Read Marina's new post "Literary Agents and One-Night-Stands":

Waiting for a literary agent to call you after he has requested your entire manuscript is like waiting for a one-night-stand to call you the day after he has ravaged your body, drenched in the sweat of your passion, your entire soul spread wide open, naked, wanting to be possessed, to be read, to be admired. It's the sweet and warm feeling that comes with being wanted, desired, and then placed on hold indefinitely, for weeks, for months, for missed phone calls, and delayed emails. It's the up-and-down nausea you feel in your stomach when you are wrapped in the cool and soft layers of sea water, its dark waves lulling you serenely one moment and then crashing over your head the next, without warning, without reprisals. Exposing your work to an agent, a faceless connection-packed agent, is the same as revealing your inner-most desires, dreams, and fears to a stranger that lies beside you only hours after he has learned your name and memorized the sinewy movements of your full figure press against his, aroused by the husky tremor of your voice that responds to the touch of his approving gaze. Waiting for this agent, who knows more about your essence than even your closest friends, is a painfully sweet experience because it can go either way: He can call to ask you out again, or he can crush you, and your dreams, with one word, one shake of the head, one email message that coldly reiterates what you've already suspected -- you aren't good enough -- the experience of you isn't good enough for him. But good luck elsewhere.

Or like most agents, he can just cast you into oblivion, haphazardly tossing the memory of your story, your life, your work into the slush pile pit -- an abysmal hole full of all the other lovers he has discarded. An agent-less, unpublished, unnoticed writer in a crowd of many, you begin your search all over again, dressing up your literary hook, querying faceless agents on an assembly line of bars and clubs, gin and tonic in your hand, numbly swaying your body to the music in hopes that someone will discover the unparalleled voice of your prose, your form, the inner machinations of your mind, your drive, and take you home with him. There he will woo you as if you were the only perspective client on his list, seduce you until you believe that he is the only one who can represent your talent; he will get down on his knees and sign a contract that binds you to him and him to you, so that your success is interlinked. And he will show you off like a trophy wife, curling his fingers over yours with pride, reveling in his possession of the one that did not get away -- the one that captured his heart, his experienced eye, and his business with the distinctive body of her work.

But until then, until he calls, until he emails, until he finishes reading the revisions he requested, you wait -- I wait -- for weeks, for months, putting all other agents and publishers and queries on hold because he is the one that I want. My heart pounding, bared and trembling with vulnerability, I pursue each day with equal frustration, checking my email and the message light on my phone, biting my lip until I taste the blood, gnawing at my nails until they ache, waiting, waiting, and still waiting for something -- for approval, for the inimitable sound the affirmation of my life's work will make when he calls and asks, "where can I fax the contract?"

Copyright© 2010 by Marina DelVecchio. All Rights Reserved.

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