I’ve been a literary agent now for just over fifteen months. I pretty much know it all at this point.
As Foghorn Leghorn would say, “That’s a joke, son.” If you don’t know who Foghorn Leghorn is, you’re too young for us to be friends.
But seriously, folks, I’ve learned a lot since becoming an agent; and number one on the list is how much I have yet to learn. Insanely much.
As I’m often asked by friends and others, “How do you like being an agent?” I thought I’d use this space to answer, by way of listing the best parts of being an agent. In next week’s post, I’ll enumerate the worst parts (bet you can’t wait, huh?). So here they are, the best parts of being an agent, from my perspective, at least:
- I get to “hang out” with writers.
Writers are cool. I know in high school, most of us were the nerds, but post-high school, being a writer becomes a lot cooler. And I get to hang out with those people, most of whom are like me.
- I get to “hang around” with great agents.
My boss, Steve Laube, has been my agent for fifteen years or so. He was a friend before that (still is, I should be sure to mention). And the other agents in this agency are the finest kind people to work with, talk to, laugh with, and learn from. I finally get to sit at the cool kids’ table.
- I get to work with editors.
I often tell people that publishing—and Christian publishing, in particular—is about relationships. And I’ve enjoyed knowing and working with many of the best editors in Christian publishing over the years as an author. I get to talk, email, and meet with them on a far more regular basis now that I’m an agent. Life is pretty great when you love and respect the people you work with, day in and day out.
- People assume I know stuff.
I’ve presented at writers conferences since the late 1980s (before you were born, right?)—first as a magazine editor, then as an author. But when I became an agent, suddenly people started listening a lot more closely to what I had to say. It’s as if I’ve been sprinkled with magical agent dust.
- I get to see—and sometimes shape—a lot of great ideas.
One of the many reasons I love good bookstores is the thrill of seeing so many stimulating ideas, well presented (and sometimes well written). As an agent working with scores of writers, I get to do that on a daily basis. Not every idea is a good one, and I don’t always get to brainstorm with authors on titles, twists, and techniques; but it’s one of the most fun things I do.
- I get to bask in others’ reflected glory.
Confession time: As an author, I get jealous of other writers. All the time. But when a client of mine signs a new book deal, has a new book release, or appears on Fixer Upper (I can still hope, can’t I?), it’s a joy. I can still be insanely jealous of other writers, while rejoicing for and with those who are my clients. It’s the best of both worlds, really.
So, yeah, I’m enjoying being an agent. Not everything about it is hunky dory, let alone peachy keen (and I’ll post about those bits next week). But most of it is.