First of all, I want to thank you all so much for the support, the congratulations, the confetti, and the exclamation points when I announced my news the other day. Thank you. You're awesome. You're writers. You get it.
The reactions from my family and friends when I told them I have an agent, have been pretty interesting. To be fair, most people didn't know I'd written a book, let alone that I was querying agents, so it's not like I'd really discussed the process with them before.
But one friend said, "Wow. That's great. I wrote a book in 1st grade. Do you think it could get published?" (no joke)
Another friend said, "Well, just make sure they don't screw up the movie version of your book. Learn from JK Rowling and keep control over the movie. Because you really don't want them screwing it up like they did with Percy Jackson." (noted)
A family member immediately started lamenting what a failure she was in life and how she's never accomplished anything. (awkward)
But most people ask the same question, "When can I buy your book?"
And my response is usually something like, "Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves here." or "I'm just trying to take it one step at a time."
But people don't get it. They think I'm being defeatist or self-depracating or pessimistic by not telling them the publication date of my book. So then I try to explain the publishing process and their eyes glaze over. So, I've come up with an analogy to help you out, when your time comes to tell your non-writer friends your good news.
Being an unpublished, un-agented, amateur writer is like being stranded on a desert island. You don't bathe, you eat nothing but nuts and berries, and you spend your time talking to volleyballs. All you want is to go home and sleep in your warm bed (to be published).
So, you light signal fires and spell out "HELP" with rocks on the shore (you send out query letters). But most of the time, you feel like the world is too big and you're too small and you'll never be rescued.
An agent is your rescue. It might be a speedy helicopter or a slow foreign fishing boat with people who don't speak your language, but it's rescue! You're off the island, you're on your way home! You could never get home without this rescue.
Now, just like all rescues are not the same, not all book deals are the same. It might be all you've hoped and dreamed of and you'll sleep soundly in your own bed for the rest of your life. Or you might go home to discover the love of your life has married someone else. Or you might go home only to discover that the island NEEDS you and you have to go back, but when you go back, you go back in time, and the smoke monster kills everyone, and you find out you were all dead all along. What the hell, LOST? I'm still pissed. Anyway, you get where I'm going.
Your agent is your rescue, your life raft, your Coast Guard helicopter. It's not where you want to be yet, but you cant go anywhere without him.