Blog Highlights: So, How DOES It Feel to Send Something to Your Agent?

For the grand opening of this blog, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite blog posts and moments from over the years throughout the month of June.


Week Two: The Writer’s Life





First posted on September 14, 2011

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I sent my second novel, SCARLET, to my agent yesterday. (I’m rep’d by Jill Grinberg, who also reps Scott Westerfeld. It’s been awhile since I mentioned that, but OMG the novelty hasn’t worn off yet. Scott Westerfeld!!)


Anyway, this is the first thing I’ve sent to Jill since signing with her, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about what that’s like. Of course, I won’t speak for all authors as I’m sure every author/agent relationship is different, but for me it was a little scary and a little nerve-wracking, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

Sure, there was that moment of, Oh god, what if she hates it and she regrets signing me and she feels like she’s made a huge mistake?! But I’ve been having those moments since this whole book deal thing came about anyway. They come and go and I’m kind of starting to get used to them, knowing that they always pass.

The biggest fear for me with SCARLET, and with the entire series, is that you never know what anyone is expecting the next books to be like. Of course, my agent and editor and the few people who have already read and enjoyed CINDER loved it for their own reasons and probably have expectations for the next book. So it’s scary to think that it might not meet those expectations, or I might be taking the story in a direction that will leave some readers unsatisfied. It’s a nature of the business and all I can do is write the best book I can and hope for the best, but it’s still nerve-wracking. No matter how many synopses and summaries you write, you just never know what people are hoping for!

So, that part is scary.

However, having an agent to send the book to is also very comforting. It’s not unlike sending something to your trusted beta readers or critique group; you can hope for a nice mix of enthusiasm and encouragement, along with helpful critique and suggestions that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. It lets you know that you’re on the right track, but also what work still needs to be done.

Except an agent is kind of like a beta reader on steroids (except I don’t think my agent is actually on steroids…). Not only does she know and love YA books and have a good ear for storytelling, but she’s also heavily involved in the publishing world. She knows my editor and publisher, she knows the market, she knows the trends. I feel confident that if I’m off the mark with something, she can help guide me, so that when the book goes to my editor I can feel extra confident that she’s seeing the best book I’m capable of.

So – that’s what it felt like for me this first time around. There was a tiny moment of panic, but mostly I was excited and relieved to be sending it on to someone else. And I can’t wait to hear back from her and see what she thinks!

Any agented writers out there want to chime in on how sending the momentous Second Book went for them?