“How do I get an agent?” It’s probably the number one question I get asked about writing and publishing.
There are a lot questions about publishing. Like, how is it that these multi-national, multi-million dollar manufacturing concerns still, in the 21st century, do not advertise their products? Why are business decisions in publishing largely made by people hired for their aesthetic judgment and no business training? Why is there no Billboard-like public accounting of actual book sales? Why is it that no writers actually work at the publishers, as such, despite the fact that they generate all the product the company sells? (Imagine a car company that didn’t advertise, who kept sales a secret, whose business decisions were made by the administrative staff and no one who actually made cars worked there.)
Questions about publishing go on and on and my answer to most of them is: I have no idea.
I do know however how to get, or rather how I got my first, literary agent representation.
I moved to Los Angeles in the mid-nineties after my life had been leveled by a homophobic co-worker at the ad agency where I’d worked in South Carolina. With nothing to lose I thought, what the hell? I hadn’t actually intended to be in advertising anyway. What to do? Well, Thelma and Louise came out that summer and I already had a convertible. I didn’t have anyone to ride with and I skipped their Grand Canyon detour. I got behind the wheel and drove. The 20 starts in Florence, South Carolina, merges with the 10 in Texas and ends at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica on the west side of LA.