I found a publisher for Brewing Battles without the help of an agent. I wrote queries to both agents and publishers. I got two positive responses from different publishers before any agent said they would represent me. I sent eleven queries; eight were to agents and three were to presses. I found all of that very frustrating and time consuming.
One day when I was feeling particularly frustrated, I realized that a particular agent lived in my hometown. I thought I would call him since writing letters and emails felt so distance and impersonal. It was a big mistake. Apparently, there is an underwritten rule that you never contact an agent on the phone. He informed me in no uncertain terms that the fact that we lived in the same area was irrelevant. So much for local connections. Despite his very negative response to my calling him, he did look at the book proposal. He told me it would never be published.
This experience along with others I had while trying to get Brewing Battles published has left me with some anxiety about dealing with agents. I feel that there are some many “rules” about what you can and cannot say to them and that you must not do anything that they could perceive of as wasting their time.
Two weeks ago, I attended Write Angles 25, a writer’s conference. I had the opportunity to meet face to face for 10minutes or so with an agent. That alone was an unusual occurrence. The agent liked my pitch and said I should send him/her the book proposal and sample chapter as well as Brewing Battles. This, of course, was exciting. Unfortunately, he/she wrote all of the instructions on his/her card with a felt tip pen that ran.
I tried the best I could to remember everything he/she had said. I had a lot of trouble sending him/her the documents as he/she had requested. I thought, oh, no this will ruin my chances. I emailed to say I was having trouble and ask if I could send them a different way. I did not hear back for two days, which also convinced me I had broken some cardinal rule and lost my chance. I did receive a response the third day.
This whole experience made me realize I am terrified of agents. I am so terrified that I do not want to reveal the agent’s identity, which is why I am obscuring the pronouns. I want an agent for my new project so I can get a better deal from a publisher. However if it is going to make me such a basket case maybe it is not worth it.