Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gratitude post #3: mad scientists

Today I am grateful for agents (well, every day I'm grateful for agents, especially mine, but today I'm writing about it). I can hear you now: "but your post said mad scientists!?!" I use the label with the utmost, utmost respect, and I'd bet, once you think about it, the label will seem appropriate. Plus, it was just Halloween, so "mad scientists" is more fun than "agents".

But consider this scenario: once you've matched yourselves up, you come to your brand-new agent with a book, one you think is finished. And the agent says, "Wait! I have an idea!" And then s/he helps you slice and rearrange and chop and sew and come up with a brand-new creation. And you say, "Wow! Much better!" And then your agent takes your new monster out to make friends with editors. At least that's how it's been for me. I could never have imagined the shape or scope of my current book without my agent's mad scientist genius.

Maybe your agent is not a let-me-help-you-invent-a-new-creature type of agent. However, I bet your agent is out there working the phones and electrons, trying to get you a book deal. There's some mad science to a book deal, isn't there?

Along with being grateful to my own agent, whom I love, and to two more kind and generous people who've helped us out recently, I'm grateful to agents as a whole. Every agent I've encountered, in person or on the web, has taught me something. There are some fantastic agent blogs out there, and sometimes whole agencies, like Dystel and Goderich, blog together. Agents contribute a heap of help to the online writing world. We are lucky people.

I also know there are people with bad agent stories out there. But I've found those stories fewer and farther between than the stories about kind, generous, and helpful agents. I even crashed one agent's computer--and he still read my sample pages. Totally above and beyond, ladies and gentlemen! It's a hard job, and they do it well.

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