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There is an old saying (I guess some old dude said it): "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Actually, it should be "whom" you know, but then a lot of old sayings aren't grammatically correct.
At any rate, I managed to secure a third literary agent because of a fortunate phone call on a very fortunate day in December, 2004. Here's how it happened.
I was talking to an editor on the telephone and just happened to mention a new book proposal I had worked up. "Who's your agent?" she asked, sort of miffed, like she should be talking to my agent instead of me.
"I don't have an agent right now," I said.
"You don't have an agent?!" She was incredulous. Perturbed. Deeply troubled to the point of death. It was her Garden of Gethsemene and I could hear the great drops of blood falling to the floor of her office in Manhattan, a chorus from The Producers echoing in the background, Matthew Broderick singing to Nathan Lane.
She sighed and then said, "You need to get an agent," which really meant: I'm not talking to you anymore until you learn how to play the game or What a lonely bastard-man you are or Didn't your mother teach you proper literary manners?
She blurts out the name of an agent she knows who is looking for new writers. "He's coming to Indianapolis next week," she tells me. "He would love to meet you. I'll set it up."
Suddenly, I feel like I'm on a blind date. That, or I'm about to meet a high-priced hooker who will be asking me questions like: "Am I the first you've worked with?" or "Where's a good place to meet so we can talk in private?"
The following day, I do get a call from this agent. And by golly, the agent asks, "Am I the first you've worked with?" and "Where's a good place to meet so we can talk in private?"
After the brief phone conversation in which we arrange a meeting time and place in downtown Indianapolis, I go upstairs and take a long shower. I feel so dirty, and I haven't done anything yet.
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