Moving along from yesterday's post:
The agent did get back to me the next day with a very polite, sorry (praised writing here) but I didn't feel the connection I needed to take you on as a client. She offered suggestions and I moved on to the rest of the agents who either had my work pending or who had given me very helpful rejection letters.
By the end of the day, I'd heard from one of them, who had given me an "oooh, this was a tough decision, but I have to pass" letter. We emailed back and forth, and she offered to do a few things for me whether or not I was her client.
After a few more email exchanges, I opted to sign. One of the major contributing factors to my decision was the way she deals with people who are submitting to her. Normally, you send something off and wait. And wait. If agents post response times at all, often they are vague, or they're not met. It's the way of the business, like it or not (and I don't) but I can understand the priorities they have to set. Prospective clients aren't making them a dime, so they're going to be dealing with their authors first.
However, this agent gave precise response times, and the steps to follow if they weren't met. She promised a 48 hour confirmation of receipt of a submission, which she did. At that point, she promised a specific turnaround on reading a requested partial, including the actual date one could expect a decision. When the date came and passed, I wasn't surprised, but when I got an apology email the next day with an explanation for the delay, I was. Very. And within 48 hours, I had her answer, including a line edit of the chapter I'd given her, and a grammar guide with the most common 'mistakes' and the things she looks for when she's reviewing the technical aspects of the writing.
She's also got a quirky sense of humor, which might seem off-putting to some, but it matches my personality perfectly. As a matter of fact, I sent her a snappy reply to one of her emails last night, and she responded with, "Ha, finally, a client worth my wit..."
So, I can now say those two words I've been wanting to say for so long: MY AGENT.
How did it make me feel, to make the commitment and sign those papers? Honestly, not the way I'd expected. There was little happy dancing, probably because this was kind of a back-door entry. But what I did feel was an amazing sense of relief that someone else would now be in charge of the 'hard" stuff. I have someone who will speak for me and who knows the language and correct behavior. And a call or email from her has a lot more clout than one from me.
I cranked out over 1000 words yesterday evening, and they flowed. (Of course, I have to read them again this morning to see how many are keepers).