Debbie Howells

I have an agent!

By on 11th December 2013 in Blog Posts

Monday was the very best day.  One of those really amazing days I’ll always remember.  It began the way it always does – up early, tromp through mud and feed animals, turf teenage son out of bed.
It also happened to be one of the Mondays I volunteer at a hospice – just for a couple of hours.  Just as well, too, because I was nervous and it took my mind off what I was doing later on.

Then, that afternoon, I caught a train and walked along a London street in the cold December sun, to the first of my meetings with two of the agents who had said they’d like to represent me.
I’d already decided that if I got a taxi, I’d be sure to get to the right place at the right time.  You’d think that, wouldn’t you, with a taxi?  I did, only the taxi driver took me to the wrong place, so I was flustered and really, really late, which wasn’t the best start.
But I soon forgot about it, because it was surreal and brilliant and exciting all at the same time, and nerve-racking too – until I met them, because they couldn’t have been more welcoming.

By the end of the afternoon, my head was full to bursting.  I came out of the second meeting and just walked, for ages, in the dark, a bit numb, not having a clue where I was headed.  (I ended up in Waterstones)  Then I walked some more.
(Later that evening, I got a train to Gatwick to meet my daughter Georgie who was flying back from Greece after nearly three months – like I said, it was a great day.)

But back to agents, because all the times I’ve imagined this situation, I never once imagined I’d have a choice.  So, I guessed, if I met with them, depending on how well we got on or what they said about my book, presumably all would become obvious.  Only it didn’t – well, not straight away.

I kept telling myself, that if only one of the agents had offered, I’d have been just as thrilled, so from this enviable position I found myself in, all I had to do was figure out how I was going to decide.  Both had told me to take my time and think about it – very sound advice, because in all the excitement, and it was, hugely exciting, it’s so tempting to make the decision in a hurry.

My first consideration had to be their vision for my book.  I knew it needed polishing and that a professional would see straight away where it could be improved, but that said, I wanted to agree with them.  I’m not precious about my books, but it felt important to be true to my own vision for it too.
But in this instance, that on its own didn’t help me.  Both agents had really valid, constructive comments to make which I mostly agreed with.  Added to that, I could imagine myself working with both of them, too.

After that, I spent a fair amount of time reading about other writers’ experiences.  What both authors and agents had to say about multiple offers.  I looked up the authors that each of the agents I met represented – types of books and what happened when they were submitted to publishers.

Then when I put it all together, I knew what my decision was.  I emailed the agents I’d decided not to go with, which I found really hard, then withdrew one submission who hadn’t got back to me.  Then I picked up the phone.

And so, as of today, I’m completely thrilled to announce that I am now represented by the fabulous Juliet Mushens of the Agency Group!

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