Thursday, March 11, 2010

The "Dream Agent"

I've heard this a lot out there on the Interwebz. "I just queried my dream agent." Or, "I don't want to query my dream agent yet." Or whatever whatever "dream agent."

And I'd like to submit something to you today. So bear with me. No doubt some of you will agree, and some of you won't. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, though, so don't hold back.

Let's go back to my time in the query trenches. Of course I researched and I had agents I thought would be a good match for me. I queried them. And there's nothing like the rush of a request, no matter who it's from.

When I researched Michelle Andelman, I didn't find much. She doesn't run a popular blog. Lynn C. Franklin doesn't have a website (besides PM). She's not giving out query advice on twitter.

I saw that she used to be at Andrea Brown and that she was looking for YA. I added her to my list. Now since I'm a tad on the OCD side (just a tad), I dug deeper. I found interviews she'd given. I may or may not have searched for a picture. I looked up titles she'd sold. I thought, "Yeah, we'd make a good match."

And then I sent her a generic query.

She requested my full, but so did a lot of people that week.

When she emailed me to ask about my other writing, I sat up straighter. I may or may not have searched again for any information about her. I may or may not have friended her on Facebook and Twitter.

When she accepted my requests for friendship, my heart beat a little faster. (That whole first date thing, you know. We were walking in the park.)

I may or may not have stalked her FB and twitter posts. I may or may not have randomly pulled up her picture just to get a feel for the human behind the emails. I cannot confirm nor deny these claims.

But I do know one thing.

Are you ready?

She was not my "dream agent" when I queried her.

She became my dream agent when I read the words, "I love CONTROL ISSUES."

So I submit to you today: Your dream agent is the one who LOVES YOUR BOOK.

Michelle is my absolute dream agent. Not because she listens to funky music (although that is a bonus). Not because the text in her emails is pink (but dude! Pink emails? Love that). Not because in one of our recent convo's I yelled, "Shut. Up!" and she laughed and told me to keep telling her that. (I'm actually a bit embarrassed that I told my agent to shut up, but you know. Seinfeld moment.)

No. None of those things are available on the web. Michelle is my dream agent because she LOVES MY BOOK.

And I didn't know that until 4 months into our relationship.

So I think it's a bit dangerous and damaging (to your psyche) to label agents as "dream" simply because they're out there on the Interwebz and you can see them more prominently. You don't know them. You don't know what their client list is like. You don't know what the editors they've lunched with recently have said. There is absolutely no way for you to know if you'll be a good team until you've had a lot of correspondence with them.

So I think we should drop the term "dream agent."

I do think you should research your brains out and try to find people you think would be a good match for you. But I don't think we should attach a label to people we don't--can't--really know.

What do you think about this? I'm sure you (used to) have a "dream agent." Do you think this is a healthy label to put on someone? Does it hurt more when they reject you? I'm interested to know your thoughts.

99 comments:

Jen said...

I think if you start off with a list of "Dream Agents" and they reject you it would hurt worse, you are putting them in a tough position, and ultimately leading up to failure.

I think you make a brilliant point, your dream agent is the one who LOVES YOUR BOOK! That is what I'm ulitmately waiting for, the one I can call my dream agent! I know they're out there!

Jessica Nelson said...

You know what Elana? I think you're right. This is like that morning splash of water in my face. :-)
Thanks for the reality check!
And congrats on finding such an awesome match.
But I can't believe you twitter-stalk agents. I would never...uh...yeah.
*grin*

beth said...

Oh, heckyeah! I'm so with you on this. When I queried, I ended with multiple offers...and they all became my dream agents with that simple "L" word!

Huntress said...

My ‘dream agent’ is the one who believes in my book and me and has the passion to go the distance with a new author.

Sadly, after many rejections, re-writes, critiques, re-writes, rinse and repeat, I am at the point where the elusive agent, dream or not, seems less viable all the time.

Michelle McLean said...

LOL When I very first started querying, any agent that seemed interested was my dream agent :D

I don't think we should drop the term entirely, because as you said, after you signed with her and you got to know her and she loved your book, she became your dream agent. I have a similar relationship with my agent. I didn't know much about her. I queried her originally because she stated on her website that she was actively seeking NF books. She became a "wow she's awesome" agent after our first phone call, and now that I've had a chance to work with her, esp through my book sale, I can say without hesitation that she IS my dream agent. :) Because she has been an absolute dream come true :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

This is perfect. When I was in the query trenches, I had dozens of dream agents. One would turn me down, and I'd easily find another.

When I queried my Michelle (because we know all fabulous agents share that name), I loved her upbeat attitude ("make rejection pie!" is her take on the process) and knew she read my genre, but the information I found didn't make me think my work was the absolute perfect fit for her.

Then she responded, telling me how much she loved my story. She got it. She got me. And she's a dream BECAUSE, like you said, she's thrilled with my work.

Don't sell yourself short. Query widely and keep your eyes and mind open.

Great advice, as always, Elana.

lotusgirl said...

Such great advice. For so many agents there is very little about them online. They are working hard on their clients' works. Nothing against the ones who blog and twitter and whatever. I appreciate all the advice they give. They're just not the only agents out there worth having. I'm still in the researching agents stage and have been learning this. When I started, I was so naive. It's wonderful to have reminders like this one.

Eric said...

I have to admit that I've had trouble understanding the whole "dream agent" thing as well. Of course, I'm not querying yet so maybe that's part of it. But I completely agree with what you say here. While I expect to do research on agents before I query them, I don't know that I have any preconceived notions about who would be my dream agent. As you say, if they love my book and want to represent it, I'd be happier than a siamese cat in a room full of yarn balls.

Great post, Elana.

Christine Fonseca said...

Totally agree!!! As I have gotten to know my agent, I have been more and more impressed with her, the wy she works or her clients and wat she accomplishes. Great post as always

Tara said...

What a terrific post, Elena.

When I first started stalking, er browsing, all the agents blogs/sites, I had my top 5 picked pretty quickly. They're witty, fun, offer reat advice, have tons of followers. Then I started a more indepth search and found a handful of agents who do not have a web presence (other than website), but their bio's spelled out exactly what they were looking for. And what they were looking for, is exactly what I've written.

It's so important to really do your homework; don't just vote for the popular kid.

Corey Schwartz said...

Totally with you on this! Never understood when I saw people flinging this term around.

Kristi said...

I totally agree with this. I have a HUGE list of agents to query once I decide to jump in the pool. The best agent for me may not be someone that's at the top of my list right now because of all the reasons you pointed out.

An agent may be fabulous but if there's not a great fit with me, then they're still a dream agent -- just not MY dream agent! Thanks for this post. :)

storyqueen said...

A writer dreams....that's what we do.

That being said, it IS so important to do the research. I only queried agents that I thought would be a good match, so that if any of them offered, I'd jump on it.

The right fit is really about the feel of something...the agent's feeling about your work, and your feeling about their feeling about your work.

(As a little note to agents...if you have a bit of a web presence...facebook, twitter, blog...whatever...and you let the writing public know a bit about your likes and dislikes, you are probably more likely to be queried by writers who think you might be their match...)

Everything I learned about agents when I was querying, I learned from Querytracker, Literary rambles and various blogs.

The truth is out there.

Shelley

Kimberly Franklin said...

Wow... you are so right! I must remember this when I get to the querying stage. Thank goodness I have awhile.
Thanks for the great post!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I'm with ya! Like any relationship it takes time to grow. But once you here the word "love" ah it's downhill from there.

Blooming Eventually said...

It's like the dream guy. He doesn't exist. Or he does, for about five minutes, until you sober up. But then the one comes along who LOVES you. And that's where it's at, baby.

jbchicoine said...

I canned the concept of a ‘dream’ agent when mine rejected me. All I really want, at this point, is an agent who loves my novel—which is the 'dream' right now.

Natalie said...

I absolutely had agents I was more excited about than others. I knew quite a bit about Sara from Kristin Nelson's blog and I thought she was super cool AND that she must have really great taste, because she had been the gatekeeper for all of Kristin's clients.

The other agent that offered was a bit more under the radar, but she had some awesome sales. In the end I went with gut feeling. They were both excited about the book. I felt pretty confident that either of them could sell it. But Sara was the one I connected with and I kind of had to take a leap of faith because she was brand new to agenting and didn't have any sales of her own yet. But, I'm still certain I made the right choice for me.

I don't think there's much harm in prioritizing agents before we query. There are some "dream agents" that are really awesome. The problem I see is that a lot of people are in love with agents simply because of their web presence. Even if they've been agenting for years and have thousands of followers they still might not have a the sales history or experience to back up their online popularity.

Candyland said...

I'd love to have an agent to yell "shut up!" at.

But I digress.

I agree with you a thousand percent. Though I don't have an agent yet, I've queried people I thought would be the equivalent of my cosmic match only to find they just weren't that into me. (Ego check)

And on the flip side, I've queried a couple, three to be exact, who I had no clue would even give me a second look and yet they all have partials.

Funny, funny writing world we live in. It's about chemistry and yes-finding someone who loves your work.

Kristi Faith said...

hmmm definitely something to think about. I think you're right. There are agents that I see and dream about, and there are agents I don't see...but I still dream about them requesting my work. LOL :0)

Good post!!

Jonathon Arntson said...

"Dream Agent", a term I'd never seen until three days ago and now this is the fourth time. I'm not trying to be rude here, but I don't really care about the agent person themselves, I care about what they're going to do for me and how I can help them. Of course, that could all change...just sayin, but for now, I'm a credentials shopper.

Portia said...

I agree. I've found it so helpful to research agents and learn about what other books they've represented. And there's the inevitable dreaming that occurs when you query someone. For a second or two, they might be "the dream agent" because we've incorporated them into our dream. But the key is really the right agent. And, lucky us, there are a lot of really great agents out there looking for our best work!

Kat Harris said...

I agree.

100 percentola!

lynnrush said...

Great points here. Your agent has got to love your book, that's so true.

Nice post.

Kara said...

This amazing! And so true. Except, Michelle sounds like a REAL dream agent ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I totally agree with you. Your dream agent shouldn't be the one who landed another writer a six figure deal. He or she should be the one who loves YOUR story. And you won't find out who that is if you only query the one agent. Plus your dream agent is no doubt everyone's dream agent. So chances are good you're going to have a long wait to hear back from her. I speak from experience. :)

Slamdunk said...

Good story, and glad it worked out for you.

I like the way you describe to potentially authors the art of walking the line between well researched and stalking.

Alli said...

Once again, a very timely post. I had a rejection on a partial from one of my "dream agents" yesterday. It hurt. But your post today has pumped me up again and I am ready to get back to querying because everything you said today makes total sense. So, thank you.

Mary McDonald said...

Dream agent? Hahaha! Right now, I'd take any legit agent with a pulse.

KLM said...

The dating analogy is so appropriate in this situation. Sometimes the guy/girl you're swooning over -- they turn out to be not for you. AT ALL. Sometimes the person who's perfect for you is the one you didn't notice right away. At least that's how it happens in movies all the time. Oh, and in my life too. :) Keep an open mind and an open heart at all times. Especically when querying.

lbdiamond said...

LOL, I thought it was a given that my dream agent was the one who fell in love with my book. But man, I never expected to have to kiss so many frogs!!! ;)

Jennie Englund said...

You know, I completely agree with you. And I didn't find that out until just this week. After phone calls with two different agents this week, the one who really sang for me was, simply, the one who said she loved my work.

Amie B said...

At this point, I'm just dreaming about having an agent. :P

~Jamie said...

I came about my actual agent in a really weird way. She asked for my full manuscript based on a recommendation from a friend, but hadn't read it when I got an offer from someone else.

When I told her about the offer she sat down to read it--you know, to see if she would be interested as well.

So, I was worried forever that she just offered because of the friend recommendation, and then one day we were talking about a movie my book has a lot of similarities to, and she was telling me how she was living in Japan at the time it came out, and loved it so much she had to like search everywhere for an English copy, etc. and when she read my book with the same kind of feel she was totally in <3 and freaking out that she could rep something like that.

THEN I realized just how much she loved my story. :)

Faith said...

This is a wonderful attitude to have... I haven't pinpointed any "dream agents" as of yet, but after reading this post, I realize I should approach it differently. Prioritize, perhaps, but not get hung up on a few specific people.

You're absolutely right: my dream agent will be the one who loves my work, period.

Laura Pauling said...

I have to admit to using the term. But I use it loosely. The dream agents to me are the ones, that after I've researched, seem to be a good fit for my work and have the credentials. But, a good fit is very vague. Because I'm going off phrases like "looking for middle grade humor, reality-based fantasy..." That really doesn't tell me who they are or if we'd work well as a team. So, I know that the "dream agent" can be a total surprise. Someone you'd never have guessed. Congrats on finding yours.

Bane of Anubis said...

Yeah, the "dream agent" term has always annoyed me, maybe b/c I have no clue who my DA is... but writing in pink could definitely be a disqualifier for me :)

Tina Lynn said...

I wholeheartedly agree. A dream agent to me is someone who loves my work. Passion is contagious and therefore it would be ideal to find an agent that is passionate about what you write. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. Nicely done. Well played. And all that.

Lisa Nowak said...

Amen, sister!

Jess of All Trades said...

It's very true. I'm guilty of course of using the DA phrase...
But that's where it really Is like dating! You think you know exactly what you want...then someone comes along, and they are perfect...because they love you.
Thanks for pointing this out. It works into sunny Jess-World just fine :D

“Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?" -Oscar Hammerstein

jhutcheson said...

This was such a great post! Thanks, Elana! Just what I needed to hear.

Tere Kirkland said...

Where do you find the time to be so wise, Elana? ;)

There are definitely agents who I've dealt with in the past who will definitely get priority with my upcoming projects--agents who've helped me improve my queries and my story.

While those are qualities I admire, what I'd admire even more is if they felt strongly enough about my story to get behind it.

Great post!

Kayeleen said...

When I finally enter the trenches, I'll be looking for someone who loves my work and believes in it. That is the most important thing to me. Also, it would be nice if they were cool, but I'm pretty sure I won't know about that until much after the fact. I think I'm like you.

VR Barkowski said...

I've never understood dream agent. Certainly you want to query agents you believe will be receptive to your book, who will have the passion and drive to sell it to an editor. But how can a complete stranger who's never seen your work be your dream agent?

Lydia Kang said...

I so agree that just using the concept of a "dream agent" you are setting yourself up for a lot of pain when the R's come in. Because R's will come in. Better to be looking for the "right match" IMHO.

Tamika: said...

I think you just shared some valuable information Elana. Most times I have no idea what is good for me by looking at the surface.

Thank you for sharing this!

MG Higgins said...

I totally, completely agree. I got over that whole dream agent thing a long time ago. If someone loves my book, they're going to work hard to sell it. Period.

Myrna Foster said...

I hear ya!

JenniferWalkup said...

I think this is a great post. I agree that my agent is my dream agent, but I didn't realize that until we worked together and I saw how much she loved my book and how completely she *got* it. And, how well we meshed together. Great post!

Patti said...

Michelle is my dream agent because she LOVES MY BOOK.


I so needed to hear that today. I've been so nervous querying because I don't who would be the best agent for me, but really you've nailed it.

What you really need is someone who loves your book.

Valerie Geary said...

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! Someone needed to write this post and I think you executed it perfectly!!! :D Two thumbs waaaaaaay up!

Crimey said...

When I went out with my first novel, I had a few dream agents in mind, all who said no to the query so I learned pretty quickly that I needed the right agent for my work.

kimysworld said...

My 'dream agent' was actually my first choice for no 'real' reason - hers was the first blog I read when I began my querying journey! And it did sting, just a little, when she rejected me. And I said fine, I AM NOT READING YOUR BLOG ANYMORE!!!! Did I stop? No, it just felt good to say that to the computer screen. But I agree with you after all I have gone through - the dream agent should be the one who loves your book as much as you and believes in you as a writer. Glad you found yours!

Jamie D. said...

Excellent post - and I completely agree. :-)

Karen said...

Love this post. And good reminder that not every great agent is out there blogging, tweeting, whatever. Many are, but some are instead busy sending faboo pink e-mails, getting ready to love your book. :)

Alicia Walker said...

I just have to say I love Michelle Andelman. I don't have a dream agent, but at one point I did dream of her.

I sent her a query, she requested a partial, and I met her at BEA last year. She was sincerely interested, sweet, and completely approachable.

Later she requested a full. Of course I was completely enthralled with her. I too may or may have not searched photos and interviews and information about her:)

But in the end, she didn't pick me up. So although I don't dream of her any more, I bet she is the "Dream Agent."

Oh, and thanks for following my blog, Elana!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think it's okay to have "dream agents" that you think fit you best when you start, but you have to realize that chances are, they will reject you and you have to move on. And it could work out just as well with someone else that you may not have considered. And you are so right. Once you find an agent who loves your story, all the rejections and hopes for signing with a prior agent don't matter. It's hard to realize this truth until you get to the end of your search though.

Kirsten Hubbard said...

Michelle Andelman is my dream agent!

Lucky for me, she's also my real-life agent. And my hero. Our story was a lot like yours -- I'd read interviews, knew she was legit & enthusiastic, but not until we started talking did I realize how epically I'd lucked out.

Great post, Elana!

Kay said...

a dream is a manifestation of your subconscious... so, no matter where you place the word "dream" in front of another word... it's just a manifestation of your imagination, but hey, what's so wrong with living in dreamland every once in a while? It's great to get lost in fairytales! :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wise words, Elana! It's best to query "potential" agents and save the "dream" stuff for later. I need to practice what I preach a little better, though.

I have done research on Michele, and she does sound like a dream. You are a lucky lady! :-)

Kristin Miller said...

Great post!

I went into querying with some definite ideas who I wanted to rep me. Little did I know the one who would bowl me over - and continue to bowl me over - was an agent I'd never heard of. One of my top choices referred me to my now agent and after one conversation on the phone, I was hooked.

My agent IS my dream agent - but I didn't know that until I talked to her. And having communicated with a couple other agents I'd had at the top of my list, I realized they weren't perfect for me.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Thanks, Elana. This is exactly what I needed to read today. I've been in a quandry about whether to keep querying or not because I've exhausted all the agents I know a lot about. But this reminds me that there are wonderful agents out there who don't do a lot of the public stuff like blogging and mass tweeting. They *may* love this book, so I shouldn't give up quite yet. :)

Samantha Clark said...

I agree, Elana. I saw an agent talk at a conference a few years ago and thought she was the perfect agent for me. But after reading her blog, I wasn't so sure. Until you've really interacted with people, you don't know how well you'll get along. And until they've seen your work, it's hard to tell how much they'll like it. Writing is so subjective. That's why it's important to research the agents most likely to be a good match, then query them all.

Also, Elana, I wanted to let you know I've awarded you the One Lovely Blog award today! Thanks for your blogging.

Susan R. Mills said...

I totally agree with you. I have to say that I've never had a dream agent. I think that as long as they love my work enough to stand behind it, and we get along, they'll be the perfect agent for me.

Weronika Janczuk said...

I disagree, to a degree.

I think it's very fair for writers to have a dream agent, the agent they want to fall in love with their book.

I don't think it should be a defining factor of anything or an unhealthy obsession, but I think there is some benefit - however abstract - to signing with an agent you've admired from a distance before the querying trenches.

Dawn Embers said...

Great post. This is a great discussion and I agree with the points you have made within it.

I don't have a dream agent or even a dream publisher, but I also am not ready to submit. Started my first novel rewrite ever this year. The only agent I have researched is for a dreaded nonfiction proposal that I did to get my bachelor's degree.

With publishers, and even agents, I don't think I'll have dream ones. However, I'm certain that I want to start at the top when it comes to sending out. Maybe more rejections instead of going with smaller companies but worth the risk.

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't have a dream agent for this very reason. I've put my soul, sweat, heart, and life on the line for my story. I want the person who's going to see that, love it, and want the same for my baby that I do. So for now, that person's faceless but they won't always be. Yes, I'll do my research and do it well but I'm also not going to rule anyone out just because I can't "see" them yet.

As always, an excellent post, Elana!

Scott said...

My catchphrase: the agent right for me! Yeah, that's how I look at it! Go figure. I don't think in terms of 'dream agent', just the agent who is righ for me. : ) Great post!

Elle Strauss said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. My agent is my dream because she loves my book, and I thank her for that!

Sandy Shin said...

This is such a wonderful post! I do agree to having a few "dream agents" on my to-query list, but you're right. I won't know until I work with them (if ever) whether they're right for me, and the "right" agent is always the one who loves my work and stands behind it whole-heartedly. :)

Cassandra Frear said...

Oh, I think you are really right on this. A writer needs an agent who has fallen in love with the writing. Period.

IF the writing is authentic to the writer, this is all that is needed.

Carolyn V. said...

I used to have a dream agent, but now that I've been looking around...there are a ton of agents I like. Can I have 20 dream agents?

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

Marietta (Zacker) came to be my agent by chance. Craig Virden was MY dream agent, the one I desperately wanted, and the one I got! Sadly, he passed only one month after I signed. Prior to that, he'd been working with Marietta for the last 8 months. She called me and became my agent. The day I knew SHE was my dream agent was a few weeks later when she called me out of the blue, for no other reason than just to chat. We talked for an hour. In my case, lightning struck twice.

xoxo -- Hilary

Jade said...

There are a couple of agents that I would label 'dream agents' or as I prefer, 'the A-Team'. They're all very different and I've given them this status because of different reasons: client lists, blogs, general vibes.

Despite this, I realise that just because I think they're 'cool' they may not dig my book and that someone else might. But you can't blame a girl for wanting to be with an agent who has the most amazing YA authors as his/her clients either.

My query list has a huge range of agents from those that everyone knows to ones who are little more under the radar, and frankly, I'd be happy with anyone on my list.

Great post.

Melissa said...

Ah, this is a very thought provoking post! I just blogged about having crushes on certain agents:) Anyhoo, I do have one in particular that I would love to have (she's a relatively new agent), but you're right...any agent who loves my book will be the one for me.

St. Catharines, Ontario said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rebecca Knight said...

Elana--I love you! I've been thinking this for months, wondering "is it just me?"

I totally agree that the Dream Agent is the one who is the right champion for your book :). Great post!

Caledonia Lass said...

I have a dream, but it does not involve an agent. I do have to be careful though, because if I get rejected by my dream, I'll be toast. However, this is the first I've mentioned it. I don't focus on it, I don't get irrational over it. I suppose it could be labeled more as a hope rather than a dream. It is a goal, something I know I will accomplish someday.
But I do agree... voicing that you have a "Dream Agent/Editor/Publisher" could do damage. Especially if you do not obtain said dream. I wonder how many would give up right then and there?

Jemi Fraser said...

I tend to be a bit obsessive about agent research too. I've divided agents into categories based on all the genres they sell and where in that list they put "my" genre.

I love your defintion of the dream agent and I'm using it from now on.

Claire said...

Well put post, I like what you had to say about the whole dream agent thing.

I really haven't done any agent searching yet myself as I have a few first draft novels that I'm working on revising. I have been doing some blog and twitter reading of agent postings, but I'm waiting to do more research for when I'm closer to having something ready to send queries for.

Lisa and Laura said...

I love this! Great thoughts as always...

And I agree. The dream begins as soon as those words leave their lips. I LOVE THIS. There is absolutely nothing better than that.

Karen Lange said...

Love this advice. And love your sense of humor (don't get the big head). Thanks for sharing.
Happy weekend,
Karen

Alyssa said...

What a great post! I totally agree. You can't know enough about an agent even with copious amounts of research. You hit it on the head... it's the one who 'gets' your work and loves your story.

So happy you found your dream agent!

Jessie Oliveros said...

Awesome post. Except I'm your 84th comment, and maybe you're getting tired of hearing that. I have been thinking in terms of "dream agent" (and me, with an unfinished book) but you make so much sense. Any agent who believes in my book is my dream agent.

Kelly said...

Excellent post, Elana. I have had a few fleeting ideas in my head about what my dream agent would be like, but what I really, really want is someone who loves my book enough to be my cheerleader. Also, what agent works well for one person, may not work well for another. People, especially the quirky, writer type ;), are so incredibly different. I hope to find a good match soon!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Omigosh, Elana. I swear sometimes you are just the most brilliant person. Don't run and hide. It's true! And this post is SO true and SO important to remember. There are a lot of fabulous agents out there and you can't get hung up on the idea of who you think your perfect match is going to be. Thanks for the reminder!

WindyA said...

This is not to say that everyone is amazing in their own right, but before you really KNOW someone, you have an idealistic view of who that person is. Just because an agent is amazing for one writer does not necessarily mean that agent would be amazing for you. It's like that whole dating thing. Sure that guy across the room is uber-hot and has amazing eyes and is friends with EVERYONE, but that doesn't mean he won't be a complete jerk to you when you finally go out, yanno? And I think it's hard for people to not hold others up on a pedestal sometimes, but it also means you have to know where the line is between reality and your dreams. The cliche doesn't go "in your dreams" for no reason, yanno?

AndriaJ said...

You know what? Thank you so much for that!! because I had a "dream agent" and when she said no, I was crushed. But I am so going to look at it your way.. thanks so much...I hope I can find an agent as amazing and refreshing as yours >=)

Nichole Giles said...

Rejection hurts no matter who it comes from. But you're right on this count. How can you really know who your ideal agent is until you meet him or her? Until you actually interact with them?

This is a great point, and thanks for making it today. And let me just say that any agent who writes email in pink, sounds like a dream to me. I'm all about color.

And don't worry, your stalking secret is safe with me.

Lady Glamis said...

This is a really good post, Elana, and something I needed to hear, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Disagree totally. Dream agent is the one who SELLS YOUR BOOK. And then SELLS THE NEXT ONE.

Elana Johnson said...

Anonymous, so true! I definitely want an agent who sells my books, and many more to come. But pink writing in the meantime is pretty sweet, right? ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear today - considering I just received an offer of rep! It's from an agent I wasn't sure about at first, but after talking and then even meeting in person, it just clicked. And hearing the agent talk about my book made it clear this was the perfect match.

Thanks.

catwoods said...

I'm all about procurring an agent who loves my manuscript. To me, that's more important than what I thought I was looking for before I actually experience to know what I should be looking for.

I don't have one dream agent, I have many agents I would dream about working with.

ajcastle said...

I ABSOLUTELY agree! I don't have a 'dream agent' because like you, my 'dream agent' will be the one who loves my book as much (or at least close to as much) as I do. Sure, there have been agents I've queried that I have thought, 'yeah, I like her personality' (on her blog or Twitter) and 'I like her taste in stories'. But I've never labeled anyone as my dream agent because I don't know who that is yet!

Jan Markley said...

On my blog, I'm profiling my writer friend Jocosa of the Earrings and her quest for her dream agent, Donald Maass. She vowed not to cut her hair until her book is published. I'm about to do another update and see how long her hair is!

Christina Farley said...

I really do like this post. You are right about the dream agent thing. The dream agent is the perfect match for me. I don't know who that is but I always find it interesting the people who like my writing. Something to think about.

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Oh, Michelle Andeleman is great! She requested a full of one of my upcoming books at Scholastic and gave me some of my first great feedback on it and *love*, but it wasn't quite there for her at that time (*about 3 years ago). Still, she was so sweet and fun to email with. SO I definitely think she's one of those *dream* agents. :-)

Yes, your dream agent MUST LOVE AN ADORE YOUR WORK -

BUT!!! Your dream agent must also have LOTS of editor contacts and be very pro-active in submitting your work. There are some agents who do not do this or have many contacts. Strange, but true.

Em-Musing said...

And your blog is my dream blog. You know the heart of the writer.

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