It seems almost typical of my life that April Fool’s Day rolls around and it’s my turn to blog! But, I’m not going to pull a prank or tell a foolish story. Instead I will share a few things I’ve learned about literary agents. Cause the fact I have one seems like a joke.
Lesson One: Agents are people too.
You have to believe in your agent as much as you want him to believe in you. I was signed with Credo Communications on the referral from a friend, who just happened to be a New York Times best-selling author. More importantly, my friend took the time to tell his agent about me and that he thought I would be a great author. Upon meeting my agent, David Sanford, I discovered that we shared a love of the written word and a mission to use our faith in our writing in a fresh, new way. Bottom line is that we understood each other as people, not just as writers.
Lesson Two: The earth doesn’t actually stop revolving after you have a contract with a literary agent.
After signing the contract with my literary agent, my kids and husband gave me high-fives and I might have even jumped up and down a little. Then, I spent quite a lot of time staring at a blank white page. There is something hypnotic about a blank page in Microsoft Word. I once fell asleep after staring too long and I dreamed my laptop talked to me. I only woke up because my legs were so hot from the heat of my laptop. I hate to admit that, for a brief moment, I thought a book about a talking laptop might be interesting.
I don’t even want to calculate the minutes I spent working on that first book proposal and all the brilliant ideas that I came up with during the process. But it seemed worth it all because I was convinced I would soon hold a book with MY NAME on the front cover in my hand. Which leads me to lesson three.
Lesson Three: Just because you think you are brilliant, doesn’t mean publishers do.
After the first rejection of my book proposal, I thought for sure the world would actually stop. I even heard a loud noise from outside my house and I knew it was the end of the world. I walked outside to see if the clouds had blackened and awaited earthquakes and worldwide pandemonium. Instead, I opened the door to see a septic tank truck driving by my house. I’m not sure it was the sign I was looking for.
That brilliant book proposal has had so many rejections now that it doesn’t even faze me. But, to be honest, I was about ready to give up the whole process. I even told my agent that it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he dropped me. I told him that I think I lacked ambition and I was blessed to have a great job editing a Southern magazine with a literary heart. Then, out of the blue, I heard that a publisher wanted to know more about one of the ideas that I briefly wrote in that not-so-brilliant first book proposal.
So, believe it or not, today I’m going to start the process of writing the new book proposal. Why not? It's April Fool's Day and I've learned a few foolish lessons in this whole book proposal process. Since I'm not famous, I'm going to have to enter the world of publishing the old fashioned way...through prayer, endurance and, maybe, some intense staring.
Just for fun though, I think that I might work in a talking laptop, or even a septic tank repairman somewhere.
Theresa Shadrix is the managing editor of Longleaf Style magazine. Currently, she is represented by Credo Communications and has more ideas for book proposals than shoes in her closet.