Last week I sent “Foodies Rush In” off to another agent…and I’ve been obsessively checking my email ever since. It occurred to me that finding an agent is like dating all over again…only it’s dating someone who you’re totally crazy and infatuated with, and they maybe-might-possibly be interested in you, and you’re desperately looking for any hint that they actually know you exist.
In March I went to New York and had two editors from Penguin request my manuscript. I sent it the same day they asked. Then I waited and waited. I went over and over in my mind when we met. Here’s how my inner dialogue went:
She seemed really interested in me. She laughed when I said I had crazy hair but I was not a crazy writer. She said she loved my pitch. She said she loved my pitch!! What if she didn’t actually love my pitch, but was just trying to get me out of the room? What if saying she loves my pitch is the equivalent of saying I have a nice personality but she’s not interested in me? Oh god! She’s not interested in me! I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
I waited for four months for an answer from both agents. Then I sent a polite, painfully worded email in which I try to sound gracious and accepting. Something like “I met you a few months ago and you seemed really interested in me and asked for my number. I gave you my number and made it clear I was available but you haven’t called yet, so I’m wondering if maybe your computer crashed or your email/phone/iPad isn’t working? Or maybe I transposed some numbers or something? Hope to talk to you soon! PS: I’m not crazy!”
Actually, that might’ve been a voice mail I left for a guy I was obsessed with in my twenties.
One of the agents responded, said her computer DID crash. I was overjoyed! I sent the manuscript again. She said she’d get right to it. That was three months ago. I then sent a follow up email that bordered a little bit on creepy and needy. Needless to say, she hasn’t responded.
Then I had an agent who wrote to me saying I had the best pitch she’d ever read and to send my manuscript right away. I did. In June. And…I’ve heard nothing. Apparently, my pitch is better than the actual novel.
Now most recently my book sits with another agent who also requested pretty much manuscripts or excerpts from everyone at the conference. It’s like entering the lottery, only with a group of deserving friends. Everyone deserves to win but chances are only one (maybe) will. You hope it’s you, but you also feel bad if it’s you.
I’m now obsessively checking my email and replaying my meeting with her. Just like the others. Haven’t I learned by now that looking for an agent is like The Rules? Remember that annoying Rule book? It said basically that you shouldn’t call or chase a guy. If he’s interested in you, truly interested in you, he’ll pursue you.
It’s annoying, but there’s some truth in there.
The sobering reality is, if my book was as good as I was hoping, these agents and editors would be chasing me. And honestly, I don’t even think it’s a miraculous book. I just tried to write something sweet, fun, accessible and marketable. It doesn’t advocate for social change; there’s not a ton of sex; it’s just a simple story of two nerds who fall in love when the timing is right.
I think I’ve written the novel-equivalent to a wallflower. My book is that girl that no one really notices, but if they only took time to get to know her, they’d find out that she’s colorful, soft-spoken and quirky.
All I can do is wait. I’ve promised myself to stop checking my email, and stop even thinking about sending up that needy follow-up email that says “Hey! I’m here! Did you read my work? I thought you liked me? Don’t you like me? WHY DON’T YOU LIKE ME?”
I’m thinking these are good choices.
I waited thirty-eight years to find the perfect man for me. I’m just hoping finding the perfect agent doesn’t take as long. I really have been very, very patient.
For now, I’ll do what I’m best at: I’ll just keep writing. Someone’s going to notice me sooner or later.
(Okay. So maybe I am a little bit crazy, but only enough to be interesting.)