Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Agents, or the Lack Thereof

Sunday, September 11, 2005.

That's the day this blog went live. At the time, I had no web presence, no writing credits. Though I didn't know it yet, I was still a year out from the completion of my first novel (nearly seven years before a book of mine would see the light of day), and thirteen months from my first short story acceptance. I thought back then the novel would take a few more weeks at most to finish. And, having that very weekend finished writing my first short story ("The Toll Collectors," which didn't see the light of day until '09), I assumed my first publishing credit was imminent.

In short, I was an idiot.

But there was one thing I was right about that fateful day in 2005. Here's how I ended my first post:
"What, you might ask, does it take to be a working writer? Stick around -- maybe we'll both find out."
Since then, this space has served as record for every triumph, every milestone, and even the occasional speedbump on my winding path to publication. (The speedbumps, for the record, have been far more frequent than this blog may suggest, but I'm not one to revel in my misfortunes. I've been lucky enough in life that doing so might well piss people off.) Short story credits. Query woes. Landing an agent. Winning awards. Losing awards. Shelving that first novel after three years' worth of shopping. Writing a new novel. Shopping it. Selling it, and then two more. Reviews. Releases. A book tour. The whole nine.

My writing life, writ large for all to see.

Well, most of it, at least. See, the difficulty with blogging about one's writing life is, the farther one progresses, the more complicated it becomes to decide what can, or should, be shared. Back in '05, the only person affected by my blogging was me. Now what I say can affect contracts, publishers, editors, booksellers, agents, and what have you. That can, and should, and does, give a blogger pause. Which is to say, I've gone back and forth as to whether I should write this post. But ultimately, it proved too big a milestone for me to let pass unremarked upon.

A few weeks back, my longtime agent and I parted ways.

The specific details as to why are unimportant. Suffice to say that it was my decision, and that said decision was borne of differences in goals and strategy -- and of the direction my muse is taking me -- rather than any animosity or ill-will. The split was amicable, and I continue to hold both she and the agency in the highest of regard. The fact that I'm not including names here is simply a function of the search-engine world in which we live; a good agent ought not have her internet presence gunked up by what might be perceived by someone unacquainted with the business as a knock against her, particularly when it's not intended as such.

So what comes next? I'm not sure. I just sent one novel to an editor-friend of mine, and I've got another I'm putting a final polish on before I once more begin the query process. As for where it, or I, will end up...

Stick around -- maybe we'll both find out.