Industry wisdom says the relationship between a writer and her literary agent should be like a good marriage: it needs chemistry, support and excitement. I guess that means I'm on the honeymoon because I just got a new agent a couple of months ago. That's one of the writing life's great "ups": finding an expert in the business who loves your work.
I'm feeling especially up because at our wonderful PASIC conference last weekend I sat down over a glass of wine with my new agent and we talked about all kinds of things, including my writing. She took me on as a client on the strength of an unpublished book which I adore; it's about a hockey goalie and a poet. Not only that, the poet is seven years older than the hockey goalie. This manuscript won PASIC's Book of Your Heart contest which I was especially thrilled by because it truly is a book of my heart.
However, I wasn't sure why my new agent had been drawn to it so I asked her point-blank. Now it may seem as though I was simply fishing for compliments. Not true (although compliments are always most welcome)! Readers may enjoy a book for many different reasons, some of which will surprise an author. It was important to me to find out what my agent saw as the strengths of my work so I can play to those and know what sort of projects to develop in the future. I also wanted to make sure that she wasn't going to expect something from me that I wasn't interested in duplicating in my next books.
I was thrilled--and relieved--to hear that she loved the same things in EMPTY NET that made it so special for me (most especially the hero!). Now I know she and I are truly on the same page (go ahead and groan at the pun). I can write what brings me pleasure with no shadows of doubt creeping across the computer screen. Whew!
Since we're talking about agents, what else do folks on this blog feel is important in an agent-author relationship?