Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Not the End of the World.

Q: HELP. I am scared my agent is about to drop me. WHAT DO I DO?

I gave basically this answer to somebody on a message board recently but realized that I get a variation on this question all the time. So let's tackle it here.

The fact that you are asking a stranger about this is a bad sign, to be honest. To me, it means you don't have a good enough relationship with your agent to have a frank conversation with her.


A) You are right, she is not jazzed about your book anymore (or your next book, or whatever it is) -- in which case you need to TALK TO HER and find out what the problem is, and if she has lost faith in your book you need to find out why and discuss the possibility of revisions, or tell her the other awesome idea you have up your sleeve, or part ways with her, or SOMETHING. But nothing will get accomplished if you don't talk to her. You sound like you are stuck in a rut right now, and something needs to change for you to move forward. Or...

B) You are being a neurotic stressball (common in the writer community) and you need to TALK TO HER and realize that she still adores your work and is waiting until after the holidays, or is swamped and not being the communicator she should be, or SOMETHING, but again, you can't find that out unless you talk to her. She is probably not psychic and will not know you are upset unless you tell her.

If you haven't had a conversation about your fears with her, ask yourself why. Is it because she is hiding from you? Or because you are avoiding saying what is on your mind? In my opinion, not communicating what you need and expecting somebody else to just magically know it it is not just passive, it's passive aggressive, and it is a sure way to sabotage yourself.

If you have the conversation you might both end up pumped, re-energized and ready to do another round, or see what happens next.

But if by chance she does end up dropping you (OR vice versa)... it won't be the end of the world. In fact, you might find it a blessing in disguise. Even if you really like somebody as a person, you don't want them as an agent if they aren't excited about your work. And you certainly don't want to work with somebody you don't trust enough to talk to.

For a bit of inspiration -- and this is for ALL writers -- I link you to this post I liked by THE INTERN on Nova Ren Suma's blog. (Actually all the inspiration posts on that blog are great). I urge you to remember that seriously, in the grand scheme of things, all this neurotic crazymaking stuff that is so easy to tear your hair out over? Really... just... doesn't... matter. Stop obsessing and freaking out, take a big deep breath of fresh air, and be brave.