We left my conference story at the point where I’m supposed to introduce myself to a complete stranger (Ms. Super Agent), tell what happened at my critique session, and ask for a fifteen minute appointment with this woman who’s been a fiction editor for years and years, authored books which got endorsements from people like Karen Kingsbury and Francine Rivers, and is now an agent at a well-respected agency.
Uh, no, I’m not intimidated at all.
I don’t see Karen at dinner, nor after. But I do see Steve Laube, head wrangler at The Steve Laube Agency, where Karen is an agent. Since I know him, and he’s given me advice on projects in the past, I tell him the story of my critique session and ask if he’d be offended if I go to Karen. He proceeds to tell me how great she’d be for me if I were going to write fiction.
Okey dokey. No worries about Steve being offended. For all I know, he’s trying to get rid of me in a nice way. He certainly knows Karen will shoot me down if my writing doesn’t cha cha across her funny bone.
One piece of data I have about Karen—She loves words. So do I. But I don’t know if she’ll love my words.
I finally track her down, tell her the story without looking too stupid (mostly), and she gives me an appointment time for the last night of the conference. I have two whole days to stew. Yay.
Meanwhile, there’s still another agent there—Mr. NY Times Agent—who’s interested in my nonfiction dog book. I fill him in on what’s going on, because suddenly I feel like I might just become a legitimate fiction writer as well as a nonfiction writer. Is that cool with him?
He says he’s okay with it, but acknowledges that his skills and interest lean more toward nonfiction. Then, because he’s a sincerely great guy, he tells me how amazing Karen would be for someone who writes fiction. Yoda, I think he called her.
Later, the gal who critiqued my novel finds me and asks if I’ve talked to Karen yet. I tell her we’ve got a meeting set up, and she proceeds to tell me what a great agent Karen would be for me.
All righty then. God is clubbing me on the head. (He knows I need that type of instruction).
I finally meet with Karen. It’s late, we’re both tired, but she gives me her full attention. I’m honored, and I try not to ramble or forget what I’m saying halfway through a word.
Then she starts reading my novel.
Or possibly her asthma is kicking in.
No. It’s laughter. Good sign.
She really busts out at my very favorite line seven pages in. There’s a click of rightness in my soul. She gets me.
Then she looks up at me and says, “Okay, I love it. Now let me see the nonfiction.”
That goes just as well, and she asks about the manuscript status of each.
“The dog book is written,” I say. “But it needs a serious revision. The novel is more than half done. The trouble is, I don’t know which one to finish first.” Naturally, agents want a completed manuscript before they’ll consider whether to offer representation.
I also tell her about Mr. NY Times Agent. He knows about her, after all.
“Well, I’m very interested in you,” she says. “Email me and keep me posted.”
We walk outside to go our separate ways.
“You know,” I say, “I’m really encouraged. I keep asking God for signs to make sure he wants me to stay on this writing path. I guess this is a sign.”
She looks me right in the eye. “Humor is hard. Few people can do it well. You have a gift.”
That moment freezes in time for me. It’s like a message from God.
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