I might currently possess a stomach full of butterflies at the thought of sending out my queries, but I've already been approached by one agent and totally confused by another. Agent #1: I met at a conference and hit it off. Agent #1 loved my proposal, laughed out loud in all the right places while reading the sample pages submitted, and contacted me shortly thereafter to offer representation. I did the requisite happy dance before Googling Agent #1, coming up with squat, and sending off an email to ask about their track record.
Who had they represented?
What were their recent sales?
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
I waited a week. Then two. Then that turned into a month and now almost three months later, I have yet to hear back from Agent #1. Whatever actually happened, I can only assume Agent #1 was not expecting a newbie at a conference to push the contract aside and ask questions first.
And ya know what? That's okay with me. If an agent is not prepared to provide a writer with such basic information as I requested, it's time to move on.
Agent #2: This one was more entertaining. I also met Agent #2 at a conference and interviewed with them. It went kind of like this:
Agent #2: "I'm not getting the title. What's this Ph in the Baby F(ph)at? Is that like a reference to a medical degree?"
Me: blink blink. "Um, no. It's a play on words referring to being overweight and the Phat part is slang for cool. You know, you can be a hip mama even if you are hippy?"
Agent #2: "And this slang...is this something your generation says?" (Note that Agent #2 couldn't have been more than 40. I'm 32)
Me: No. Not necessarily. I know I don't use it. But I know that my target audience will get it and laugh at the title...in a good way."
Agent #2: "I'm not sure if I like it. And what about this The Husband and Buttercup thing? Why not just use made up names?"
Me: "I'd prefer to stick with what my audience is familiar with, and that's what's in the book right now. But I appreciate the suggestion and will definitely consider changing it." (Not really.)
Agent #2: "I'm not sure if I like that either. Now, what are these twitter things? These quotes you have?"
Me: "I start each chapter with a quote from a real mom to show the reader that they aren't in the fight to lose weight on their own, and neither am I. I also incorporate a few of my own tweets here and there to give the reader a picture of how much social media plays a role in my life as a support system and to illustrate certain points (like my Ben & Jerry's addiction) that would lose their edge otherwise."
Agent #2: "That might not be a good idea. These could actually date your book. What if twitter isn't even around when your book gets published?"
Me: Blink blink blink. Stunned silence. Really? Isn't a memoir, by definition, dated material? And twitter? Gone? Forever? Listen, how about I save us both a lot of time, nod my head and smile, thank you for your suggestions, and not send you a query? Good, that sounds lovely to me, too. "I hadn't thought of that. I'll keep that in mind, though. Thank you for your suggestions and it was a pleasure to meet with you."
And that my friends, is proof that finding an agent is like finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It's not an exact science. And there's gonna be a lot of bad first dates. But eventually, you'll have something worth writing home about.
It's like my friends and I used to say in high school...
You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.