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…