I think I’ve already discussed at length why I chose to go the agency representation route with my writing career. One of the reasons I didn’t want to self-publish WTRPCPSU is that I would prefer to have the backing of a publisher’s marketing group to help me market my work, and, as such, I would prefer to have an agent help me navigate the still unfamiliar world of publishing.
Note my use of the word help. I’m fully aware that I will have my own role in all of this, too. What that role entails, of course, I’m still figuring out.
This may sound odd, but I think of my agent as my boss. I mean, I sort of interviewed for her representation, and she chose me to be part of her team of writers. My job, as I see it, is to produce quality stories for her to then turn around and sell. We will have dialogues about my work. I may pitch ideas that she knows the market is not buying, and she will advise me to shelve those concepts until either my ideas are more developed and/or there is a renewed interest in them. I will send her manuscripts that I’ve painstakingly edited and revised to the point that I think they’re perfect, and she will provide feedback (including what works, what doesn’t work, what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be scrapped). And it is my job to take her expert advice to heart and execute her directives to the best of my ability.
In short, I expect to have the same relationship with my agent that I have with my non-writing world boss.
I absolutely adore my non-writing world boss. She’s fabulous. (And as she doesn’t know this blog exists, I’m speaking truly from the heart.) We maintain a very open dialogue about the different projects I work on, and I let her know when someone comes to me with a request for something that requires total reprioritization, especially when it falls outside my normal scope of duties. She provides valuable feedback on how I can be a more effective analyst, on how to look at things from a different perspective, on how to take my skills to the next level.
But her most important role? She ensures that no one takes advantage of me.
That last point perfectly sums up not only why I would walk across hot coals for my non-writing world boss but also why I chose to pursue the path towards agency representation. And the fact that Julia is based in Europe and has contacts on both continents is why I anxiously pursued her (or would have, anyway, if I took the regular querying route).
I’m the type of person who needs someone to remind me to keep my own interests in the foreground. I know not everyone is like that, but I firmly believe that we all should have someone looking out for us.