Monday, January 21, 2013

Searching for Way More Stories 'Cause Now I'm an Agent

Remember how back in May I promised I'd never abandon you? And then remember how I immediately abandoned you?

Yeah, that happened. And since I can't really pretend I haven't been gone for eight months, or maybe blame my departure on a particularly bad case of food poisoning, I'll just 'fess up. I got busy. Stuff happened. I slept a bit.

To be fair, this absence was a lot more justifiable than the first time I callously left to you to the literary wilds back in November 2011. Back then I really had no out. It was the Thanksgiving of my last year in college and I basically just decided to watch YouTube and eat turkey for a few months straight.

This time around, though, a lot happened. I got a personal trainer. I went vegan.* I had a haircut or two. And, oh yeah: I became a literary agent.

No big deal. Except it was. Like, the hugest deal ever.

Shortly before I was hired in August 2012 I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine about pursuing dreams and how badly I wanted to pursue mine.

"I just love literature so much," I said. "I want it to be my career. And I'm, you know--I'm so nervous about whether that's tenable."

"Well, hey," he said, tapping my adorable shoulder. "Don't give up. I'm sure the writing thing will work out for you. And you can fall back on the literary agent stuff until it does."

"What? The literary agent thing is the dream."

"Oh, I thought you wanted to be an artist. I mean...that would be a lot more romantic."

"What could be more romantic than commercially viable fiction?"

"Pretty much anythin--"

"And occasional non-fiction proposals, too."

For many of you, of course, the news of my dramatic ascent--do not contradict me on this--is not new, a fact that I find quite flattering. But for the few people who haven't been avidly following my career, I'll get you up to speed: in December 2011 I began interning with San Francisco-based Kimberley Cameron & Associates, and in August 2012 they hired me as an agent. Above you can see me with my colleague and fellow agent, Elizabeth Kracht.

The hiring was, well, magical. It mostly consisted of my jumping up and down and screaming in a girlish manner while Elizabeth attempted to say something sensible.

My grandmother, who unfortunately for the world is very, very dead, would have been appalled to see the spectacle I made.

"Ethan, collect yourself," I can hear her saying. "You're behaving like some Northumbrian parvenu."

To which I would have replied, "I don't know what one of those words means and you are the weirdest racist ever."

But I digress.

The fact of the matter is that it has been an enormous privilege for me to work with Kimberley Cameron. Under her stewardship I have learned a great deal about publishing and have been given the opportunity to search for many, many stories. Except this time you guys are in on the plot. Before I had to seek out prospective manuscripts through this site and now you send them, by the boat load, to me. It's an arrangement I rather like.

My hope is that the blog, which so many of the hopefuls who submit to Kimberley Cameron have identified with my name, can become a forum wherein I interact with authors, readers, those who have submitted or want to submit, and even those who are just interested in literature. My other hope is that, if authors who have sent us their stories can read regular updates for me, they'll know I haven't forgotten they exist.

Someone set up a page on Query Tracker to keep tabs on me, and one of the commentators--yes, I totally am that person who reads his own comments, so don't talk smack on me because I will so know about it--recently said, "It seems like we're a mob of people waiting outside these high iron gates. And waiting to see which select few get allowed inside."

Maybe I'm just sappy, but something about that really struck me. It's so incredibly difficult to lay your hopes out for someone else's scrutiny, to know that a word from them could make your dreams come true or put everything on hold. I get that. I've been there. And having that authority is a responsibility that I, and everyone at Kimberley Cameron, take seriously.

We read every query. We evaluate every project. And while it may take more time than we'd like--my inbox looks like the Amazon rain forest--we eventually get to everyone. But you know, feel free to prod us. Feel free to ask me questions, here or by e-mail. And feel free to query! Send your goodies to

Over the, ever, I guess, I'll be keeping you in the loop about my professional escapades and responding to any questions you have. I am also considering offering editing services--which you will make use of at your peril, though that is for another post--and, provided I can make the time, will post details about that soon.

So, good writing and good reading and thanks for hanging on! If you're there. Which you're probably not. I mean, it's been eight months. Oh, well. At least now I'm returning to blogging as a mature and seasoned publishing professional.

*I'm not actually a vegan.