Some people wonder how authors came by their agents and I thought I’d give my very short story here.
I had finished Path of Fate and developed my submission package. I started submitting out query letters to agents and publishers at the same time. That was in August. I actually got a rejection from my agent. She was one of the ones on the top of my list, though, and I wasn’t giving up easily. Then I had my manuscript accepted by Roc Books. But I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to negotiate a contract myself. At that point I had another agent who’d offered to represent me, but I still was hoping to get Lucienne. I had done a lot of research on her and I knew she was an excellent agent. She was absolutely my top choice.
I contacted her and let her know that I had an offer in hand. She said she’d look at my manuscript and get back to me quickly. Now this was important. I had an offer in hand, but that wasn’t going to make her take me on. She still had to really look at my work and see if she could get excited about my work. She’d rejected me before based on my letter, but I was hoping that actually reading my stuff would make a difference. It did. She offered me representation.
By that point, I’d made a list of questions and had interviewed the other agent (I let both know I was talking to someone else). I put the questions to Lucienne and I liked her answers. The thing is, an agent doesn’t just negotiate contracts or submit manuscripts for you–although both are incredibly key and you want to know that your agent knows what she doing on both fronts. But there’s a lot more to it.
I wanted someone who would give me editorial feedback as well–not all agents give it and not all authors want it. I wanted someone with ties and contacts to a lot of editors and who really knew the industry and kept up with the changes and developments. I wanted someone who was energetic and who really believed in my work. I wanted someone who could be genuinely enthusiastic about my writing and who would work to promote me. I also needed someone who could talk me off the ledge if things weren’t going well in the books. I needed someone who I could talk honestly to and who would respond honestly. This is an odd relationship, one that is both a business relationship and a friendship. But you can’t worry about hurt feelings when you’re talking business and you need to know your agent can separate the two. And you have to be able to do the same. You have to be able to ask tough questions, voice trepidations, and be very honest with your agent at all times. And she has to be able to do the same.
A writer’s career can be very much like a roller coaster with ups and downs and it’s easy as a writer to get panicked. Agents are in it with you and they tend to stay sane when you totally lose it. A good agent is worth her weight in gold.
After interviewing both agents, I knew more than ever that Lucienne was the one for me. The years have proven me right. If you want to know more about Lucienne, go to her website.