Somewhere shy of a billion years ago, I met Steve Laube at a writers conference. He and I were both teaching and presenting and meeting with writers. (He was an editor at the time, and I was a big deal.) He liked me; I tolerated him. For the next few years (or more), our friendship continued and deepened; and eventually I asked him to be my literary agent. He agreed. Of course, he did. He’s made tens of dollars off my books since then. And that’s my story of how I got my agent.
But that’s only my experience. So, since I am sometimes asked at conferences and seminars how people manage to accomplish the difficult task of getting an agent to represent them to publishers and make them rich and famous, I asked some of my clients to basically write the rest of this blog post for me. Here are four who agreed:
I had known Steve Laube for several years and always enjoyed talking with him over books or publishing ideas. I tend to be a “Just cut to the chase” gal and don’t need to have a chocolate mint on my pillow to make me feel special. I knew I needed someone I could trust and who had good insight into the industry. When I heard Bob speak at a conference I thought, “This guy totally speaks to my heart and addresses questions I have swirling around in my mind.”
How we approach writing opportunities were similar and encouraging. Upon hearing that Steve had signed him on as an agent I asked Steve, “What do you think about Bob and me working together?” He thought it might be a good fit. Affirmation from someone you respect is always a good sign. When I showed Bob a project I was working on, he saw that I was more than a writer, I was a creative storyteller. He knew who to talk with, and he helped open doors I could have never opened for myself.
(Marci Seither, author of Lakeside Retreat)
I got to know Bob at several writers’ conferences before he became an agent. I learned from his writing and publishing experience as he taught workshops. I listened to his heart for writing and for the Lord as he presented keynotes. I sought his advice as I met with him in one-on-one appointments. I also listened to his jokes, but this wasn’t a deal breaker. I decided that an agent who knew how to laugh would be a blessing in the often-stressful world of publishing. My best advice for finding an agent? Make the time and effort to get to know potential agents at writers conferences.
(Lori Hatcher, author of Refresh Your Prayers, Uncommon Devotions to Restore Power and Praise).
I was teaching Bible study when a woman mentioned her family friend, Bob Hostetler. My ears perked up. I knew who he was. I’d parted ways with my previous literary agent over two years before and had been searching for a new one ever since. Even though I was a published author, finding a new agent. Was. A. Process.
I made the ask, “Would you consider introducing us?” My friend graciously agreed, and I sent Bob a lengthy email explaining who I was, what I was passionate about, what I was looking for in an agent, plus four completed manuscripts. Bob agreed to take me on. It felt like God arranged the entire thing! Because what are the odds? Of any of that happening? Slim. But God directs our paths. And I believe He directed me to Bob.
(Laura L. Smith, www.laurasmithauthor.com)
My path to my agent ran through my critique partner, Lori Hatcher, and through my taking advantage of free and paid appointments with him at writers’ conferences for years. When a publisher told Bob about a book project they were seeking, Lori knew I was already writing that book. She’d been critiquing it. Lori told Bob about my project, and by the end of the week, he became my agent. By the end of the month, I had a book contract offer.
(Jean Wilund, author of the upcoming Embracing Joy: An 8-Week Transformational Bible Study on Habakkuk)
Full disclosure: No one was paid for the above. It wasn’t necessary, of course, because they’re already rich and famous. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.