|the first meager, but tasty, harvest|
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
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
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