I get a lot comments from readers out there and all of them have been wonderful, so thank you! Many are from writers who have given up on the agent route. My friend Andrew wrote: "I've been bad, Deidre. I hope you won't be too harsh with me, but I've published sans agent or publisher. The book that was turned down by every agent in the world that handles historical fiction has had 6,000 downloads on Amazon in the first two months. I know a great agent can do great things, but making that match is harder than signing up for eharmony.com!"
Six thousand downloads in two months! (I had to have a little lie down after hearing that).
Still there are us die-hards who (until every agent has turned us down too) won't stop searching. On a personal note, I'll just let you know that I completely agree with my friend Andrew: signing with the right agent is more difficult than finding your match with eharmony. Perhaps it's even more difficult. After all, I've had two agents in the past. My first agent fired me for asking too many questions. She said to me "Do you know who I am?" (Of course, I didn't know who she was, so that didn't help the situation). A year later, she sent me a letter (this was years ago during snail-mail mode) saying she forgave me and would now sign me on. I (being a desperate writer) signed on with her and never heard from her again (maybe she's still trying to sell my picture book? Wouldn't that be nice:)
I joined a therapy group for abused writers after this.Not ready to admit defeat, I then read many endearing articles about wonderful, friendly and helpful agents. Slowly, I began the query process again.
Maybe six years later, I received an email from an agent (who I never queried) asking if he could offer my memoir to St. Martin's press (this agent had heard of my "possession" book through a friend and wanted to see if he could help me). Now, I knew the manuscript wasn't ready (I had problems with the second half of the book), but I thought what the heck, I'll sign with this agent and see what happens. Of course, St. Martin's press read the manuscript and said there were issues with the second half of the book and so they passed. My agent--who wasn't in it for the long haul--passed on me too. By the way, I have fixed those nasty issues with the second half of the book.
So my experience with agents hasn't been a dream but it hasn't been altogether horrific. I still believe there is an agent out there who wants to work with me and my words and in the process sell some books. (I could be wrong, though. I may have to stay single).
So FYI I'm going to spend a few days talking about the joys and pitfalls of working (or trying to work) with agents.
This means I'll throw in a few interviews from writers who work with agents and an interview from someone who doesn't (hopefully my friend Andrew will speak with us). If you want to send me a comment, try answering this question: What is your biggest pet peeve with the query process?