Today’s my cutoff day to bring you a new post, because I promised myself that I would write here no less than once a week, and today’s my self-imposed deadline, and it’s only now that I’m realizing the trouble with this entire perpetual weekly deadline concept is that while sometimes it works out, sometimes you just stare at your computer and type “Crappo crap crappety crap crap crap,” because you’ve just deleted your last nine bad ideas and nothing seems like the right thing to write about when you’re hungry and you’re busy and your hair is not looking so great today and you got a parking ticket the other day that was kind of totally your fault but maybe you’ll try to contest it (GAHHH I HOPE NONE OF YOU WORK FOR THE PHILADELPHIA PARKING AUTHORITY) and the “Title (Optional)” field in the blog post is just taunting you because honestly, titling your blog posts really ISN’T optional, in my humble opinion, so you sit and you try and come up with something reasonably cogent to share with the world before you’re late for your book group that you just barely managed to finish the book for and OH CRAP i’m definitely late AND I forgot to pick up wine CRAP CRAP CRAP.
And then you start to wonder if you’re actually really a writer at all or just some delayed adolescent human body with troll hair, pounding on your laptop keys like those monkeys in the David Ives play, and just as you’re in this horrible spiral of doubt and self-deprecation you remember that you just signed with a literary agent who apparently thinks you’re better at selecting words and placing them together in various ways than other people, so maybe everything in the world isn’t the total fucking worst.
(Her name is Beth. I really like her. I traveled to Brooklyn to meet her this weekend and made the mistake of ordering a sandwich on a massive baguette at a Very Important Business Meeting and tried to explain that a) I wasn’t really sure what a literary agent does, exactly, or b) I wasn’t totally sure that she was the right agent for me, but she answered my questions really well while I was attempting to unhinge my jaw like a snake as russian dressing dribbled onto my sweater, so I guess if she could walk away from that still thinking I was someone who could feasibly write a book, I suppose I can try to imagine that I am feasibly someone who can write a book).
So yeah. That’s kind of cool. I have an agent, and she thinks I can write a book, so I guess I’m going to write a book. I don’t know what it’s going to be about just yet. But I’m going to write a book.
(Check in with me on that in like a year, ok? Because I’m SUPER late for this book club.)
(Is it really lame that I took a picture of the paperwork on a table with an empty latte mug in the background? Yeah. That’s probably super lame. Sorry. I’m just excited).
Edit: For point of clarification, mostly because I didn’t know this either before I sat down with this agent — (aka: hold the champagne toast, ya’ll….)
An agent and a book deal are two very different things. A book deal means you’ve written a book (or a book proposal), and a publisher is like, “Sweet! Let’s make physical copies of this and distribute it to bookstores and Amazon! You can write words and we will print them on paper, and we will pay you some money!”
An agent is basically saying, “Hey! I think you COULD write a book! You should do that! I will help you with the proposal, and then I will tell publishers about how awesome it is and sell them on you and your book! I am a terrific resource who wants to see you do well, and wants to sell your work to people who can pay you, and, by extension, me!”
So while this is a big deal and I’m really excited about it, it’s not the same as saying “I’ll have something for you to buy on Amazon in three months!” I’m saying “I need some time to figure out what to write about, and I have someone who believes in me who wants to help me get there. It might never sell because publishers aren’t interested, and that would suck, but I would be okay. I’m just excited that someone who reads books for a living thinks that I have what it takes to write one, and wants to help me on that journey.”
So by all means, let’s pop some champagne! ….. to celebrate this step in the process, before the real work starts.