Being an agent can be frustrating. Amongst all the wheeling and dealing, martinis, and fancy lunches, we also have contracts, editorial disputes, staff changes at publishers, authors on the ledge, overworked editors, and a constantly changing marketplace. Especially as careers mature, much of the day-to-day focus becomes about management and business, and less about discovery and art. And for me, at least, there has been so much business this week. And while I do love that part of my job, it’s not exactly what drew me to being an agent.
But in the midst of all the craziness, two things happened. An author of mine delivered a new work that blew me away. It felt like I was reading her for the first time, and I found myself devouring the pages. When the sample came to an end, there may have been some out-loud cursing her for leaving me hanging. It doesn’t matter who the author is. It actually reminded me that this is how I feel whenever my authors send me something new and exciting–I feel invigorated!
The second thing that happened is I read an article that blew me away. It was investigative reporting with a very personal edge, and it was more thrilling than any novel I’ve read. I rarely read anything over a page long in the middle of my day, but I dropped everything to finish the long piece. While I discovered that this author already had representation (drat!), it again reminded me that the good stuff is always out there waiting for when I’m ready–or even when I’m not. Good writing, even from people who aren’t my authors, is always inspiring.
And that’s why we do what we do. To help give voice to the people whose words invigorate and inspire us. To connect writers with readers, whether on the page or screen, whether through a publisher or directly. So even on the most frustrating day, I can easily say that I love my job. I can’t imagine anything better.