I’ve been around the ol’ sign-a-contract-with-an-agent block a time or two. Okay. Three, to be exact. Needless to say, when it comes to agents, I’m a little gun shy. I knew that the next time I signed, it would either be three strikes I’m out, or third time’s a charm…so what’s my verdict?
I’m going with charming. Barbara Scott of WordServe Literary is my current agent, and I can honestly say she’s an agent extraordinaire.
Before you newbies bust a gasket and freak out over the fact that you have yet to land a single agent, let alone three, let’s back up and walk down the long road together of how I got to this point.
Rewind eleven years. I was sick to death of reading Christian fiction pablum and figured hey, I can write a better story. So I did, kind of. I wrote a story…which wasn’t better. I was too stupid to know that at the time, however. Yes, I was one of those obnoxious rookie authors who sent her manuscript to every publisher and agent I could find. One editor was kind enough to spend a significant amount of time telling me how to make my story better (thank you Jeff Gerke!!!), but I didn’t snag any agents or publishers that go-around.
I took that editor’s 3 pages worth of suggestions to heart, though. I rewrote the whole manuscript, incorporating every one of his ideas. This time when I sent it out, I once again didn’t attract any publishers—but I snagged an agent. He was new to the agenting business, though he’d worked in publishing in other various other aspects. I rewrote that manuscript one more time, and he resent it. And (drum roll please)…nothing. No interest. Plus I lost the interest of my agent. He didn’t exactly fire me, but he didn’t really keep in contact either. I decided we should part ways.
I went on to sell that manuscript—GALLIMORE—to a small, independent publisher.
In the meantime, I worked on craft. Attended conferences. Joined a crit group. Networked like crazy. And my next finished manuscript grabbed the attention of another agent…one with a British accent. What’s not to love about that?!
I sure did love her. She used all her sweet agenting skills to sell UNDERCURRENT. But alas, she decided to go out of the agenting biz before someone scooped up my big beefy Vikings. I ended up selling yet another manuscript on my own to another small, independent publisher.
Along comes finished manuscript number three, which attracted a few agents, but I was a little nervous to sign a contract on the basis of one of my manuscripts alone. I wanted someone who was interested in me as a writer, my whole career, not just a particular story I’d written. I also wanted someone who planned on being in the business for the long haul. Enter Barbara Scott.
One of my crit buddies told me she’d heard Barbara was going to join with WordServe as an agent. Taking my friend’s advice (waving at you, Ane), I queried her right away, as did about 500 other people. She called me about a week later, saying she’d asked God to help her choose the few clients she could manage out of that whopping big pile. My manuscript was one of the blessed that connected with her.
So far that manuscript hasn’t sold. It’s come very close, but no cigar. Who knows? Maybe the whole point of writing that story was just to sign with my agent extraordinaire?
Whatever. That’s my agenting story, and I’m sticking to it.