Marian and I are members of the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG). Simply the best group for female writers, particularly if you write memoir. Since we like to describe LifeBytes as “mini-memoirs” about online dating, the IWWG is especially relevant to us. So each year we eagerly await their “Big Apple Conference”, which is held twice a year and features a day of writing workshops as well as a “Meet The Agents” event.
We enjoy the agent event as it gives us an opportunity to talk face to face with agents, hear their feedback, and then are able to continue to hone our book proposal and pitch. Notice I didn’t say “get agent representation”? Although it’s possible and certainly the goal of all the writers in attendance, we’ve found this to be harder to do than you’d expect.
Most often we find ourselves having to explain the concept of online dating rather than the book itself. I’m pretty convinced that agents don’t get out much. Not understand online dating?? Really?? So about a year and a half ago, we were thrilled beyond words to meet “Ann Thusiasm”, a west coast agent who actually GOT the concept of LifeBytes. We had about four minutes to pitch the book and as we started, her eyes lit up.
“Yes, this is a wonderful idea”, she trilled.
“I appeals mainly to women 25 – 60, but also has a market with single men,” I said.
“That’s PERFECT”. She was beaming. “You could offer a Book-Club edition too!!!!” She literally clapped her hands on that last comment.
We went on with our pitch. She was bobbing out of her seat. At one point she DID stand up and practically shout: “Send me the proposal!!” Women standing in line behind us were visibly impressed. Mariann and I were thrilled…finally, an agent who is not only interested in our property but is Chomping. At. The. Bit. to get her hands on it.
We left feeling happier and more confident that we had in months. We were getting an agent! At the end of the day, we stopped in the ladies room before heading out for a bite to eat and ran into Ann there. She remembered us too.
“Can’t wait to get your proposal!” Beaming smiles all around.
Later that week, we sent everything out in the mail, and waited, and waited, and waited. About a month and a half later, we sent her an email to follow up…no answer. We knew she’d gotten the proposal, we had a return receipt. Nothing. Crickets. No scratch that, even the crickets were silent.
Now, we know that oftentimes agents will only contact you if they’re interested. We don’t like that. We don’t agree with that behaviour (C’mon, how hard is it to send a quick email? Even a canned response is better than nothing.) But seriously, after she practically serenaded us with her own marching band (the one in her head, that only she can hear), we thought a short reply would have been appropriate.
Seriously, I think agents just need to get out and date online for a while.