I prayed about becoming a literary agent.
My friend and agent, Steve Laube, had asked me to consider it. So I told him I’d pray and think on it. Doggone it, I did; and just over three years ago I joined The Steve Laube Agency as not only a client but also an agent.
That’s the last time I prayed about such things.
Oh, okay, I’m only kidding. In truth, that was only the beginning of my praying about (or as) a literary agent. And, while I know I’m not the only literary agent who prays—and not only prayers of lament—I thought I’d talk a bit about how prayer and agenting work together.
I admit I sometimes pray that one or more of my clients will someday make me independently wealthy. Hey, don’t judge me; “ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2, KJV). It’s in the Bible. But that’s only the beginning.
I pray when a submission from a nonclient “floats my boat” and tempts me to picture working with that person. I pray for wisdom and discernment on my part and for the prospective client to reveal to me through the coming exchanges and changes we’ll have whether or not he or she has the mind, heart, and will of a professional.
I pray systematically for each of my clients by name—not all on the same day because there are too many. But I do make a habit of praying for them, their writing, their families, etc., a few at a time.
I pray with each click of the mouse as I send a new proposal to editors on behalf of a client. In some cases, I’ve prayed through the process of preparing, refining, and finalizing the proposal, too; but I always pray a quick prayer (such as “Lord, hear my prayer,” or “Lord, help,” or even just “Lord!”) when clicking send.
I pray (and always invite the client to “pray it forward”) when I hear from an editor that a project is going to be presented to an editorial board or publishing board. That doesn’t always mean an offer will be forthcoming, but I pray for the right offer from the right publisher to result from that (and future) board’s deliberations.
I typically pray when an offer is received—and I begin notifying other publishers that an offer is on the table—that my client and I will navigate the sometimes choppy waters between that moment and a signed contract.
I often pray prayers of praise and thanks when a deal is done and the client, editor, publisher, and agency all rejoice.
In addition to these prayers, I’m frequently burdened in prayer for a client who’s struggling in one way or another. It’s not all about the writing or the publishing; it’s also about the person. So when a client tells me she’s facing surgery, I pray. When another is concerned for a child’s well-being, I pray. When others are downsized, downtrodden, downhearted, I pray. I even sometimes pray “woohoo” prayers with a client who’s finished a tough draft, delivered a completed manuscript, or received an encouraging email.
As I look it over now, that seems like a lot. I must be a really spiritual person. Until I said that, of course. But seriously, it often is a lot. But the praying is a large part of what makes this agent thing a ministry too. And, since God seems to listen and—often—to answer, I’m encouraged to keep doing it. At least until one or more of my clients makes me independently wealthy.