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Literary Agents: What I've Learned. Part One.

I'm not an expert on literary agents, but I've had the dubious pleasure of being signed by two agents. Each time I wrote a query, submitted to targeted agents, and was asked to submit my manuscript.

The first agent called me on a Saturday, saying she'd stayed up all night reading my novel. She couldn't put it down, she told me. Could she represent me?

You betcha, I said, not bothering to investigate further. She thought I had talent! She was going to sell my book to a publisher. Yikes!

I learned later that she was a fairly new agent. That was okay, I thought. She'll be hungry. She'll work hard for me.

I waited for six months. Nothing. Then, I contacted her. Be patient, she said. The publishing world moves at glacial speeds.

I hung in there. I didn't bug her too much. Then, I found out that she signed a bevy (gaggle? squad? What's the collective noun for writers, anyway?) of authors. My first novel languished for two years with her, with only the smallest of nibbles.

During that time, I wrote another book. This one was better, I knew. I ended my relationship with my agent and sent out queries for the new manuscript.

Success again! This time, the agent who signed me was one of the top New York agents, the owner of the agency. Surely, she could sell my brand-new-and-better novel.

I was blown away by what happened next.

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