(continued . . .)
In order to understand my pursuit of a third literary agent, it is helpful to first gain a perspective on what happened to me as a writer. From 2001 forward, my writing took on a new meaning. No longer was I a twenty-something, thirty-something guy who was feeling his way through the maze of publishers, editors and book sellers. I now had a plethora of personal contacts and connections from New York to Nashville to Los Angeles. In short, I truly began to think of myself as a professional writer. I knew how to write proposals, as evidenced by the fact that from 1998-2008 I had personally orchestrated the publication of some fifteen books, and had written at least four times that many in that same period. (Writing and Publishing are two very different things!) With one exception, all of these had been accomplished without an agent. In that same period, I also wrote hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of short stories, articles, essays, poems, and even songs. I had also written hundreds of sermons, newsletter articles, columns, and presentations.
As one editor asked me, "Are you a pastor who writes, or a writer who pastors?" And my answer then was: I do both, and put 100% into all of it.
Essentially, I knew how to write. I still wasn't very good, but I knew how to write.
My connections with writing were long-lived. When I was nine years old, a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I said a writer. She laughed. She had jailbird in mind for me, and I'm sorry I disappointed her.
Even today, I always read the acknowledgement page of a book first. I look for the name of the person who edited the book, perhaps the name of the writer's agent. I know which editors are working at which publishing houses. I follow editors around like some people follow trades of baseball players and coaches. When I watch a movie, I am the type of guy who wants to know, "Who wrote these lines?" I could care less about meeting Brad Pitt, but I would run across the street to meet Eric Roth. And I would say the the gospel WRITERS have been the most influential writers I've ever known.
But in 2004, I once again became overwhelmed with the sheer number of book proposals I was carting around. I had novels, notebooks filled-to-overflowing with non-fiction book ideas, a brothel filled with articles and essays that needed a decent home and the promise of being redeemed from their sins.
"I think I'll try to find an agent,"I told my wife one afternoon.
"That's nice dear," she said. "God knows you need to find something!"
(continued . . . )