The text read, “I heard back.”
Heard what? Anxious questions skittered across my brain, is it yes, no, maybe? I immediately dialed her number to find out exactly what was going on.
One of my closest writer friend’s answered on the second ring, and confirmed great news. She was signing with a literary agent, and not just any agent, but mine. We shrieked and hooped and hollered like teenagers for several minutes. Giddy doesn’t begin to describe our excitement.
You see, getting an agent feels like trying to establish credit, at least before credit cards were issued to anyone who could sign their name. When my husband and I were starting out, you almost had to have credit to get credit. We bought our first microwave from a furniture store willing to set up a monthly installment payment plan. We paid faithfully, then graduated to a couch and love-seat. Until finally, after forty-eight nerve-racking days, our bank approved our car loan application. We felt like we’d won a lottery. Except lotteries weren’t legal back then either.
I don’t know if it’s always been this hard to sign with a reputable agency, but these days it feels like you must already have a bestseller, or at least a huge speaking platform, before a credible literary agent will look at you. It can take years of refining your craft, making the rounds at writer’s conferences, and emailing stacks of queries. The investment of time, energy, and money stack up. Until for many, head hung in defeat, they quietly give up the dream. My friend was close to this choice, only two months ago.
We met in Branson, midway between our homes in Missouri and Arkansas, for a self-imposed two day writer’s retreat. Shortly after my arrival, guilt pricked my heart. I was on a high from the evening before. An agent from WordServe Literary had agreed to look at my work. This was huge! And it came from one of those special moments where you aren’t really looking for something, and voila, God sweeps in, and says, “Here, let me give you a gift.” But my friend was in a different place.
Where I was delighted, my friend was disappointed. After twelve years of effort, fatigue, discouragement, and doubt pummeled her ambitions, and she tottered on the brink of defeat. She said, “In a couple of weeks, we’re going to another conference, and once again, I don’t have a proposal to take.”
Being a natural coach, I said, “Then let’s get to work.”
She argued, “But you didn’t come down here to do this.”
“No, but you need help, and God’s sent me to give it.”
And so we began. After two days, my friend was rolling. She’d written a lot of the material before, but just needed to format it into a book proposal template. So when we parted ways, she’d caught some of my excitement and in her computer, the template was 3/4 of the way done.
After we got home, we emailed our projects back and forth, editing for each other, encouraging each other, and infusing each other with our dreams. We were both on a roll. A week after my return, I received an email, the agent wanted to sign me. Woo-Hoo! Except for one thing, my writer friend. I felt bad. She’d been at this for a lot longer than me, and somehow it didn’t seem fair. My heart ached for her, as much as it pounded with exhilaration for myself. This was October.
We went to the conference, my friend took her finished proposal, and there was interest. She submitted it to two publishers who asked to see it. And then she contacted my agent.
Over the next few weeks, we prayed together. We asked God for His will, and thanked Him in advance for good news. We trusted in faith together. And we waited.
Until these past couple of days, when we saw evidence of our faith, the thing we couldn’t yet see become visible. My friend and I are now represented by the same agent. For those of you who aren’t writers, it might not seem like a big deal, but I promise it is. An agent takes so much pressure off of you. An agent has access to contacts you can’t reach. An agent partners with you, and affirms that a project idea is either great or not so great.
And because my friend and I have the same agent, we are a chord, intertwined by the hand of God, so that when one falls into discouragement, the other can lift her up. We all have days where we question ourselves, and we need someone to help dig up the dream, or to catch theirs. Dreams mean action, they should not be buried in a dusty closet.
Today I’m grateful to catch the joy of my friend’s dream. What a great Christmas gift.
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
Romans 8:31 (NIV)
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri.