How many agents expressed initial enthusiasm for our project and then just went away? A lot. Each time one acted interested we’d jump up and down and squeal and congratulate ourselves, only to realize as time passed with no further word that once again we’d been had. One agent responded to our query a few days before Debbie was to depart for five weeks in France. He sounded quite ready to take the book and run with it. “Oh no,” said Pamela. “How will we get this done with you out of the country?” No worries! We sent him our proposal and never heard from him again. Another agent actually said she was taking us on, and seemed sincere, but then decided something about the project was not quite right. Unfortunately, numerous emails and phone conversations later, we still could not figure out how to make it right in her eyes.
Then one day late in 2011, James pounced. We were afraid to get excited. Would he prove to be another flash in the pan? Fortunately no. We didn’t hear much from him through the winter, but then one day in the spring of 2012 he sent a little email telling us he had an offer. That was when the real work began.
P.S. Although we both participated in the agent search, one of us is relentless, indefatigable, while the other is sadly fatigable. This is not an O. Henry story: the relentless one is the one who found James. And that is all you really need to know about how to find an agent.