On Writing (Tue 26 Jan, 2016)

The Day Before ‘The Agent Meeting’

 A fortnight before Christmas 2015, I finally signed a contract with my agent.

Whilst I was inwardly celebrating, my day-to-day activities brought me back to reality with a bump.

My husband had left for his usual stint of six weeks working abroad, both my children fell ill with sickness and diarrhoea and my ailing Father (Parkinson’s Disease) needed a great deal of attention having moved permanently out of his home into care home accommodation.

My agent took a week off at Christmas and returned to work at the start of the year.

To give her time to catch up on back-logged e-mails and manuscripts, I called her a week into the new year and arranged to meet.

THAT MEETING IS TOMORROW.

I’ve had my nails manicured and my hair cut for the meeting but, in reality, I think she will be less interested in the French polish and flattering ‘feathering’ around my face, than she will be in my work.

But it’s best to go feeling confident, I think.

Am I nervous?

NO.

In a previous incarnation, I used to be a journalist so am accustomed to meeting and talking to different people.

This skill has set me in good stead for chatting to different politicians, varying Home Secretaries, the odd actor, pop star and sports personality, plus lots of ‘ordinary’ people who have, more often than not, extraordinary stories to tell.

Do I hope we get on?

OF COURSE.

I like the sound of her one the phone and she’s been immensely helpful giving feedback on my material.

But I hope we ‘hit it off’ on a one-to-one basis because we’ll undoubtedly be working closely together at times and it’s much easier to have a successful working relationship with someone you like and respect, rather than fear, distrust or dislike (and I’ve worked with a few of those in my time).

Despite meeting for the first time, tomorrow, I have already tweaked some of my material upon her advice.

Earlier this month, she suggested I consider re-working one of my stories to include counting.

As someone who is not backwards in coming forwards, I stated I hadn’t written it as a counting story – more of an energetic romp.

But, with my listening ears on and brain engaged, she told me this was what my story was missing to make it sell.

Since she is the publishing industry professional with years in the game, as an editor and agent, I thought it wise to take note.

I duly amended my story, with her assistance, and I am hoping that, when we meet tomorrow, she will like the changes I have made.

After all, she told me on the phone: “If you make the changes I suggest, I can virtually guarantee to sell this story for you.”

That’s a big claim, but she’ll want to be confident selling my story to publishers because, if she can’t shift it, she earns no commission.

She gets paid when I start earning so it’s in her interests to make my stories saleable.

And that is why I’m delighted to have finally secured an agent. She’ll be the trainer in my boxing ring, fighting my corner and wanting me to win.

DING, DING. BRING IT ON!

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