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.
Pray “Lord!” when clicking [send]. The world would be a better place, Bob, if we all did that, all the time. I wonder how often God would respond, “DON’T TOUCH THAT BUTTON!’
DAMON J GRAY
Bob, I’ve long known you to be a man of prayer, but I’ve never told you that your prayer life inspires me. It is something with which I have struggled for so long.
Thank you for your transparency.
Amen. I’m a Christian proofreader and I pray for the authors I work for too. Some of their testimonies are heartbreaking and I feel so moved to pray for them and their families and ministries. Amen.
It’s encouraging to hear how you pray over every step of your job. Thanks for sharing!
Steve needed a replacement,
Karen Ball had gone away;
not knowing now the Lord’s intent,
he bowed his head to pray:
“First, new guy must be faithful
to the Father and the Son;
his manner must be graceful,
with a heart that’s full of fun.
He should be considered friend
by blogger dudes and clients
whose writing might one day portend
their place among the giants.”
Well, ol’ God was on the job,
for who was it did turn up, but Bob!
Andrew you always know how to creatively summarize ?. It’s been a pleasure to meet Bob in person; sit under his teaching and to listen to him as an inspiring keynote speaker.
Daphne, thank you so much…and I really wish I could meet him myself!
What a blessing to your clients. I wouldn’t want to sign with an agent who didn’t pray about every step of the process, and for me. Prayer is the foundation for every part of God’s work and I believe He blesses and responds to those faithful prayers. Keep it up!
Bob, it’s a comfort to know you–and other agents–pray over your work. That makes our part as writers, a whole lot easier, because we’re praying too.
This made me smile, tear up, and laugh. Thank you for giving a glimpse of the “agent life” … or at least an agent who prays! It’s a blessing to know this kind of ministry is part of your heart as an agent. I look forward to “meeting” you someday whether in person or virtually. God bless.
It’s nice to know that an agent prays for his clients, for their families, and for their projects.
I often pray over my writing and always before submissions and speaking engagements. I pray before writers’ conferences and such for God to connect me to the people that can help me strategically to move to the next level. But I also pray that God would use me to inspire and encourage others in their writing journey.
Beautiful, indeed. And may I say one hears the heart of a pastor, as well.
Interesting mixture of tongue in cheek and seriousness. It’s good for authors to see that side. Like you probably know from personal experience, we pray too. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed that God would use one of my books to make me wealthy. I do know that I’ve prayed for my writing to be used to His glory. I suppose if I had to choose between the two, I’d opt for the latter. But if God decided to give me both, I’d be okay with that too. But to get the wealth without God getting anything out of it? I’m NOT okay with that.
Amazing! I had no idea you prayed for clients and their writing and even them personally. Encourages me to pray more. Thank you!
Molly Jo Realy
You are gifted with encouragement to share, and a wonderful example to all.
Thank you Bob,
I love your heart and spirit as you minister to the writing community.
I’ve printed out your prayer for an author, and keep it close–in my stack of important papers. It surfaces frequently as I look through my piles, and always encourages me.
Your words at Blue Ridge at my first writer’s conference continue to echo in and through me: “God has put a story in me that no one else can write.”
So thank you, and please, keep doing what you’re doing. The ripples continue to spread.
Carol R Nicolet Loewen
I love this, Bob. Your heart to pray for your authors, editors and publishers is so encouraging. I appreciate that you pray, not only for the wealth a great client may bring you, but for the surgery another is facing, the struggles with raising children, and other very personal issues. God bless your work, your critical eye, your investment in authors. Maybe I’ll be one of those one of these days!
Beautiful. Thank you.
Marlene W Anderson
What a wonderful thing to share. As writers we know we are working with Christians who are agents, etc. But this is a personal story with great depth and inspiration. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you. Beautifully written. A wonderful reminder that we are all connected through Christ and we are all in this together.
Very moving, Bob. I’ll definitely send you my query once I finish self-editing my manuscript., and pray for the best!
Bob, if you’re up this freq, a personal request…
I know you are a faithful man
and that you have God’s ear,
so if you would and if you can,
please pray me out of here.
I have fought with all my might,
but all’s now out of hand;
against the darkling fall of night
the blood pools in the sand.
My heart, it quails to face
the now, let alone tomorrow,
and I need courage mixed with grace,
a wall against the sorrow.
I ask for all faith you can give;
please, my friend – I want to live!
Yes, Andrew, I agree with you in prayer, saying, Lord have mercy. Show yourself. Come in power, in healing, in wholeness, to Andrew and grant the desires of his heart, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Agreeing with you, too, Andrew. You’re posts are giving me the courage to fight. Thank you.
OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU
A big AMEN to your prayers, Bob. From your mouth straight to God’s ears!!
My prayer for the past six days as a client to this agency is for the receipt of my submission to be acknowledged and hooked by the praying hands of the agent who would eventually send that encouraging and positive email. And if not, with a feedback that will help me relaunch my bait!
Thank you Bob. We are praying for you all too.
God bless you all.
Praying with you Olusola.
Enjoy reading your blog about prayer, and it is most encouraging. I have written five books with major publishing houses. My next book shall be inspirational/self-help submission, hopefully with a Christian agent, publisher, and publicity agent. Prayer certainly is the key to my success. “In His Image” (title), Living a Life of Meaning and Purpose (subtitle) for Teenage boys between 12 – 17 years, a first of its kind for boys of color. Recently, purchased your Christian Writers Market Guide, 2020 which has been so helpful.