Agent ‘Deals’ and IKEA Meals

20 January 2010
Today I declined an offer from an agent. A few agents have been responding to me lately. Two of them said no. Another said something like, “There’s no way I would represent something like that.” Another agent said she wasn’t taking new clients at this time, and another turned me down due a family crisis that suddenly put a moratorium on her work.
But, among others, I received an email from one agent who said she loved the sample chapters I sent her. She said my story needs to be told – it needs to be “out on the shelves” to use her words. She then began to detail all the work my book need, from an editing standpoint. I’m fine with this, because I know the book isn’t perfect; I know it’s too long. But then she said that it needs to be edited and that we will need to do this before sending it out to publishers. Oddly, she next tried to preempt any objections I would have to this. Then she said that she also works as an editor (isn’t this my lucky day?) and that she’d be willing to edit my book. She asked me to let her know if this sounded good to me and, if so, she would respond with her fees.
So I thought about this for several days. To me, this sounds like a conflict of interest. If she makes money off of her clients by editing their books, where’s the incentive for her to make money marketing the book?
Today I replied by saying (in part):
“I am reluctant to hire an agent as my editor. Many sources warn of agents who make their living editing their clients’ books. It seems that in generating income in this manner, agents are less aggressive in seeking a publisher for their clients. … I will pass on your offer to edit for the time being.”
For several hours after writing this email, I fretted that I’d done the wrong thing. “Maybe I just shot myself in the foot,” I said to myself (I use clich├ęs when I talk to myself). When I got home this evening, however, there was an email waiting for me. In its entirety, it read: “okay; thanks for getting back to me.”
Yep, that was the whole message, complete with a non-capitalized ‘o’. When I read this email, I knew I’d made the right decision.

21 January 2010
Owen was very interested in the new calendars we hung up at the beginning of the year. He made me pick him up and answer all sorts of questions about the calendar, like: “What does that say?” (He asked that in reference to “New Year’s Day,” written on January 1). He asked why there was nothing written on the 21st, and I just shrugged my shoulders and said: “I don’t know, there’s just nothing special going on that day.” He asked if we were going to do anything, and I said: “Well, I’ll probably go to work, and you’ll go to preschool.” He then announced: “We are going to IKEA that day.”
“Oh really?” I asked.
“Yes. Write it on the calendar, okay?”
So I did.
Then he asked me to write down that we were going to go at 5:30.
So I did.
And that’s what we did today.
Well, pretty close, at least. We showed up at IKEA at about 5:10, so we were a little early, but we stayed past 5:30, so I’m sure he was fine with it.
We ate dinner in the IKEA restaurant. We explored the toy section, and then looked for a bigger bed for Owen. Then we went downstairs and bought him an ice cream.
That is all for today.

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