below to share.