I’ve never really told the story of how I got a literary agent, and today’s the perfect day because Kody Keplinger, who writes The Insanity of Writerhood, had the brilliant idea to make today Unofficially Official Agent Day in which we blitz our agents with praise and thanks and all sorts of gushing about how awesome they are. They didn’t know about it (theoretically), and I couldn’t spoil the surprise, so I actually do NOT have permission to use this photo. I took a chance, because – um – so beautiful!
My agent is Holly Root* at the Waxman Agency (in New York City, I like to add, because it makes me so happy). And I’m pretty sure not a day goes by that I don’t read somewhere online about how cool she is. I think if she made me choose right now to either be her best friend or her client…well, it would be really hard. I literally want to sit on her couch and watch the final season of LOST with her, which I hear she enjoys. Because I cyberstalk her.
I always enjoyed writing, and I got enough encouragement from writing teachers (and my mother) through the years that I decided it might actually be something I could do for real. (My definition of “for real” ebbs and flows. I’ll keep you posted.) But it was years before I realized maybe these kinds of things don’t actually just drop in your lap. I decided one thing for sure: If I wanted to write, I needed to write. If I ever found a doorway to the publishing industry, or met a person in it, I wanted to have something to flag them down with.
Enter Felicity, my sister, who gave my name to an online magazine editor. I gave that editor an idea for an article I had, and she liked it. It ran October 17, 2007. Enter Awesomeness.
That day I went to the bank to open a savings account for my oldest son (the one who shares a birthday with the Anniversary of My Motherhood), and Felic called me sort of squealing, something she doesn’t normally do. A New York City agent, Holly Root, had commented on my blog that she’d read the article, liked it, and wanted to talk to me about possible representation. I sent her the memoir that day.
So the first thing I love about her is, she was there. When I finally put myself out there with actual written words that I’d prepared not just for me, but for others, she found them. And that was an amazing gift. When I actually signed with her a few months later, I felt that literally anything wonderful could happen now.
Since then we’ve worked with my memoir, and I’ve talked with her about my novel. She’s an amazing ally. I come to the biz with a teensy bit of angst about my identity as a writer, and I know she’s going to walk me through it. I wonder how to come at my writing from the background of my faith and yet be relevant, and she is the perfect person to make sure I’m getting there. She believes in me and in my writing. She’s steady as a rock, which goes well with my melodrama. She’s savvy, optimistic, and just completely lovely in every way. I live in terror lest she give up on me before an editor says yes. But if she does, I’m so applying for that best friend thing. I think it could work.
Happy Unofficially Official Agent Day, Holly! Plain and simple, you’re a gem.
P.S. If you’re an aspiring writer, there’s agent gold over at Lisa and Laura’s blog with a comprehensive list of authors participating in this love-your-agent project.
*You can now find the incomparable Holly Root at Root Literary.