Monday, May 19, 2014

Finding a new best friend

the first meager, but tasty, harvest
In spring, a young woman's thoughts turn to fancy...or, wait, it's fancies, though, in my case, it wasn't a romantic sort of fancy. 

There are many similarities between looking for a literary agent and looking for a spouse/life-partner. You want someone who not only complements you (not compliments you, though that is nice too) - whose strengths help to support you in areas where you're weak, and who gently, though firmly, guides you away from metaphoric rocky shores where you might make a terrible wreck of yourself - but also whose presence brightens your day and who gets you, maybe not all the time, but overall and in general.

For my spouse, I also wanted someone who can cook, but that wasn't applicable to my agent search. ;)

In all honesty, while there were a few agents whose personalities seemed interesting and endearing enough, from what I could gather online, I never really had a dream agent, or agents, like other writers I know. Just like when I was in the market for a significant other, I trusted that I would know when I met The Right One. My gut instincts have rarely steered me wrong (though I admit to having been fooled by some highly skilled sociopaths). I suspect my not having had a "dream agent" previously was because, at that point, Ella was not yet an agent, but an editor.

Like a dutiful writer, I submitted regularly, albeit not profusely, to agents and editors. Joining Julie Hedlund's 12x12 Challenge was an excellent investment that forced me to submit since I paid for a gold membership that comes with access to agents who agreed to give 12x12 members a fair reading.

12x12 also proved fateful because that's where I first met [insert superlatives...yes, I'm making you work] Ella Kennen. I gave the nitty gritty fun and exciting details of how I came to be signed by Ella at the blog of my dear friend, and partner in the Penguin Posse critique group, Sylvia.

For this post, I'm going to sing praises of Ella. If only I had taken music lessons for longer than one year of piano and two years of ukelele (don't laugh) - 12 years of choral singing didn't teach me too much about music - I would compose a song and literally be able to sing her praises.

Ella's effervescence, wittiness, and easy going demeanor belie her deep insightfulness and thoughtfulness. Besides being a brilliant editor, she is also knowledgeable on a variety of topics, and is a staunch champion of ideals I hold dear, such as human rights and homeschooling.

I already knew, from myriad of emails, PMs, and DMs I had exchanged with Ella, that she and I got along well (see the second paragraph about complements). When we had our first Google Hangout, we spent a good bit of time giggling while taking care of the more serious business side of things. That was when I knew that Ella, even if she never became my agent, was someone that I'd let into my small circle of trusted and best friends.

It's a thrill to get an agent, for sure, but it's a much, much bigger thrill when the agent is as honorable, caring, and intelligent a person as Ella is. Tangentially, Chinese and Klingons both like to talk honor; I'm still waiting on the genetic results to tell me if I'm part Klingon.

So, dear Ella, here's a toast to a beautiful friendship and an agent-client relationship! xo
Sparkling wine courtesy of the Penguins who gave me this delectable gift basket:
And, a shout-out to sweet Catherine who made a congratulatory video for me. :)

I hope May has been as rewarding a month for you as it has been for me!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams