Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Hello, Dear Readers - and welcome to Agent Appreciation Day here on The Zoë-Trope!

Okay, Okay. I know that the actual, official Agent Appreciation Day is December 11th. But I can't wait that long, so you'll just have to put up with this now. Capice?

Not very long ago (just over a year, in fact) Zolah was in a serious quandry. After having been represented by the same agent since 2007 - and her very first published book - she had been forced to part with her former agency, and was now...gulp...unrepresented.

It's a chilly, alone-in-a-spooky-house sort of feeling to be unrepresented in today's market, Dear Readers. Zolah did not like it. At all. And so she went about trying to get herself a new agent. A confession: she had bookmarked the websites of several top notch agents many long months before the events that caused her to split from her first agent. She liked to sit and gaze at them, and sigh longingly. But actually contacting them was a different thing. Frankly, the prospect was so nerve-wracking that she thought she might throw up a little.

Finally, with shaking fingers, she managed to get herself to dial the number of one of the agents whose website she had been gazing at longingly. And lo! The agent was nice! And friendly! And knowlegible! And interested in reading Zolah's published books!

And Zolah was pleased.

But at the same time, she felt a twinge...just a twinge of anxiety. Because, you see, she had just done exactly the same thing that she did the first time she got an agent. She'd contacted only one agent and agreed to an exclusive submission without talking to any others, something that books and the internet had told her was a very silly thing to do. Even though the agent in question was absolutely lovely, Zolah suddenly felt that she'd repeated a pattern of unprofessional behaviour. But it was too late to do anything about it. Right?

Not so. Soon afterwards Zolah was speaking to her editor about her quandry, and her editor - having pointed out to Zolah very gently the unprofessional thing she had done - recommended that Zolah wait until the limit on the exclusivity period of her submission to that first agent (which was only a week), and speak to at least one other, just to make sure she had explored her options. The editor happened to know a wonderful agent who represented many wonderful authors. Why not speak to her and see how it went?

And so, about a week later, Zolah dialled another agent's phone number with cold and trembling fingers. She had already agreed to meet with the first agent, who continued to be lovely and enthusiastic and everything that Zolah could have wanted, and was really only doing this so that she could tell herself - and her editor - that she had been sensible. She was pretty sure this agent wouldn't be interested in her anyway. This agent represented people that Zolah worshipped on bended knee.

The phone rang. The agent answered.

Something magical happened. Something just...clicked. Within five minutes Zolah was giggling helplessly while, on the other end of the phone, the agent laughed too. The pair talked for about half an hour in the most informal, relaxed way. Zolah barely noticed when she stopped shaking and a sense of contentment and rightness crept over her. She agreed to send this second agent some samples of her work, and hung up with a huge grin on her face.

This agent was The One.

Zolah continued to try to be sensible. She met with that first agent she had contacted, and found her just as marvellous as her reputation had painted her. She spoke to The One again and was thrilled to find that The One wanted her as a client. She sat down and made a list of various factors that she ought to consider in her choice and thought very hard.

But deep in her heart, that decision was already made.

A little while later she signed with Nancy Miles of the Miles Stott Children's Literary Agency. Otherwise known as The One. And occasionally Super Agent.

I shall now move out of third person to say that Nancy (The One, Super Agent) and I have been working together very closely in recent weeks. Stressful things have been going on and I've freaked out a few times. And I cannot believe - CANNOT BELIEVE - how lucky I got when she agreed to be my agent. The levels of support and attention my agent - my agent! whee! - has given me have been completely above and beyond the call of duty and have helped to keep me sane somehow through all the ups and downs and the waiting (the endless, endless waiting).

I have it on good authority that The One (Nancy, Super Agent), being a very busy lady, doesn't read this blog. So I'm not really saying all of this for her. I hope she already knows how much I appreciate her anyway. Today is my Agent Appreciation Day. I need to take a moment to say to the world (and God, Buddha, Allah, The Fates, and anyone else who's listening): THANK YOU.

Thank you for getting Super Agent (The One, Nancy) to actually want me as a client, and stick with me through all this, so that I could finally understand those writers who talk about their agents with such love and respect. Thank you for Nancy Miles (Super Agent, The One).

That's all, World. Back to your regularly scheduled shenanigans.


Cat Clarke said...

What a lovely post! I can verify Nancy's extreme levels of awesome. You are a very lucky writer!

Zoë Marriott said...

Cat: And I *know* it, which makes it even more awesome :)

Jenni (Juniper's Jungle) said...

This is a really lovely post, so glad that everything conspired right to get you together!

Zoë Marriott said...

Thanks, Jenni - it makes a change, usually everything in life conspires to make a giant mess!

Liz Kessler said...

What a lovely post. Lucky both of you to have each other :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Thank you, Liz. I think whenever you've been lucky it's a really good idea to stop and note it, or you can get caught up in other things and forget.

Isabel said...

Awwh! Good for you! <3 Super Agent sounds amazing.

On the topic of agents, (I don't know if I've mentioned this already) my mom has now gotten one for herself!! Hurrah!! :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: Well done to your mum! A good agent really does make all the difference in the world.

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