Failing Writer #5.

I’ve decided that having an agent is like dating a girl that is way too pretty for me. As my book went out this past week to acquisition editors at houses from Little, Brown to Random House to Tyrus to Soft Skull, I started getting weird again.

What if one rejects me?

What if they all reject me?

What if none of them even read the manuscript?

But then there’s my agent. That’s her job. She’s supposed to love my new draft, pique the editors’ interests, get them to read and read quickly, get them to respond.

And so I wait. For her. Every day.

I wait for her phone call, for her email, for her message. I wait to hear that she loves me, that she loves my book, that it made her laugh and cry and look at the world through yellow-tinted sunglasses. I want her to say that my book is the most attractive book she’s ever represented, that I’m the best client she’s ever had, that any editor would be a fool not to love me.

I want her to say I’m marketable. I have an attractive cover. My blurbs are sexy. My editing smells clean.

I want her to think only of me, focus on me, disregard everyone else.

But she’s an agent. And an agent is a pretty girl. A scary girl. A Lolita.

While I sleep, my agent reads through her slush pile hoping to find new writers, other writers, to lure them in with her offers of huge book deals, numbers with naked zeros rounding seductively behind.

Naturally, I’m nervous to tell her about other emerging writers. What if she loves Benjamin Percy or Miranda July more than me? What if she acquires them? What if their prose feels like a hot shower? What if they have structure that startles like a car accident? Dialog like silk on the skin?

And so I wait while trying not to be waiting. I force myself not to check my email. Don’t look at my message machine. Don’t listen for the sound of my ringer.

Because, I say, I don’t care. She may be prettier than me, but she’s chosen me. She’s picked me out of the pile of manuscripts and given me a contract. She’s attracted to me, right? She loves me, right?

I’ll even pretend that it’s monogamous.


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