While I’m at the writers conference where I get interest from a fabulous agent about my nonfiction dog book proposal, I also take the opportunity to get feedback on my novel. After all, that’s fun writing too.

My previous contest results for the novel tell me the first chapter isn’t half bad, but so what? I’ve gotta make every chapter sing to the sweet symphony of story. So I go to a walk-in critique with a gal who’d been very encouraging about my writing at the previous year’s conference, and I tell her the storyline. She gives it not only her approval, but some cool tweaks to make it better. Yay!

Then she reads a few pages of the chapter and starts laughing (in a good way). She keeps on reading and chuckling, and every now and again, points out something I can improve.

I’m loving this, but other people are waiting for their turn. I feel a little bad about taking up so much time. I tell the gal it’s fine, she doesn’t have to read it all, but she just says, “No, no. I’m enjoying this.”

All righty then.

She reads more, then finally stops and says nice things to me, but no words could top the compliment of her reading as much of that chapter as she did. I’ve got a big woohoo inside, but I cork it. It’s never cool to shriek weirdly in front of a whole room of people.

I thank her (probably my eyeballs are bulging with that suppressed yippee) and gather my things. Then she asks if I’ve shown it to any editors or agents yet.

“Well, no,” I say. “I didn’t know if it was ready.”

“It’s ready,” she says. “Show it to Karen Ball.”

I blink. Karen Ball? Editor, author, and now an agent with The Steve Laube agency? “I heard she wasn’t taking any new clients.” It’s a conference grapevine thing.

“I didn’t hear that. She wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t taking new clients.”

Huh. This feels like a knuckleball or something. I know of Karen, but I don’t know her personally. “I have a pretty good relationship with Steve. Won’t he feel slighted if I send this to another agent in his agency instead of him?”

“I know Karen, and I really think she’d like this. I would be willing to tell her I’ve sent you.” She says the last sentence slowly, like I’m five.

Ah. Someone is kind enough to give me a coveted referral to an amazing agent, and I argue. Obviously I really am simpleminded. “I’ll definitely talk to her,” I say, because my new super power is stupid-impervious, where I’m incapable of acting on idiotic impulses. “Thank you.”

I walk away still shaking my head. Karen Ball? Never saw that coming.

And what about that grapevine rumor that she isn’t taking clients?


(Read more Agent Story)

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