May 10, 2011
After The Call: Lessons Learned From One Year Later, Part II
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the lessons I've learned during my first year as an agented writer. Since I tend to be kind of rambly, I thought I'd follow up with another list. And so, I bring you PART II!
1.) On one hand, life does get a bit easier once you find an agent. More than anything, there's a huge sense of relief. Relief that you can stop querying. Relief that a publishing professional believes in you. Relief that your book might actually get published. Finally, you have someone to help shoulder your burden!
2.) But on the other hand, getting an agent brings on a new set of complications and worries and frustrations. After the initial glow of "I've got an agent!" recedes, the Doubt Monsters creep back in. What if my book doesn't sell? What if my agent loses interest in me? What if my agent doesn't like my second book? And so on and so forth.
Don't get me wrong--I'm so grateful to have Jim on my side! But I've learned that getting an agent doesn't make those Doubt Monsters go away. ('Cause those Monsters are a crafty bunch!) Writing books is a tough, tough business, which means writers will face doubts on all facets of their journey--whether they're querying or submitting or working on their twentieth book.
3.) I've often heard people say, "Don't compare yourself to other writers!" I often try to take this advice, but I fail miserably.
Look, you're going to compare yourself to others. Don't feel bad; it happens! There's always going to be someone who gets more offers than you do, who sells their book faster than you do, who gets a bigger deal than you do. When this happens, you'll probably flail your arms. Gnash your teeth. Flail some more. It's okay! We're human!
Just don't let it eat away at you. It's natural to feel a little envious of others but once you start getting heart-wrenchingly jealous then you need to put yourself in a time-out. Take a break! Enjoy life! Don't let the Jealousy Monsters turn you into something ugly.
5.) Finally, don't be afraid to talk to your agent. When I first signed with Jim, I was a little apprehensive about asking him questions. I mean, he was a bona fide literary agent! He worked in a fancy office in New York City! He repped bestselling authors like Carrie Ryan! Surely, he didn't have time for silly questions from little ol' me.
You know what though? Agents are super nice! And patient! So if you have a question or two, open that mouth of yours! Or, you know, open a new email. You know what I mean...
Questions? Rebuttals? Leave them in the comments and I'll get back to you shortly!