CHERYL POTTS

Where is my Perfect Agent?

  So having made the decision to go what is called the “traditional route” in the literary/publishing world, I am needing an agent. Random House or Penguin is not going to pay any attention to little me, yet unpublished and not having an already famous name. So, I have began the search for the person, an agent, that will love my book, contact Random House or Penguin for me and make my name famous.   

Searching online,  I swear, I  found a million agencies and agent’s names, But I was drawn to one. A perfect one. This man, I was sure, would be so excited to receive my manuscript. 

He works far away in New York (they all seem to be in New York) but he and I would have coffee soon and discuss my career.  I could just feel it. His picture exuded humor, compassion, intelligence, honesty, loyalty, integrity. A perfect match.

His online information said he would get back to me within two weeks of  receiving my query letter and first five pages. Two weeks!! I could wait two weeks. 

Though writers are advised to send out manuscripts to about thirty-five agents at a time, my decision was final, and all my eggs were going into one, lovely basket. 

So, now it was time to stop admiring my basket and procrastinating, sit down at my computer, and send my materials out across the miles to a real New York Literary Agent.

The memory of my brother Mike challenging me to dive from the high-dive at the Santa Rosa Municipal Pool, when I was about nine, flooded my mind.  He’d dive, if I went first. Heart pounding, eyes closed, hands shaking and sweating, deep breaths.  Then I went.  Falling through the air, knowing I was going to die, I hit SEND. It was done. I could not return to the spring board. I could not hit UNSEND. 

Doubt crashed in like the cold water of the pool. What made me think this person would have any interest in anything I wrote? Agents get hundreds of manuscripts every month. Hundreds! I do not know what I am doing. The book  is not good enough. I should have rewritten it. I should have spent more time and found a different agent, a woman, maybe, someone west of the Mississippi River.

But the deed was done, and now all I needed to do was wait for Mr. Perfect to contact me. The days went by and I pretended to have much on my mind, but, of course, there were only two thing on this muddled brain. Will he call me  or will he email me? I waited. I checked my  email every 10 to 15 minutes.  I uncharacteristically carried my phone with me at all hours of the day and night. (What is that time difference thing between California and New York?)

The two very long weeks passed.  No message from Mr. Perfect. No phone call. No email. Not even the curtesy of a rejection notice.  

I’ve written him off. He is off my list and I feel sorry for him, for one day, when my name is famous at Random House or Penguin, he can cry as he tells the tale of passing me up. I gave him first chance. What a gift. He blew it. Good bye, Mr. Formerly Perfect.

I have moved on, having sent my inquiry letter and pages to about sixteen agents and have a list of many more to get to in the next few days. It does get easier-that SEND thing.  The dive from the board has become more like slipping off the side of the pool into refreshing water. Still a little cold, but am adapting. 

By the way, Brother Mike did not make the dive. Something about, “just kidding.”

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