The Art of Agent Attraction

May 2, 2010

I’m meeting with an agent in Boston today and beginning to feel like I’m going on a blind date. I imagine us immediately falling in love and spending the rest of our lives together, sitting in little cafes going over her notes for me, traveling together for my book tours, having her keep me company in the green room before my morning talk show appearances. I will compose gushing words about her for my acknowledgement page and I will thank her when I’m awarded the New Hampshire prize for best memoir set within a five mile radius of the Lakes Region.*

Then I imagine the flipside. I imagine her saying to me—as soon as I walk in the room today— “Gee, after reading your book I thought you’d be a little . . . taller,” or “When I read your bio it never occurred to me you’d look so. . . suburban,” and we’ll chat awkwardly for five or ten minutes before she’ll get some emergency call on her iPhone and ditch me with the tab for the coffee.

I consider emailing agents who decided not to represent me in the past so I could ask them where we went wrong. Was I too clingy, too needy? Or did I seem fickle—the kind of girl who’d dump them as soon as a cuter agent came along, promising me the moon and stars and a spot on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson?

Then I tell myself I’ve gone without an agent this whole time and I’ve been fine. Who needs an agent? I’m an independent writer and I love being on my own, I love doing this all by myself. Don’t I? No not really. But I can pretend—I can practice my look of nonchalance, I can practice my breezy laugh, I can do my best to mask the anxiety and desperation that constantly courses through my body—why? Because I hope that what everyone tells me is true—that when you’re not looking for an agent (or pretending you’re not looking for an agent) that’s when one will magically find you. . .

*no such award exists, but I had to come up with something that sounded like I’d have a legitimate chance of winning

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2 Responses to “The Art of Agent Attraction”

  1. Lisa said

    Kate,
    I have to say that every time i read one of your stories I smile. I can be assured that you will always make me laugh and I will always find that some part of your creation belongs in my own life! Now please forgive my spelling…I must say in my own defense that my G key is not workin properly.
    Keep writin irl!
    XXOO
    Lisa.

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