My writer friends warn me that I should never talk about how I got my literary agent.
Because I didn’t have to go through the hell they went through, and they assure me I’ll be jumped if I tell the story.
You see, I was lucky enough to — as William Goldman put it in Adventures of the Screen Trade — jump past all the shit.
Years ago, I won an international screenwriting competition sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences that opened up all the Hollywood doors and got me a screen agent. The next thing I knew I had a deal at Showtime and life was good.
Fast forward as my career took a slow, steady nosedive and I wound up writing cartoons. And I don’t mean The Simpsons.
When that finally dried up (taking my desire to write along with it), I shuffled around for awhile, wondering what I was going to do.
My screen agent left agenting, became my manager for awhile, then finally moved on. After a couple more years of banging my head against the wall with a new agent, I decided screw it and went out and got a nine to five job, figuring I was done with writing for good.
Oh, if only it were that easy. As the writers in the crowd know, you’re not done with writing until it’s done with you and before I knew it, I started to get the bug again. So I finally wrote the novel I’d always been threatening to write — working sporadically over the next three or so years until it was done.
Once it was finished, I thought I had something pretty special, hoped I wasn’t deluded, so I contact my former agent — the first one who had quit agenting while I was still her client.
You see, this former agent — whom I’ll call Marion (mostly because that’s her name) — had a LOT of connections, and I figured if anyone could help me get representation for the book, it would be her.
So I sent her an email, asking if she’d be willing to read the book. She answered immediately and said, “Of course.” I fired off the manuscript and a week later she called me and said, “Do you mind if I send this to a friend of mine in New York?”
Well, that friend happened to run Trident Media Group and a couple weeks later a hot young agent there — whom I’ll call Scott Miller (mostly because that’s his name) — called me and said he’d like to represent me for this book “and anything else you want to write.”
About three months later we had a deal with St. Martin’s Press.
You see why my friends warn me not to tell this story?
Please don’t jump me.
Believe me, I’m not gloating when I tell it. I’m a very lucky, lucky guy. But if anyone thinks I didn’t pay my dues, be assured that I spent many, many years getting kicked around in Hollywood, so I paid my fair share.
(And the great thing is, is that I’ve been able to return the favor, so to speak, by recommending a couple of writers to Scott)
So what’s this got to do with anything?
The REASON I’m telling you all this is because that aforementioned agent — Mr. Miller (is that really his name?) — has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us, and give us some insight into the agenting process.
Before he can do that, however, I need a nice, fresh set of questions to ask him. So I want to ask YOU what YOU’D like me to ask Scott. I’ll cull the best questions, talk to Scott and do a nice little write-up about him next time.
So imagine this: You’re an aspiring writer. If you could sit across from one of the hottest agents in New York (meaning you-know-who), what would you ask?
In the meantime, I’d love to hear “how I got my agent” stories from the writers in the crowd. Everyone’s way in is different.
Until next time…