Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The 'Dear John' I Sent to My Agent

I have ended the arrangement with my dear agent. The contract expired months ago, but we hung in there together, despite the fact that she was ill for most of last year and was so far behind with her work.

It was a very hard decision for me. She absolutely loved The Place of Dreams - which title she suggested rather than the original, somewhat cumbersome, Hafan Deg. So I will keep it. It's almost representational of all my writing - for when we write, doesn't it feel like a kind of dreaming?

And I continue to dream about what is possible for all my work, despite the setbacks.

Finding an agent who has fallen in love with your work is a very special thing. I clung to the idea that this was the one, this time we would get somewhere...but it wasn't to be. I didn't want to add more stress to her days with constant emails, didn't want to ask where the manuscript had been. I was so very, very patient, and I truly am not getting any younger.

But on Monday, sending off queries for my other books (which I mentioned I'd started doing in my last post), I suddenly saw how underhanded I was being. It felt a little treacherous, even though I had signed with her for only one book, over eighteen months ago. So I sent off my sad little message, suggesting it was time to find someone new. And it felt just like a 'Dear John' letter - really!

So The Place of Dreams is now out there in the agent-ozone, waiting to be opened, to be read, to get a nice "Interesting!" or "Do-able!" response. Or to join the other books on some kind of digital slush pile.

I'm sort of ok with it now, but I was a bit lost after I fired off that email on Monday. Trooper that she is, a true lady, she was friendly and understanding about my decision. She even agreed that we should remain in touch, shoot the breeze from time to time - my need more than hers, I suspect, as a writer does crave a certain amount of sympathy quite regularly.

And once again I'm back at QueryTracker and Publishers Marketplace, et al, every day, researching, researching, looking for that perfect agent who will fall in love with one of my manuscripts - well, let's be frank - who will fall in love with one of my queries.

Shakespeare wrote "The play's the thing!" as Hamlet tried to "...catch the conscience of the King." But the Query is the most important thing from where I'm sitting, as it tries to catch the eye of an agent. Of course, Shakespeare didn't have to look for an agent - in fact, some say he was the agent for the real playwright of all those works he claimed as his.

Boy, did I get off topic. It's been happening a lot, lately.

This querying business could damage one's mental health. Just saying...


2 comments:

Melissa Marsh said...

Aww. So sorry to hear that it didn't work out with the agent. But I agree - if she hadn't made any headway in 18 months, then perhaps parting was the best for both of you.

I go in spurts with my queries - send off a few, wait a few days, and when I don't get a response, I despair that this is one of those "no response means no" agents.

Well, all one can do is keep at it and keep writing, as well.

Fran said...

I do think we all have to be just a little mad to do this to ourselves, all the same. But it's impossible to give up, much as I'd like to.