It is easy in the buzzy age of social media to look around at other authors who are hitting all the milestones, whose publishing journeys seem charmed, and wonder why it’s not happening for you. I think this creates a sort of artificial urgency—the idea that you’re falling behind, or not a good-enough writer, or failing somehow because you haven’t found your dream agent, you haven’t sold your book yet, and you didn’t get a six-figure deal or hit the New York Times best-seller list.
Remember that you have time. You don’t have to sign with the first agent who offers: If your work was good enough to catch one agent’s eye, it’s likely good enough to catch other agents’ eyes. It’s okay to say no. There will be other chances. It is often not the first, second, or even fifth book that you write that sells. Sometimes you need time: to grow as a writer, to percolate those good ideas into something fresh and new, to experiment, to get experience. There are so many authors whose careers really took off after their third or fourth book. Keep your eyes on your own pen and paper, and keep writing the book(s) you were meant to write. We can’t wait to read them.
—Amy Bishop, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret