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Before You Get an Agent, Believe in Yourself

Life is fraught with uncertainty. Writing and publishing is definitely uncertain. One review thinks you are a genius, another thinks you’re a hack. I’m not sure it gets easier, I think authors just get stronger (or build harder shells).

Before you jump into these publishing waters its critical that you believe in yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t have moments of self-doubt, we all have them, it just means that you truly need to believe that you’re ready to be published, that your book is ready and that you’re in it for the long haul.

An agent is a lot of things. She’s a salesperson, she’s a therapist, she’s an editor, a brainstormer, a copywriter, a cover analyst, a marketer, a planner, and even sometimes, a friend. An agent can build you up when you’re down, remind you that you’re great, and give you the support you need when you’re not feeling it. What an agent can’t do is convince you to believe in yourself, not if you aren’t already there. Only you can do that.

An agent is there to be your partner in reaching your goals. She can guide you and put your book in all the right hands, but she can’t do anything about your own internal objections. She can’t make you believe that you can do it and if you really want to do it, if you want to hit the New York Times list, if you want to be a best-selling author, if you want to sell 4 million copies, you need to believe in yourself first. Believe it, make your agent believe it, and together you can make it happen.

Believe in yourself, believe in your agent and together make the dreams come true.

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5 comments

  1. You are completly right 100%, but it isnt just the industy that can knock your self esteem, you can as well. As Jessica says only you can belive in yourself, people dont realise you can bring yourself down just as easily.

    The obvious like dont put yourself down and find the silver lining go without saying (although may not be easy), but working styles and ideas may not work for you or at all.

    When I first started writing I found myself always going back, changing something, jeans to shorts whatever. So in my wisdom I though if i just skipped the minor choices I could add them later if needed or at the end as discriptions.
    It soon built, without my notice, into not making any real choices. As you can imagine writting hasnt really gone very far the last few months and I didnt know why. I was very down, I havent read blogs or anything, I was well on my way to talking myself into giving up.
    Until last week, I was fussing, again, and hubby getting annoyed with my “I think I might” comments, very calmly said “Just write it, you can always change it later”

    It was a kind of light blub moment and I’ve written as much this week as I have in the last 2 months lol.

    It’s not just yourself you need to trust and belive in, its your ability to make your book perfect (with your team) and your it’s abiliity to stand on her own to pages in the big wide world.

    1. I think the important thing Joan, is recognising them. So we can help each other to move forward.
      I’ve always belived where one person is strong another needs help.

  2. so true. Thanks for the reassurance. I am such a procrastinator. Sometimes I even surprise myself at what I can think up to avoid writing.

  3. Self-doubt does have a way of wiggling in, no matter how positive you try and stay! I believe I will be published, I believe an agent is the best choice for me… I always believe the book I am writing is “the one” that will do it, so long as I can keep that little voice of doubt quiet (sometime it won’t shut up though, lol).

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