New in April 2016
The Shady Sisters


New in 2014
Acts of Balance


New Historical Novel:
    Queens Never
    Make Bargains


    Questions for
    Midnight Fires


Walking into the Wild
Broken Strings


Nancy's Backstory


Ruth Willmarth


Nancy's Books:
Mad Season
Harvest of Bones
Poison Apples
Stolen Honey
Fire and Ice
Mad Cow     Nightmare
The above 5 novels in print, and now
e-books, Belgrave House.
The Losing


Nancy's Books for Children:
The Pea Soup

Agatha Award 2006
Best Children's/YA Novel
Down the Strings
The Great Circus
    Train Robbery

Agatha Finalist


Make Your Own
Vermonters at
    their Craft


Buy Books
Find an Agent
How I Write
An Interview with
Another Interview
    with Nancy
Brief Bio For Busy Librarians (and other readers)
Contact Nancy

Nancy Means Wright

One Way to Find an Agent

Back in the mid-nineties when my former New York agent died, I found myself with the completed manuscript of Mad Season and no agent. What to do? I didn't want to send out voluminous queries and then wait and wait, and I didn't want to dump the novel, my first mystery, in some publisher's slush pile. But then I remembered novelist Louise Erdrich, who came to speak at Middlebury College about her first novel, Love Medicine, and who told us how, after several rejections, she'd found a publisher. She had simply turned her husband, novelist Michael Dorris, into an agent. He sent it around, and sold the book. Truly an act of love medicine!

"Wouldn't you like to be a literary agent?" I asked my husband—who was then a professor of English. He might consider it, said he. So I bought him stationery, set him up as Dennis Hannan, Literary Agent. I wrote the cover letters to St. Martin's Press, and two others, he signed them, and we were off! A month later the call came from legendary editor Ruth Cavin, who wanted the novel. I stood, all a-tremble, beside my new agent, scribbling hasty notes of advice while he fumbled with the call. When she named a figure and he started to say, "Well, okay," I hissed, "Tell her I've already published five other books." He told her, she upped the ante by five hundred, and we were launched.

After the reviews came out, the calls came in from film agents. By now my man was getting cocky. "Well, I don't know as Ms. Wright would consider that meager advance," he'd begin. "Take it!" I'd cry. Alas, no money appeared, and ultimately I fired my 'agent,' preferring someone who at least knew what the words 'subsidiary rights' or 'page proofs,' or 'running heads' implied. But my first mystery came out with a great cover—if not a lot of money or publicity—and I've had a happy relationship ever since with Ruth and St. Martin's. And if I didn't give my agent his 15%, I did—well—take him out to a grand champagne dinner!

My agent is now Alison Picard.













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