What does a literary agent do?
I'm in the final leg of my novel's journey. Call it, "the pushing stage" for those of you who've had babies. Shortly, my agent will put it out on submission. If you'd have asked me three years ago, "what does a literary agent do?" I'd have answered, "He represents authors to sell their books to publishers." That would have been correct, but far too simplified.
My agent has ELEVATED my writing. The book I queried him with is not the book he is going to cast upon the publishing waters. It's so much better. Tighter. Funnier. Softer. Grabs you faster. Fits more snugly into a genre. And all of this, I hope and pray and beg and beseech the publishing gods, will make it sellable.
Eric has toiled with me on this manuscript. I've been wholly embarrassed at how much work he has put into it on my behalf. I'm new at this. I've thought, "Oh my God, am I SO horrible a writer that I need this much help?" And then I talk to my writer friends who assure me, "We all suck." LOL!
A good agent is a partner in your career and knows both publishing AND writing. If you think an agent is supposed to be your biggest cheerleader, I say, think again. Some of Eric's comment balloons have horrified me in their direct criticism. I can see the smoke coming out of his ears as he types, "WHAT were you thinking here? FIX IT!" If I were a crybaby, I'd have lost it once or twice during the process. Except-- he is always dead on right in his comments. And every change he has suggested has pushed me to become a better writer, so I can give YOU (my readers one day, I hope!) a fabulous book you won't want to put down.
I have a mother who can tell me I'm all that and a bag of chips. I have a husband who has vowed before God to tell me I am wonderful and beautiful and perfect just the way I am. My agent's job is to help me get my MS into shape so that he can do his job, which is to sell the book.
What do you think?