Friday, April 29, 2005

Still the Same Girl You Were Before

Today was a watershed moment in my life as a creative person. I signed my first book contract: three copies for three books. Now, I have been paid to write before in my lifetime—a screenplay, movie reviews, reference work—but this marks a new era. I am now a contracted novelist. But the funny thing? As I signed each contract copy, adrenalin surging, I thought of my clients, those authors whose book deals I’ve negotiated, and their own first "golden moment." Today I stood in their shoes, an experience of supreme empathy.

With every passing day in this writing venture, I become more convinced that I’ve embarked on a kind of Agent Gal Learning Lab. Each step, each new milestone in the process, signifies an event that I’ve seen previously from the other side of the desk. A perfect example: only a few hours after packaging up my contracts, I again thought of my clients when my editor emailed, letting me know that she needs character descriptions because cover conference for my book is coming up in about a week. Cover! Squeal!

So I sat here at my laptop, thinking about the hero of my book, wondering if a single description I’ve written *truly* captures the way I see him. Not that I expect my Cover Adonis to actually resemble my hero, mind you, but wouldn’t it at least increase the odds if I’ve managed to describe the poor fellow properly? It’s all up to me. The block of stone is in my hands, and I must now find the figures trapped within it. All the times when some author’s cover has been butchered. All the times when I’ve argued about some incorrect image or concept. And now, for the very first time, I can know for myself the excitement of awaiting a first cover—everything is still wide open.

Did I fight for my clients before? Yes, always. Was I empathetic and caring? I definitely believe so. But there’s value in seeing this business from as many angles as you possibly can. Today, I took a first step in a new direction—one which I believe will ultimately strengthen my agenting skills. And in the meantime, I sure am having a blast along the way!


Gena Showalter said...

I totally agree! I love that you are an agent and a writer. You've always been my biggest support system, and it is so, so wonderful that you know what I'm going through and have such a deep understanding. I think your book deal (and all those to come!) have taken you to the next wonderful level of agenting!

Anonymous said...

I'm so thrilled for you. I can't wait to read your book when it comes out ... which will be when? I look forward to signing my first contract, too!

God bless,

Jeanne Damoff said...

This is an exciting time in your career, Deidre! Who says the "chef" has to go hungry? I agree -- you'll be able to better serve your clients, now that you've pulled up a chair and tasted the feast. :)

Hugs. And bon apetit!

Deidre Knight said...

I'm so blessed to have such WONDERFUL clients. :) Thanks, guys, for the well wishes. It feels so terrific knowing I've got you all behind me.