Having An Agent Is Weird

Last night, INTERN was chatting with a writer-friend about all things bookish, and they got to talking about agents. How the internet is stuffed with advice about snagging one (always snagging!) but goes curiously silent after the proverbial wedding day, like so many fairy tales. Just like the (presumably awkward) deflowering scene that happens off-stage in those fairytales, there's something the internet doesn't tell you about agents: Having An Agent Is Weird.

Why is having an agent the most awkward thing ever if you've never done it before?

It's a bit like dating your first boy/girlfriend.

If you are the least bit neurotic, you will constantly ask yourself "Do we talk enough? Am I too needy? Too distant? Amy and Brad call each other, like, every hour. Should I fly to NYC to visit him?"

You are the least bit self-doubty, you will wonder, "Does she/he really like me? Does he regret going out with me? Is he just waiting for the right moment to dump me? Is she embarrassed to be seen with me?"

If you are least bit insecure, you will find your friends and relatives rolling their eyes every time you say something like, "Sorry, I can't come over for dinner—me and my BOYFRIEND AGENT have a phone date." or "My AGENT said the CUTEST THING on Twitter today!"

Once you realize your agent is dating representing 10-50 other people besides you, your anxiety will only soar higher: "Everyone else s/he represents is so much more famous than me! What if s/he's just dating me out of pity?" "All his other clients are bestsellers. I should BURY MY HEAD IN A HOLE."

Your friends will tell you to chill out and stop overanalyzing things. You will spend all your time doing quizzes in Cosmo and Seventeen in a desperate attempt to assess the rightness or wrongness of your relationship with your agent. When you finally meet your agent (for something intimidatingly classy, like gelato or salade frisee or, like, some weird pâté thingie you don't know how to eat) you will be so excited you will almost wet your pants. After the meeting is over, you will walk away thinking, "hey, maybe that wasn't so awkward after all!"

You will go back and forth on revision stuff, or submission stuff, or contract stuff, and you will gradually realize that you are in a businessy creative relationship, not an angst-ridden romantic one. Then, and only then, will the Weirdness start to ebb.

So there you go. Having an agent is weird—at least, it's as weird as you make it, until you realize all you have to do is act normal. Now you know!

Comments

  1. alas, i know not of the awkwardness of which you write.

    not that i haven't tried. not that i haven't come oh, so close.

    *sigh*

    (my CP, however, has and from discussions with her, you're spot on)


    -- Tom

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  2. Lol love this analogy. And it's good to know! Can't wait to test it out on my first boyfr-- er, agent. ;)

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  3. As I was reading this I was smiling and nodding. It's so true! Eventually, though, like every new friendship/relationship, you get to know each other, get used to each other, until eventually everything is normal and comfortable.

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  4. Just as long as my agent doesn't break up with me via email. My poor soul would be crushed.

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  5. Thanks for posting this. It's true that there's not much conversation online about life after the agent. And there's SO much out there about querying and life pre-agent that we build agents up as celebrities and memorize their interviews, so once you are represented it can feel awkward.

    But you're right, it's all in my head! :)

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  6. I never thought about the angst that may come with having an agent. You spend all your time worrying about getting an agent, I guess it's only natural to start to fixate the worries on something else.

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  7. If having an agent is weird, I don't wanna be normal.

    Oh, wait. Too late.

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  8. OMG, it's true. And it sets in about two seconds after you get "the call". You start wondering if you really sounded as awful as you think you did, and oh noes!, she didn't know I had this hideous twang before!!!

    All manner of crazy things go through your head because you've been so psyched up for so long with getting the agent as your focus that you have to figure out how to shift your brain out of that mode, and it's not easy.

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  9. You definitely had me SNORTING with laughter!

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  10. I guess it is unfortunate that my normal is angsty.

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  11. Just wait till you get a publisher...

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  12. I hope I can soon find out for myself just how wierd it is!

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  13. Oh my gosh, I laughed out loud (yes-I wrote it out. That's how hard I laughed!) And you are spot on! The only good thing is, I guess I'm not the only neurotic one out here in the Land of Worry and Self-Doubt.

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  14. I'm still at the wildly weird, awkward and obsessive stage. Contemplating breaking my self imposed ration of emails quota: I try not to be too "needy" OMG, here I go again! *pulls hair*

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  15. This is such a great post. It will most likely apply to me some day, so I'm glad for the heads up.

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  16. @Terra Kirkland - that happened to me.

    Let's just say I was romance-shy after that. And I still have panic attacks. OMG AGENT HASN'T EMAILED ME BACK SHE'S GONNA DUMP ME AAAH

    and then I lie down for a bit.

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  17. I'm SO LAUGHING! Awesome post :D

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  18. Thanks for the really great laugh! That was awesome. Snorting happened.

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  19. Anita: so true! it's like you have a certain amount of baseline angst, and you have to direct it somewhere at all times...sigh...

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