Running With Scissors author Augusten Burroughs wrote about marrying Christopher Schelling, his literary agent, in this week’s “Modern Love” column. The story, which was about the terminology change in going from “boyfriends” to “husbands,” made a solid case for a writer getting together with his (or her) book agent.
“I had known Christopher for 10 years and fought back my romantic feelings with a machete because he was my literary agent and there were a thousand other reasons my attraction to him was impossible,” Mr. Burroughs wrote. “I lost my internal machete war and finally confessed in 2009 to my best friend and the only agent in Manhattan who didn’t turn me down that I was in love with him.”
See? Mr. Burroughs had already gotten past the rejection letter stage. Although an offer of representation is hardly love, it can be a start. But the real benefit is that, as a literary agent, Mr. Schelling had read even the unpublishable pages.
“Eventually, I strong-armed him into test-driving me as a boyfriend. Because he knew me. He has read every word I’ve ever written, only a fraction of which I’ve published,” wrote Mr. Burroughs. “He knows the parts of me that are wholly unsuitable for publication, and he still speaks to me.”
If your literary agent still likes you after reading your rough drafts and discarded ideas, well, that is a pretty good sign. It’s really hard to find somebody who really knows you, let alone someone willing to read every single page you ever wrote.
But of course, it can get awkward once your start showing your agent/husband rough drafts that include said agent/husband.