Q & A time: agents

I had a fantastic time at the VPL‘s Getting Started in Children’s Books panel last night. I thought I’d spend time on the blog this week answering some of the most popular questions.

Question of the day:
Do you have an agent? How did you find her?

I have an amazing agent — Patricia Ocampo of TLA. She’s both kind and (very) funny along with having those other useful agenting skills of business and editing acumen.

I’m somewhat new to this world; Patricia and I started working together in November 2011. But, I have to say, I LOVE having an agent. For the following reasons:

1. You know when you get a rejection, and your husband or best friend or mom tells you it’s totally unfair, and your book SO deserves to be published, and the editor is obviously blind? And that feels great, but you know that your husband/friend/mom is saying these things mostly out of overwhelming love for you? Well, an agent says many of the same things, but from a place of actual literary knowledge.

2. I hate talking about money. I would rather talk about death, zombies, or the apocalypse. Suddenly, I don’t have to talk about money anymore! I just send Patricia a little note when I finish an edit, and she says, “Great. I’ll send off an invoice.” How awesome is that?

3. Writing is an isolating business, and it is so, so nice to feel as if I have a partner in this venture. Someone who can say, “let’s argue that point,” or “no, drop it, you’re being neurotic.” Someone to provide an objective opinion on pretty much everything. Other than whether my clothes match. I’m still on my own there.

All this, of course, goes along with the obvious agent bonuses of (a) often getting an extra edit before your manuscript goes to publishers, (b) having access to larger and international publishers, and (c) having much more negotiating power.

So, is getting an agent crazy-hard? Yes. But is it worth it, if you can find one? A resounding yes from me.