Somewhere over the rainbow...an agent waits for me.
Not just any kind of agent. One that feels like the perfect match for the kind of writer I am and the kind of writer I hope to be one day. An agent who sees the potential in my work and doesn't just feed me fluffy answers about how wonderful my stories are or how they are destined to become huge hits on the NYC best sellers list.
I have no illusions about my skills as a writer. I'm better than average. Some say good even. I write the kind of sweet, visual tales that can draw a reader in and make them hurry to get to the last page. But I told a friend of mine the other day I wish I could write more like her. HER stories are humorous. HER stories tend to have a broader marketability than I think mine might have but maybe I just underestimate my own skill level. HER stories have that punch to them that make readers pop up their heads like little gophers when they see her books on the shelves in bookstores. She writes the kind of stories you just KNOW people are going to like.
That's not to say my stories stink. In my heart of hearts I don't think they do. Some of my stories are silly and some are cute and some are even a wee bit scary. But they lean toward the heartfelt, sweeter variety and the agent I'm searching for will understand my own writer's voice and will be captivated by it.
So what's a writer to do when she thinks she is more of a niche writer but still has something to share with the world?
She makes sure she has the three key ingredients to attract the right kind of agent.
HAVE A STRONG WRITING FOUNDATION
When I first became a professional writer over five years ago I thought I had this writing thing down. I had story ideas and all I had to do was write them down. Surely then a publisher will be all too eager to publish my little story, right?
It took three long years of working really hard to improve my skills before my first story was picked up and another year before my picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, received a contract. If I want my dream agent to work really hard for my stories, then I need to make sure I provide them with the strongest writing I can possibly create. THAT will make my agent's job a whole lot easier and my writing future a whole lot brighter.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Are you the kind of writer who looks for the big dollar signs? Maybe you are the type of writer who is expecting a three-book deal every time you send out a submission? Or possibly you are a writer who realizes you might have to start small and work your way up from there? Take the time to sit down and make a list of what is important to you when it comes to selecting an agent. Because I guarantee those agents you are submitting to have done the same thing and created a list of what they want from writers they are willing to work with.
Know before you get "the call" what could be a deal breaker for you. For me, it's honest communication. I don't need to hear from my agent every second of every day but I'm a big girl and can handle the truth. And I actually prefer it...
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
Agents come in all shapes and sizes...from new and hungry all the way to highly experienced and extremely selective with whom they are willing to work. That being said, every writer should take all their own "wants", add in the potential agent's "wants", and then listen to their gut when it comes to making the final decision of what agency to go with. Remember, you are choosing a partner that hopefully will be with you for the long term and if the personalities aren't a good fit, then you are creating more obstacles for yourself than is necessary.
Maybe I will find my agent at the end of the rainbow and maybe not, but at least...if the legends are true...I should still find a leprechaun hiding a pot of gold and THAT is the kind of luck I don't mind having!
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.
THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB:
Fan club membership includes:
Bi-monthly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news and other goodies
Reading log for earning Story Catcher Award
Short story starring YOU!