The nuts and bolts of the writer’s toolbox
During the DFW Writer’s Conference writers had a chance to register for a ten minute scheduled appointment to sit down and pitch a piece of their work to an agent. But for first time writers sitting down with an agent for the first time is a heart pounding, stomach flipping experience. I know. I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Laurie McLean, of the Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents, about one of my literary works.
I had known for a couple weeks which agent I was meeting with. I didn’t feel nervous until the day of my appointment. At fifteen minutes before my appointment I stood outside the room, waiting to be ushered in for the actual sit down had my stomach doing back flips and my heart racing like a galloping horse. I wasn’t alone, nor was I the first to arrive. Other writers were waiting for their turn with their chosen agent. Some were nonchalant, others dressed up for it like an interview, and in a way it was. I spent the entire time telling myself that regardless of what happens I’ll still gain the experience of talking to an agent—all the while hoping that my idea, my story would be up to par. I had a list of rules for myself that changed constantly. Don’t babble, don’t be an idiot, be yourself, no don’t be yourself, talk about it like this, no this.
Walking toward her I felt a little light headed, telling myself that I had a strong story and berating every weakness within the pages, both imagined and real. As I sat down she smiled and said “I like your hat, you must have known to stand out.” I hadn’t been told that, or if I have I don’t remember. “Really,” I answered, stupidly. But it made me less nervous and more confident. After the ten minutes were up, which felt like two minutes to me, it was over. She wanted to see some of my work, not the entire thing, but that didn’t matter to me. All I knew was that someone wanted to read something that I had stressed and sweated over.
So when I arrived home I emailed her what she asked for. Now comes the nerve wracking part. Waiting the six to eight weeks to see if she wants more or isn’t interested, just another step in the publishing process. The entire time telling myself that whatever happens I’ll have learned something new and all the while hoping my characters, my story will be up to par.