Monday, October 29, 2012

Agency Lessons

Personal Preference. It's the coffin nail of the querying writer. If you've spent any amount of time in the query trenches you probably received this little gem in your inbox once or twice. It comes from the agent who tells you they enjoyed your story, or that your writing is strong, or any other very nice words that are all followed by "but". As in I liked your story, but...

I used to think the old "your ms just isn't for me" response was nothing more than a fancy no. And for some agents, it is a part of their form rejection. But this week I realized the "not for me" answer isn't always easy.

I read not one, but two submissions that were good. The writing was good and free of errors. The story line was interesting and I was excited to dive in and read. But at the end of the day, neither manuscript won me over. Why?

Sure, there are things I could point to as needing improvement, but someone from another agency might see them as easy fixes in an otherwise good manuscript. In fact, someone else might take a look and fall in love. And at the end of the day, that's what you want your agent to do.

Have you ever read a book, that was just okay, but everyone and their uncle thought it was the best thing since sliced bread? Now imagine it was your job to sell that book to everyone who hadn't read it yet. It's doubtful you'd be very good at it. If it was your book being sold, wouldn't you rather have a fangirl working to get your book into the hands of readers.

It's frustrating getting a query response with positive feedback followed by the enormous 'but'. There's nothing you can point to and fix to make the story better. But at the end of the day, you don't want an agent who only thinks you have a good story. You want your agent to LURVE your book.

11 comments:

  1. It's so important to find an agent and then an editor how LOVES your manuscript. It makes all the difference.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Sarah.

    I agree! I entered two contests last week and received 2 Full and 3 Partials requests from participating agents. I've sent them out and now I'm waiting for the "buts" to roll in. However, I'm okay with it. I want my agent to LOVE my ms and if they don't then it's not for them. My only worry is that I won't even find ONE that does LOVE it. ugh!

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    1. Congrats on all the requests. Now you face the challenge of doing something else while you avoid stalking your inbox all day. Good luck!

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  3. Very true! I feel the same about some. You can tell they are well-written. Plot would be considered engaging but there's something that just doesn't do it for YOU personally. So it's hard to be all gung-ho YES about it.

    I also get rejections on my own work that seem to contradict. Some people love the dual narrative others just can't get into it. Lol it's tough, but definitely just goes to show how subjective the industry is :)

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    1. And not just the industry. Readers are just as varied. Which is a good thing for writers! :)

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  4. But what about those good books that don't find a home?

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    1. In the world of book publishing, there are only so many production dollars to go around. But that's the beauty of the current market. A great book that doesn't catch the eye of an agent or publisher can still see the light of day with an author motivated enough to self-pub.

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  5. Thanks for this...it's definitely inspiration to keep querying, revising, etc...until that perfect agent is found :)

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  6. Yes, I want them to be head-over-heels for my work. Let's hope that someday soon my book finds a love connection. ;)

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  7. You're right -- ideally, you want your agent to be your champion, your biggest cheerleader, someone who will scream quotes from your book from a mountaintop.

    Not someone who says "Meh. It's a book. Want to read?"

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