While I'm here I thought I'd balance the previous post somewhat and say what I really love about my job: the authors and their stories.
This week, for example, I've had a picture book author email me in great excitement telling me about the new idea they (intentional use of gender-neutral pronoun) came up with on the train this morning and then send me the story treatment and then call to talk about it, and the conversation meandered from the story itself to the broader scope of their career to how they're fitting in creativity with working life and family.
An hour later I was sending off final editorial notes for new draft of a second novel and the draft was so much tighter and funnier than the first one I saw that I almost flushed with delight at reading it. Then I cheekily suggested a new title to the author - who was looking for one - and got the tick of approval. At least until they go home and think about it.
Half an hour after that a publisher called with an offer for a novelist who has slogged really hard - to effect - to promote their own work in a crowded market, and who has been waiting a long time to hear whether or not the publisher would take the next one. To hear the relief and happiness in their voice when I called with the news made my day.
I also have three new manuscripts queued from clients, just waiting for me to finish helping another author shape a manuscript that has finally found just the right publisher after years of trying.
Sometimes I am the very first reader these manuscripts have, and that thrill of being the 'first eyeballs' never goes away. The thrill of telling an author about an offer never goes away. The fact that I get to read stories in developmental stages, that I have brief windows of time when only the author and I know about these characters, is tremendous. It's all that a former library monitor could ever have dreamed about. And that is the fundamental truth about this Australian agent.