Today, WU friend Eileen Flanagan has stopped by to share a post with us about her experience changing literary agents–a frightening and sometimes necessary step. Enjoy!
My new book is about the Serenity Prayer—you know, accepting the things we cannot change and finding the courage to change those we can. The funny thing is, I never would have published this book on change if my writer’s group hadn’t convinced me to change literary agents.
I had already published one book and had been happy with the job my agent had done in selling it, though I couldn’t help suspecting that she was disappointed when I wasn’t catapulted to bestseller status. After the book’s release and my son’s subsequent birth, I never heard from her, which was fine. I was home with two young children, writing during nap time, but not focused on sales. A few years later, however, when I was ready to pick up my career and send out a new proposal, I found I had been handed off to her assistant agent, a very nice woman who was a great editor, but not as assertive as the senior agent. I accepted the demotion and worked with the junior agent, feeling stuck when my new book proposal didn’t sell. I knew part of the problem was the book idea itself, and part was market timing, but I couldn’t help feeling that part of it was the agent, who liked but didn’t love my book. I wanted someone who LOVED what I was writing and who understood my Quaker spirituality.
Along came my writing group, nine talented women who decided to gather monthly—not to critique each other’s work, but to support each other professionally. Our check-ins became notoriously long, agents being a common topic. Over tea, wine, and cookies we could ask the questions we harbored: Does your agent call you back? How many proposals does she sent out before she gives up? Do you have a written contract? Is the same agent right for every project? [Read more…]