You might think it was wrong to have a platypus for an agent. It is, shall we say, unconventional. But for me the choice was obvious. It was natural, clear, purposed. And the relationship is an excellent one, mutually beneficial – so, a word here about my rather spectacularly wonderful agent, and all that she does. She arranged the launches, the reviews, the feedback, helped with the blurb, the publicity and the promotion. She continues to help, setting up readings, signings, reviews, and all the other stuff that takes me so far away from the act of writing.
Before that – and here’s where is gets even odder – she helped with the editing process. Now, this may have been a common occurrence during those long-lost times of Raymond Carver, but these days an agent’s role rarely includes such services as offering editorial comment. S/He may comment on a text, and suggest revisions before it’s sent out to publishers, but that’s not the same as editing.
And my editors too, and the publishing house for which they work: I had a few options, but for this novel I chose to sign with a very small company who would give me slightly more control over the project, and could themselves pay far closer attention to its needs that one of the larger houses might. To Will and Kim, therefore, and all the others who worked on the book, thank you. You delivered on your promises – you said you’d do things and then did them, and I bet those who grabbed at the large advance and the ‘big house’ deal can’t say that.