what am I looking for?

Last night over dinner I was thinking about the 3 new clients I’ve signed up this year and trying to figure out what they had in common. I had it in mind that this would let me more easily and more accurately answer the oft-asked question of what I was looking for in terms of new projects to represent. Unfortunately, I think I ended up disproving the thesis that there was much in the way of commonalities. The most I came up with is that all the writers had been previously published by a professionally recognized magazine or publisher and they all live in coastal states. The fact that they had previous publications probably got them some notice, but I still had to fall in love with the new projects so I don’t think it’s a final determining factor either. And, I don’t think the geography made much of a difference since my other clients live all over the U.S. and even in other countries. So much for this idea.

The list of things they do not have in common was much longer:

* They write in different genres covering speculative fiction, romance, young adult and mystery.
* One came by an in-person introduction, the other by a written referral, and the third through the query system.
* They do not all have the same gender.
* I’ve met one of them in person, but not the other two (yet).
* They live in different states and not even all on the same Coast.

I thought about asking them their sign, their favorite color/food/drink, and their marital status but decided that those really weren’t relevant factors or indicators as to what drew me into taking on their projects. And I can’t think of any other variables that were similar that I could take into account, though I’d be open to suggestions as to what additional aspects one should consider when assessing this question.

I suppose they have one more thing in common — me. And hooking me as a reader. Because I loved their writing, their characters, and their stories, even if I can’t form a thesis about where they intersect other than in my own head. This didn’t turn out to be as helpful as I had hoped. Back to the drawing board….

8 responses to “what am I looking for?

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you can’t confine what you’re looking for to an easily listed series of criteria.
    Then again, I like weird.

  2. It is probably good that you don’t pigeon-hole yourself. If you had only one interest, you might be boring. And, if a certain genre was all you looked at, it would mean the stories, and not the artists themselves, held your attention. If ever I find an agent, I hope that person will be a friend and an advocate for my talent, and not be loyal only as long as I stayed in the same genre. That would mean I’d be trapped to never evolve, which a writer must to truly make a career of it. I suppose the truth uncovered by your soul searching, is that you are a good agent, capable of representing the work in whatever form it appears.

  3. Moving to Florida
    I am moving to Florida. Do you think it will help? I think you are a great agent that cares about want-to-be authors out here. I hope you never let that great heart of yours forget it.
    Johnny Ray

  4. Your new clients
    Hi Jennifer,
    I’m so happy to be one of the three! Look forward to writing great stuff and meeting you in person.

  5. It seems to me that all audiences want is a great book. The author can write about anything from psychopaths to sweethearts; as long as they do it very, very well, it will sell.
    So it doesn’t surprise me to hear an agent say the only thing they’re looking for is a great book. 🙂

  6. As one of the three, I just want to go on record to say that I was glad to be found and grateful that Isaak, Rudolfo and the Gang resonated with you.
    Oh, and I’m a Cappy. Oddly enough I share a birthday with Clark Ashton Smith. 🙂

  7. Okay, well now I HAVE to comment…
    Not having a LiveJournal account, I’m stuck posting (semi)anonymously, but I can’t be the only one of the three not to comment! As far as additional metrics go, I can single-handedly rule out natural grace and a lovely singing voice. And it goes without saying (except here I am saying it, aren’t I?) that I’m delighted we three intersect, if only in your head.
    -Chris

  8. Now the real bugger of all questions is not what they have in common but what key decisions originally sparked their interest in writing then later to submit to your doorstep. It’s not the destination that is the question — rather the journey 😉

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