You finally landed your “dream” agent. You did the hard work and crafted your manuscript. Created a stellar proposal. Comported yourself with excellence during the phone/Zoom calls. Congratulations. Now you can sit back and let the agent do their magic. All you have to do is start planning for your retirement with all the dough that is going to flow in your direction. Right?
Sorry. Connecting with a literary agent is only the next important step in your journey. To have a long-term career as a writer, you’ll need to continue to build your platform a little more each month. You still need to improve your writing craft in order to communicate your material (fiction or nonfiction). And more.
What you do have with an agent is a crucial business partner. An expert who can help you navigate the labyrinth of the publishing journey. Someone who knows where the speed bumps and potholes are before you hit them. A proverbial shock absorber (!!!).
It is true that you can now have your agent shop your book project to the right publishers. Our agency has worked hard, so when a proposal from one of us is placed in front of the right editor, they will hopefully say, “Oh good! Wonder what they have for me to review today?” Rather than, “Oh no, another big waste of my time.”
But even then, it may not capture any publisher’s attention. It happens, I’m sorry to report. There are times when we send a proposal out to 20 major publishers and editors and get 100% “no thanks” in return.
But all that means is that ONE project didn’t connect … TODAY. There might be another idea that may work better … TOMORROW. Having that agent on your team means your chances for tomorrow are better than they would be without the agent.
To overuse a sports metaphor, your journey is more of an iron-man competition than a 40-yard dash. As such, you’d be wise to have the right coach, trainer, and manager in your circle.