How I Met My Agent
“New York is a writer’s city.” – Blanche Devereaux, The Golden Girls
Several months ago, I wrote a post called How I Got My Agent, which told the tale of my becoming a client of Stephen Fraser at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency way back in August of last year.
Funny thing about having an agent: unless you live in the same geographic location or cross paths at a writing conference, there’s a chance you’ll never meet him or her. In fact, prior to last week, I had never even spoken to Steve on the telephone. Our entire correspondence had taken place strictly through email. While I have no issue with that (I’m a writer – I’ll take written correspondence any day), there’s still nothing like sitting down with a person, face to face, and having a conversation.
So when I planned a trip to New York City, where JDLA is headquartered, I emailed Steve to see if he’d be up for a meeting. Fortunately, he was! My original goal for visiting the city was to see Kinky Boots on Broadway, because I’m a big fan of Cyndi Lauper (who wrote the Tony-winning score) and seeing the original, Best Musical-winning production sounded like a good reason to make the trek to the Big Apple – a city I’d always wanted to visit but never had yet.
Anyway, once Steve said he’d be available, I packed my bags with now two goals to accomplish on my trip. When the morning of our meeting arrived, I trekked off to the address he gave me, signed in with the doorman (who seemed about as interested in chatting with me as he would a stray cat) and headed up the elevator to JDLA’s third-floor suite.
I recognized Steve from his photograph the moment I stepped off the elevator. It was a small but seemingly bustling floor that the agency shares with other companies. Steve led me to a small conference room where we chatted about things to do in the city, how my trip was going so far, our pasts and personal lives before getting down to business.
As it stands, Blades of Grass is out on its initial run with a few editors to see what kind of response we get. Like querying agents, it’s good to send manuscripts out in batches so if something needs fixing you can do so with plenty of options left for sending it. We should begin hearing back from those editors soon, so let’s all cross our collective fingers and toes.
All in all, I left the meeting feeling quite confident in my standing with Steve as my agent – not that I wasn’t confident before, but, like I said, email only takes you so far. The chance to develop a rapport with someone is best provided in real-time, real-life conversation. I found Steve to be warm, friendly, personable and knowledgeable – and a pretty good restaurant recommender, too.
In fact, if you’re ever in Manhattan and want to know some good places to eat, my traveling companion and I enjoyed all of the following: Patzeria Perfect Pizza, Carve, Daniela Trattoria, Luke’s Lobster, Junior’s Cheesecake, Shake Shack, Magnolia Bakery and Eatery (the last three all Steve suggestions).
Meeting Steve made an already terrific trip all the more enjoyable. My brief stay in NYC was enough for me to fall in love with the city. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever found it harder to say goodbye to a place than I did watching Manhattan shrink in the distance through the rear window of a taxi.
Anybody up for another trip?
P.S. Go see Kinky Boots! You’ll have a good time.
P.P.S. For more photos from my trip, check out my Instagram feed.
One thought on “How I Met My Agent”
I followed your trip on Instagram–FUN! So cool that you got to meet Steve live and in person. I'm meeting Linda (my JDLA agent!) for the first time at the end of January–we're having a client retreat. Yippee!