Monday, April 21, 2008

This Writer's Life: Finding The Agent

Wow, so I get a whole lot of emails asking how can an unpublished writer get an agent?

I am going to make a very Zen statement...one that when I was unpublished would have annoyed the f*&^ out of me...

When the manuscript is ready, the Agent will appear.

Oh yeah? Very easy for you to say...Miss already published writer.

Okay...I'm not saying exactly that an 'agent-genie' will pop out of your diet coke can asking if they can represent your manuscript. But what I am saying is get your manuscript ready. Don't worry about the agent. Don't worry about finding a publisher. Don't worry about all those things...you are getting way ahead of yourself. And wasting time and energy. Don't worry. Instead, do the work.

That's right, do the work.

Write the entire manuscript. From start to finish. All 250 pages, or 280 pages or 320 pages...(I wouldn't go much over 400 pages). Write the whole darn thing. And then print the manuscript out. Read the entire manuscript...start to finish...ignoring typos, and problems, and story structure.

And then--put the manuscript away.

Away? Like on a shelf or in a closet or under a bed?

Yes Away. For two weeks...or longer. Then read the manuscript again.

Wow, this feels like a different manuscript.

Uh-huh. Now, mark it up. Take a very deep breath. Ready?

Ready.

Rewrite.

What?

Rewrite.

The entire thing?

Rewrite.

Jeez,that takes too long.

Rewrite.

But I want an agent now.

Why?

To know if I'm wasting my time....

Ah-hah! So the reason you search for an agent before the manuscript is finished is to bolster your moral. Prove to your fragile writing ego that your scribblings aren't in vain. But, grasshopper, that is not an agent's job..no, no, no, an agent is not meant to be the 'thing' that keeps you writing. No a writer writes. Whether they have an agent, a publication contract, a story...whether they have confidence, a computer or paper and pen...a writer writes. An agent sells. Write, rewrite, do your part and then when your manuscript is polished to shine like a diamond, the agent will appear.
xoMaggie

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