Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ask O: How Do I Get an Agent? Part 1

Happy Wednesday, my writing friends,

Today I’m answering a question recently posted by a reader. How do I get an agent?

The question makes it sound like there could be a simple answer. Like, How can I get a glass of lemonade? Well, you just go over there, get a cup, pour it in…

Getting an agent isn’t quite so simple, but I’ll give you some of my thoughts on the subject.

1) The term “get an agent” makes the whole process sound a bit stark and impersonal. “Get” reminds me of getting my oil changed or getting my snack on. But, actually, if we’re going to use the word, it’s more like getting married—two people coming together toward a common purpose.

The writer says to the agent, “I like how you work. Will you believe in me enough to approach editors at publishing houses with my proposals?” The agent says, “I will.” And the author promises to respect the agent’s opinion, not call and e-mail too much, and do her part by creating amazing projects and spiffy proposals.

It’s a relationship , granted it’s a business relationship (don’t expect your agent to be your best friend), but remember it's based on mutual respect and trust. Don't only focus on what the agent can do for you, but how you can contribute to the happy union.

2) Patience. It took me ten years to find someone to represent me. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the years, it’s to be patient with the writing journey God has me on. (Well, I try to be patient.) Honestly, it took that ten years for me to become a good writer. Good enough to get published, good enough to deserve an agent (not that I don’t still have room for improvement!) With each rejection (from an agent or editor), I had to decide either to quit the whole thing (which I thought about sometimes) or hunker down and grow in excellence. Then, when it was God’s timing, a great agent came.

Tune in next week for three more of my observations on "getting an agent."

What thoughts do you have? How did you “get” an agent? I’d love to hear your stories.

And don’t forget to send me your writing questions either in the comments or at

Happy writing and God bless!