The Agent: Natural Born Advocate
Written by
The Agent
May 2010
Written by
The Agent
May 2010
Erin Hosier's having a spirit attack So I totally sold the book last week. I am so relieved for myself and thrilled for the author! Practicing The Secret, or my half-assed version of it—allowing myself only positive mental imagery related to agenting instead of the tendency to avoid my Depression-related-depression with hypersomnia—seemed to work. All in all, I've been trying to be a lot more positive lately. Last year, for her birthday, I gave my colleague Betsy a framed rusty razor blade which she exhibits prominently on her desk. (We'd been going through a really rough time at work, and um, have always shared a dark sense of humor.) So you could say my newfound sunshine is kinda noticeable around the office. What's my secret (besides The Secret?) Some people in publishing have their Yale Club membership, an MFA from Iowa, a ton of war stories from their days in the bunker at Doubleday. But I have a unique past that I draw from when times get tough. When I was in high school, I was a cheerleader for four years. People thought it was kinda weird then and they find it strange if I mention it now. I guess I didn't fit the mold of what the high school cheerleader should be (what with all the pink hair dye and riot grrl mixtapes). But to me it made perfect sense. I am a born advocate—it's simply what I do best. I can whip you into a frenzy about something you didn't know existed 5 minutes ago, and I can pick you up off the field if you've just experienced a crushing loss. I can take what you've done in 300 pages and explain it to the uninitiated in three or four sentences. I'll write the letters, I'll organize the pep squad, I'll choreograph the dance routine, and I'll paint your name across my chest until the season ends and it's time to move on. This is what I did for the Berkshire Badgers, and it's what I will do for your book. SWers, where did you come from? What were you like in high school? Does who you were then reflect what you're like now? How has that shaped your role in the writing world?

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  • J. A. Carlton

    I was goth before it was Goth. I wrote stories suffused with darkness and angst. Protagonists antagonized unjustly who found through friends and families of choice the will and desire to persevere and triumph over adversity. Until a writing teacher told me no one would ever want to read a book like that written by a girl. Then... I stopped for about 17 years.

    Now... I will do and write what I desire. I've learned there are a lot more of ME out there than there are of her.

  • J. A. Carlton

    You sound positively wonderful! how do I get you to advocate for me?

  • I was a track and cross country nerd, but running (and often alone) gave me quite a sense of determination and initiative that I wouldn't otherwise have had. When I was a freshman in high school, I would sprint the beginning of whatever race I was in and quickly tire out and then, I'm sorry to say so now, but I'd quit and come limping back to the starting line. My coach must have seen something in me that I didn't see. He was in the military as a young man and brought me his old flag, which said Semper Fi. He wouldn't let me quit, but he also taught me how to run a long race with more wisdom and more heart. So, dork or not, I did learn how to a.) be alone, and b.) not to quit when things got tough for me -- both were invaluable lessons in my life. xox

  • Go! Erin! Go! The energy pops off this article. I was the classically serious bookish one. The editor of my high school's literary magazine. I left the literary behind and ended up in public relations and marketing for television and did very well. I don't know how sometimes. But I found my way back to writing fiction, and I think that's because the girl from high school never really left me.

  • Jessica Powers

    I was a nerd in high school. I was homeschooled and started college when I was 16 and I was super serious about everything in a giggly teenager sort of way. And I was ultra-religious, too, with a very conservative bent.

    I am still a nerd, though one with a real fashion sense, and I haven't been to church in 12 years, plus I have extremely socially liberal values now. So I'm really different from my teen self (though aren't we all?).

    But I would have to say that I'm still just as disciplined as I was back then. As a homeschooled teenager, I'd get up, do my schoolwork first in the mornings, and then spend the afternoons writing and reading. Now, as an adult, I get up, write throughout the morning, and spend my afternoons grading papers and reading. So in a way, not much has changed, except now I get to do the fun part--writing--first. :-)

  • Oh my gosh, this is INSPIRING. Especially the zombie cheerleader. She Writes is all about advocacy and working our tails off to help promote and support the best writing out there, and you can be our cheerleader any damn day.

  • Erin Hosier

    Jenne- I think the thing about query letters sometimes is - and I know this is counterintuitive - but try not to overthink it. When in doubt, just keep it really concise. Unless it makes sense to try to move me to tears with your letter, I just want to skim it so I can get to your first page that much faster.

  • Great qs Agent Erin. Since we're confessing, I was (gulp) a "pom pon girl" -- we insisted we were different from the cheerleaders (no offense) because we danced -- and I'm gonna have to think about that connection to who I am today because I am, um, not sure. Except maybe it's that I think of myself as a dancer even though I no longer dance much at all, just like I'm a writer even when I'm not writing?!