Posted by: Heather Hiestand/Anh Leod

Currently working on: adding some suspense to a romance novel that I’d like to finally finish after, oh, ten or so years.

Just out: Ex Factor by Anh Leod, a sci fi erotic novella at Ellora’s Cave

Waiting on: first edits from an editor at my new publisher

Mood: worried, hungry

When I was first writing I targeted category romance publishers, unlike my critique group, and therefore didn’t query agents because I figured I didn’t need one. My single title writing critique partners seemed to get agents as they finalled in contests, but that never happened to me though I did final in contests at times. When I finally sold a single title novel, I did make a brief attempt to get an agent, and was even offered representation but I turned it down because it didn’t feel right.

Sometimes agents have done wonders for my friends, for their confidence if not for their careers, and some have done nothing but collect a check, or nothing at all. The agent experience seems to be all over the place. They can make you, they can do nothing much, and on horrible occasions they can even break your career.

One thing I think is wise is to keep a ever-updated “Top 5” or “A” list of those agents you’d like to rep you if you ever got your big break. When I got the call unexpectedly only 18 hours after sending in my full manuscript, my only preparation was a list of maybe 4 agents who’d sent encouraging rejections to me in the past, when I’d pursued a different kind of publisher. I wasn’t prepared at the moment my career was hot, and my lack of an agent now reflects that. Be prepared – we’re writers, we’re good at fantasizing, and why not dream through a scenario where you’ve written the hottest partial of 2009 unexpectedly, and your perfect agent will want to rep you. Who is that agent? Figure it out!

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