It’s like the lyrics to one of Queen’s (that’s a band, people) last albums, wherein Freddy Mercury sings, “It’s finally happened… it’s finally happened.” That line is going around inside my head tonight as I ponder how to digest that my agent can no longer represent me.
I am not alone. Recently at YA Stands, I interviewed Cornerstone author, Misty Provencher, whose experience with losing her agent changed her outlook on publishing. In fact, it spurred her to self-pub her book and gain a following all by her own lonesome self. Good girl!
My former agent was the one who encouraged me to self-publish A Place In This Life when things in the YA market came to a standstill. I think it was the best piece of advice she could give me. There is only so much anyone can do, even an agent whom we writers envision as a magical fairy with connections to reigning editors. I like to think I never looked at my agent in that way – I knew she was human and trying to get the word out there about my story and writing abilities (I’d love to say prowess but that sounds more like a Harlequin deal than a description of my fiction skills). Then again, if I had been writing romance I might not have been cut. Seems there’s always a market for that genre.
This last week was when I received notice, and I felt a mixture of sadness and relief. I was sad because my former agent believed in me and my story. She had told me that A Place In This Life made her cry. I was also relieved, because I was able to take back my two other contemporary edgy YA stories, SWELL and little rooms and send them back out there for someone else to love. (Actually, SWELL is making the query-go-rounds and little rooms is on ice. I’m still wrapping-up The Joy & Torture of Joshua James, so there’s plenty of action to go around.) It is refreshing to break out the query skills and get on with it.
I am not devastated. I am not hopeless, especially with the advent of self-publishing tools now available to us writer folks. I am melancholy, though, because my first agent was a true step toward validation of my craft, and for that I am eternally thankful.