I am a bad, bad blogger, or HEY, I’VE BEEN REALLY BUSY

I know, I know – everyone’s busy, I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, but everyone else has been keeping up with their blog so why the eff can’t you, Mike? I KNOW THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. Would it help if I told you I’ve been consumed with querying? That I’ve been strip-mining information from Publisher’s Marketplace, obsessively combing through agency websites, desperately checking and re-checking the agent response times on Verla Kay’s Blueboards, furiously writing a brand-spanking new synopsis, entering Twitter query contests (and WINNING them, I might add), breathlessly reading THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES, putting in some halting hours on the #FrankenSmack manuscript, and shipping out queries to a whole slew of prospective agents? Yes? YES. Lots of book-related activity going on, so you will forgive me for not blogging for 16 weeks or however long it’s been. I promise, o faithful disco ninja minions, I’ll get back in the swing of this blogging/vlogging habit.

In the meantime, find solace in this priceless nugget directly from the emperor’s braincase – I’ve been giving though to the whole “which agent will actually be a good match for weird old Mike” question. It’s an interesting topic, and an easy one to find yourself musing on if you’re like me and you follow a bunch of agents on Twitter and read agenting blogs and all that stuff. There is mucho bueno chitchat about it being a business relationship in which personal dynamics are very important, which makes perfect sense since the personal dynamics are very important in, well, every relationship that exists, am I right?

So, in my usual navel-gazing way I’ve been pondering what kind of agent might be a good match for me. Would it be, for example, a hyper-successful mega-agent with massive sales, high-profile clients and a reputation for being no-nonsense, taking no crap and not suffering fools? Because I hate to say it, but, um, occasionally I do foolish things. But I don’t know if the foolish things I do would trip any particular agent’s wires, you know? I’ve also met a few agents in person who are big presences – people who aren’t afraid of being very vocal and occupying the center of attention. This is very different from who I am, if you must know. I have my moments where I can stand tall in the spotlight, but it’s usually in more structured settings – in the average cocktail party I’m very likely to be the person hiding behind the nearest ficus tree. So having a big-presence kind of agent might result in a rather strong contrast in personal styles. Would that be a problem for me, or for the agent? Don’t know, but I have to imagine that the ability to make one’s presence known quickly and hold of the center of the room is an asset for an agent, since their job is to be, you know, all advocate-like and determined and relentless and so on.

There are also agents who I’ve seen described far and wide as “nice” or “sweet” or something similar. Now, this is a good thing in my mind – I like people who project a noticeable and genuine air of niceness. It’s just one of those things that I react positively to, and I would actually love to work with an agent who makes an effort to practice personal niceness and nicetudiness and niceativity and so on. And I don’t personally buy into the hackneyed old idea that a person who’s visibly pleasant and thoughtful isn’t also capable of being persistent and forceful and constructively confrontational when necessary – people are capable of some depth, you know. But is this a non-negotiable thing for me? Not that it’s something I’d negotiate with anyone other than myself, because negotiating with someone about their personality would be just plain stupid. But if an agent is professional, accomplished (or up-and-coming), knowledgeable, skilled at communicating and a powerful advocate for my work, I’d probably be just fine with them not being some kind of cuddly, human-sized teddy bear.

I guess the thing that I just figured out for myself during the course of writing this post is that dude, I’m just not gonna know until I actually GET an agent. I have some ideas about what would work for me, but hey, I’m not psychic, no matter how many times I’ve said so in order to try and score free stuff. I’m just gonna have to do as much research as I can, get as much of a sense of the various agent’s sensibilities and personalities as I can during the querying process, and hope I receive an offer of representation, with its accompanying opportunity to find out if I was right. So bring it on, agents. I know you all have much more experience than I do in seeing how this stuff plays out (at least in the context of the children’s book industry). But I’ll get there. I’ll get there and IT’LL BE LIKE MAGIC, IT WILL

Man, I just saw that this is 800+ words – sorry about that, but as the saying goes, I don’t have time to write something shorter…

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11 thoughts on “I am a bad, bad blogger, or HEY, I’VE BEEN REALLY BUSY

  1. Welcome back! And keep on keepin’ on with the querying. I have no doubt you’re going to find the right fit, right quick. – Whitney

  2. I missed your blog! I even came by to see if it had been updated, wondering if your post hadn’t been emailed to me for some reason. Good luck querying. I’m waiting for your good news.

    1. Thanks Raynbow. I’m thinking of ways to keep up with this blogging stuff. I may have to involve some of those stuffed ducks my kid has lying all over the house…

  3. I have heard it a gazillion times before–you don’t know who your “dream agent” is until you start working with them. Here’s to sweet dreams for us all in that department…

  4. OOooooh, I’m so glad you are reading Dead Tossed Waves. I loved it. And had freaky zombie nightmares too.

    And I’m so glad that we are sharing the Wonder Twin Power of Querying Pain together, dude.

  5. Everybody has different styles but I agree, nice goes a long way. As long as it’s combined with professionalism and advocacy for clients, which you can usually tell from consistency of sales and from talking to other people. Not that “nice” automatically means “pushover.” I’m sure there are agents who combine “bizarre” with “pushover,” or “angry” with “pushover,” etc.

    Don’t make any decisions till you’ve talked on the phone. And don’t make any decisions during that first phone call. Give yourself a few days to think over it and let yourself come down from the contact high so you can soberly evaluate the content of the conversation.

    1. Thanks Amanda, that seems like very good advice. One thing that I’m realizing as I get deeper into the hunt – rejections are educational, at least if they’re personalized, because they DO give you just a taste of an agent’s personality/communication style. Less detailed and informative than a phone call, of course, but still potentially useful knowledge…

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