This week’s blog posts will be about what I learned from the conference; from the classes I took, from having one-on-one time with my agent, and from meeting with other authors. I'm taking a brief break tomorrow to celebrate the release of Kirby Larson’s new book, THE FRIENDSHIP DOLL. (There’s still time to write a short blurb about your favorite book and enter to win Kirby’s book).
***NOTE: I learned so much that I might extend my conference posts into next week. ***
What to look for in an agent and what it was like to meeting my agent:
I was lucky enough to have a choice of agents to represent me and meeting with Sara in person confirmed to me that I made the right choice.
Here are some of the criteria I was looking for in an agent and how I know I chose the right one.
1. I had to be able to talk to my agent about ANY concern I had. I didn’t want an agent who intimidated me, or who I felt was too busy for me.
From the first conversation with Sara, I felt like she was someone I could talk to, someone I could sit down to dinner or lunch and talk about anything with. That was exactly what I got to do on Thursday night. Over dinner, Sara and I talked about our kids, our husbands, about skiing, and of course, about the business of writing. She answered my questions about marketing myself—among other things, BLOG, at least twice a week, (see Sara, I was listening), and where I needed to go with my next project. I wasn’t afraid to ask her any questions or to send her my messy first draft. She gave me good advice and direction and I value her opinion.
Since I signed with Sara, I’ve felt like I was her only client. I know that most, (if not all), of her other clients feel the same. Sunday night on Twitter a couple of Sara’s other clients were tweeting about what they would do for Sara--rob a bank, smuggle diamonds, etc.--she’s that wonderful. (If you're with the FBI, I'm sure they were just joking.) The week my book sold, another one of Sara’s clients, Miranda Kinneally, also sold her book. I had no idea that Sara was selling two books that week. The whole time I lived on the edge of uncertainty, I felt like I was the most important thing she had to worry about.
As the conference went on, I constantly had people tell me how impressed they were with Sara’s down-to-earth attitude. The people who went to her classes or had a pitch with her, said they felt like she was approachable, because she is. That's a big deal when you're entering a relationship were you're trying to sell something as intimate as your writing.
2. I had to have an agent who was knowledgeable about the business and especially the marketing aspect.
I hate selling myself, HATE IT. I would much rather spend time talking about my favorite author or book, (or my amazing agent), then I would talking about my own book. Not because I’m not absolutely excited about my own story, but because I don’t want to come off as self-centered. Having an agent who not only knows how to market, but is my biggest advocate and adviser in marketing my book is HUGE for me. Sara told me she was a walking billboard for her authors and I saw that was true. I appreciated how much she talked about me and my book at the conference. I appreciated how much time she spent gleaning information from the conference specifically to market my book next year.
When I signed with Sara, I got all of her knowledge about the industry, as well as the knowledge and advocacy that came with an agency like Nelson Literary. In an industry that is CONSTANTLY re-inventing itself, that's something that's vital to consider when choosing and agent.
3. I wanted an agent who would help me sell my work, was informed about what was selling, but at the same time respected my morals and my need to write what was in my heart.
Sara has been by my side in all of these aspects. She’s been willing to say what she thinks will and will not work in my writing. She respects my values. I know if I was asked to do something to my story I wasn’t comfortable with, she would support me.
4. I needed someone who understood that my most important responsibility is to my family.
Sara is a mom, and I know she makes sacrifices for her job, but I feel her commitment to her son and her husband come first. I appreciate that because I know she understands when I have to take a step back and concentrate on my family. As she and I discussed over dinner, we’ll might get many shots at our careers, but we only get one shot with our kids.
I appreciate everything Sara has done for me. I appreciate how accessible she has been to me, through e-mail, phone calls, and especially at the conference. For me, for where I want to go with my writing, I couldn’t have a better agent than Sara Megibow.
Sara, thank you for everything!
(See, I blogged and I even kept it short, (kind of).
What do you think are the most important qualities to look for in a literary agent?