It’s not news how much I want an agent. I’ve wanted one for years, but maybe it’s only lately that I’ve begun to think my writing will actually snag me one. My friends accuse me (lovingly) of romanticizing the idea of having an agent. They’re not magical creatures who will suddenly make me rich and famous. I realize that. I don’t even think I want one for the sake of being “rich and famous.” Sure, that’d be nice, maybe, but my goals in having an agent have a lot less to do with fame and a lot more to do with personal growth.
I’m a member of a couple of writing groups. I get a lot of feedback, a lot of it complimentary. Does that go to my head? Not really. I’m a writer, so I suffer from crippling self-doubt on a daily basis. It’s awesome that people like my work, it makes me feel good, but feeling good isn’t getting me an agent. Feeling good isn’t making me a better, more rounded writer.
My intense desire to be repped stems from my own personal drive. I’m an over-achiever, eager-beaver, always-have-too-much-on-my-plate kind of girl. Sure, I’m a good writer. People tell me all the time I can string two sentences together, but I’m not a great writer, and I want to be GREAT. I want someone to tear into my writing and comment on things like plot and character arcs and theme. I want someone to get down and dirty about word choice and blocking and structure…and…oh gosh. It’s like a writer’s dream to talk long and low about words, like two friends whispering in the dark. I want these things so badly. Because I want to be great. Because I can’t settle for good.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t you just get an editor? These words and phrases you’re talking about sounds like editor business. You are correct. It IS about having an editor, too. But do I have $800-$2,000 laying around to pay someone to edit EVERY manuscript I’ve written? Sadly, the answer is no. I can’t afford to pay someone to get down and dirty with my work, no matter how much I want it. Wishes don’t pay the bills.
So my logical course of action in all this is to get an agent. And I’m trying SO HARD to make it work. I’m eyebrows-deep in manuscripts and edits and rewrites. I know that I’m working towards a goal, yet most days it feels like I’m spinning my wheels and watching everyone else pass me at light-speed. It makes me wish I were younger, or that I lived in California or New York, or that I was rich kid with a trust fund to support my writing habit.
I want an agent NOT because I hate being an indie writer. Indie writing is fun. I’ve gotten quite the following this way, and I love each and every one of you for having faith in me and my work. I want an agent so that I can learn how to be a better writer, so that I can plot a course for my future work, so I can have someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who will champion my work as much as I do.
I need a partner in crime, someone invested, someone who will love my characters and give me the harsh criticism. I want to put in the hard work, the hours, the pain and frustration.
Because I want to be great. I want to learn. I want to progress. I want to be the very best writer I can. And really? What’s so wrong with that?
3 thoughts on “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT MAKING IT BIG”
Living in NY won’t influence a thing. All that matters is your writing. : ) I had the same desire, you know, to get an agent. It was a validation of sorts, but then I realized my readers gave me all the validation I needed. Besides, I could publish my own work without an agent. So it kindda lost the point.
Not saying I’ll never have one, but I don’t need one. Not right now at least.
I’ve considered the validation angle, and I suppose having one would give me some sort of satisfaction or feeling of “making it,” but I really think it’s more about growth for me. I’m exhausting the resources close to me and need to explore other options. As a coach, I know that practicing the same way will not help me improve, I must practice better and differently if I want to see results. It’s the same for writing, I cannot grow if I can’t see what I’m doing poorly. It’s not enough to continue on at the same level, even if it’s rewarding. I want to, and can be, better.
I would argue that agents are not Mr. Myiagi. You can always improve yourself by seeking help from other authors. It’s a powerful community out there. Agents are our employees, technically, because we pay them. In that sense they do want us to succeed and will help us, but you’re probably gonna have to do 80% of all the work.