Today is Agent Appreciation Day, created by Kody Keplinger.
To celebrate that, I want to praise my agent, Marlene Stringer. Not only is she the best advocate I could ask for, she's unfailingly astute, insightful and honest. She's never given me bad advice, either for my career or my writing, and she's never tried to steer me away from what I wanted to write.
I found her through research in the "Agent" section of the Novel and Short Story Market Guide. I contacted her with a blind query, she asked for sample chapters and, finally, the whole manuscript (see, it really does work that way!). In 2005 I signed with her on the basis of that still-unsold manuscript. For two years (!) she stuck with me without selling any of my novels, for which I am eternally grateful. In that time we got to know each other, so that when she finally did begin to sell my books, we had a good relationship already established. She's never failed to return calls or e-mails, to give advice when asked, and to provide an honest opinion.
I had two other agents prior to Marlene, neither of whom knew what to do with what I wrote. Marlene got it, at once. And she still gets it, along with my lasting gratitude, respect and appreciation.