An Open Letter to my Future Agent - Revisited


I penned this letter and posted it here June of 2011, and I thought it appropriate to re-post it now.  It's scary how much of it turned out to be true.

This is dedicated to Sarah...my new Agent!



Dear Mr. or Ms. Agent,

I can't address you by your proper name yet because we haven't officially met, but I know you're out there somewhere.  I'm as sure of this as I am of a setting sun in the west or the beauty of a newborn child.  When we do meet I'll probably read you this hokey letter and we'll laugh about it, then you'll point out my grammatical errors and chastise me for the weak paragraph structure.  I'll be so juiced that I'll just nod my head incessantly like one of those bobble-head toys, unable to wipe the stupid smile from my face.

We haven't connected yet because I'm still finding my way through this maze of a process designed to bring us together.  I've been spending hours upon hours scouring the database of QueryTracker and AgentQuery, or turning the pages of my well-worn Writers Market, searching for your agency's name and jotting down submission guidelines.  My query letter has been tweaked more times than Joan Rivers and the version number on my synopsis is approaching triple digits.  Whoever thought that the same skill set that served us so well while writing our manuscript should prove useful in boiling 300+ pages down into a couple of paragraphs, is frankly confused.  I feel like a college student who's been studying algebra all year long and the first question on the final exam has to do with organic chemistry.  But I'll continue to plod away, confident that I'll finally find the right collection of thoughts to jell into a coherent letter and then wait for that special day when the planets align and you click on my e-mail.  It's then that you'll first feel a tug of interest as you read about my story, and just as you're about to habitually reply with a standard form rejection, you'll pause.  Unable to put a finger on why, you'll feel compelled to read my first chapter a second time and your interest will deepen into genuine curiosity.  You'll need to read more.  The requested partial will only further stoke your interest and as soon as you ask for the full manuscript, that's when I'll have you.

After finishing my novel you'll realize you've discovered a slightly flawed project with a HUGE amount of potential.  The commercial possibilities and ways to promote it will be endless, after all, every one of my friends tell me they would pay money for my book.  Have you stopped laughing yet?  More importantly, they'd pay more money for the next one.   You see, a vote of confidence in this book is actually a future sale of two (or more).

But I understand you're not going to be 100% sold just yet because although the material is a large part of a successful partnership, the synergy has to be there as well.  That will lead to the phone call where you'll size me up and gauge our rapport.  You'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that I'm slightly older than most of the other aspiring authors you've been interacting with and confess to being willing to exchange youthful exuberance for mature ebullience.  I'll brag about the modest following my blog has accumulated and might even mention that Rachelle Gardener tweeted about it once. Then I'll warn you about my introversion and oftentimes debilitating shyness, but quickly counter by pointing out I never have a problem discussing topics near and dear to my heart...such as my writing.  That's when the conversation will drift back and forth between my book, the vision of where I see my future as a writer heading, and your ideology as an agent.  Our chat will last for almost an hour, but we'll both have made up our minds in the first five minutes.

I SOOOO look forward to spending hour after hour on the phone with you discussing the book, listening to your suggestions and agreeing to changes we both find necessary to lift it to where it must be.  I can't wait to see that final version the two of us will craft together and send out to publishers so they can experience what we both believe it possesses. Wings!

So, I know you're weary and that slushpile of query letters is more backed up than a three-hundred pound man following a twelve hour trans-Atlantic flight, but I need you to stay on top of your game.  I can't afford for you to wake up on the wrong side of the bed the very day my email jumps to the top of your queue.  I'm counting on the fact that you'll look past the fact that I put the genre and word count in the first paragraph (or the last) and concentrate less on the technical appropriateness of my query and focus on the heart of the story.  That's where you'll find me.

I'll be right here...waiting...patiently.

Sincerely,
DL

PS.  I hope you'll notice that this post, like my blog, like my query letter, strives for subtlety by saying something about me...without saying much about me.  That is to say that despite my tongue being planted firmly in cheek, my eye is on the target.  If your unable to see that, then maybe you're not my agent after all.

54 comments

  1. Wow -- I remember this, and it's very cool to read it now. So much of it's true is because you've had a strong, committed vision and a tireless relentlessness.

    But you wanna know the REAL reason it turned to to be true? It's right there staring you in the face in each finely-crafted line of this 2011 post: in the subtle infusion of humor; in the honest, heart-felt emotion; in the way your thoughts flow together; in the way you can introduce a point and build on it; in the way you can CONNECT strongly with your reader, pulling them in, and rewarding them with a happy, "I'm glad I read that!" feeling.

    You write well.

    That's it. Persistence and vision and dedication are hugely valuable, but I can can have a vision of playing in the NFL, and be 100% dedicated and endlessly persistent about that vision, but it still ain't gonna happen. No how, no way, no chance. I ain't go the football skills needed, and no amount of practice is going to overcome it.

    You got an agent because you write well and people like reading what you write. OK -- persistence and vision and dedication and luck are still required, but you ain't got the writing chops, you ain't getting an agent.

    You got the chops.

    Congratulations once again, my friend!

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    Replies
    1. This means a lot Chris! Thank you!! :)

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  2. You did your homework and put forth the effort. All those hours have now paid off.
    Bet it was wild to go back and read this now.

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  3. So long ago it seems yet still relevant. That's kind of the way it should be though.

    Congratulations on finding Sarah! (or her finding you)

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  4. Ooh! Love this! And huge congratulations on your new agent!!

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  5. I remember this letter! Congrats again on landing your new agent!!! Way to go!

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    Replies
    1. It warms my heart to see so many people who remember this letter! :)

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  6. Hard work and perserverance pays off :)

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  7. This is a great letter to a future agent. Maybe I should write one. If I do, I may finally get that agent. ;)

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  8. I love this. It's great to see how far we've come but yet how close we still are to our past writer selves. I wish you and Sarah a long and successful career together.

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    Replies
    1. I'll try and follow in your footsteps Kelly! :)

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  9. Love it! I remember reading this the 1st time around too. So glad your dreams and plans have coalesced for you!! :)

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    Replies
    1. I knew you'd be another one who would remember. :)

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  10. I love this! What a perfect way to read back and realize you truly have found the perfect agent. :)

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    Replies
    1. There was so much between the writing of that letter and when it finally happened. It's almost comical! :)

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  11. Congratulations! Perseverance wins again. :)

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  12. That's so wonderful you have this letter to look back on, especially now.

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  13. My time has become so limit4ed that I don't get out much anymore, but I do read various blogs late at night when I can't sleep (on my phone, of course). When I noticed over at the blog of AJC that you had landed an agent, I just couldn't help but stop by and offer my congrats.

    This letter posed an interesting perspective. Glad you are one stop closer to your goal.

    Still one of the good guys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to see you again. Thank you! :)

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  14. It's good one and interesting to read, Hammons :)

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  15. There's nothing like that feeling that someone believes in you. Agents mean more than anyone else on your writing journey (aside from your family!) because they not only like your work, but they believe in it enough to become your cheerleader and convince others it's great. That means everything!!!

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    Replies
    1. And their investing their time and effort in you and your work with hopes of a financial gain. That's BIG! :)

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  16. As they say in baseball: Well played, Hammons, well played :)

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  17. Replies
    1. You don't have time to be happy for me...don't you have a baby to deliver? :)

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  18. I remember this, too. Congrats, again! Ride this high for as long as you can. And may the next high not be that far away! :)

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  19. I remember this from way back when… I knew then you'd land an agent in time. Good to see you've proved me right! Congratulations! You SO deserve it.

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    Replies
    1. Did you also predict I'd have a published book as well? :)

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  20. What a great letter and now look! WOW! Congratulations!

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  21. Thank you...thank you...thank you! :)

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  22. If you write it, they will come! Congratulations, DL.

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    Replies
    1. I think that's what I was thinking when I DID write it. :)

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  23. You give me hope. Thank you. And, again, congratulations.

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    Replies
    1. And there's no reason why you shouldn't have a trunk-full of it! :)

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  24. It was just a matter of time... and a lot of hard work. Great read and huge congrats!

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  25. Too fun to look back on that four-year-old letter. What a lot has happened to you since then! You've grown so much. Congrats on this latest success. There are many yet to come. I know it too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like a good wine...I had to mature before the time was right. :)

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