I read this blog post a few months back by literary agent Natalie Fischer and thought to myself, 'now THAT is a good agent right there!'
Basically, despite moving up in the food-chain, Natalie tries to remind herself what it felt like to be a querying author- to be humiliated by a rookie mistake, or distraught with rejection. She also reflects on the ‘signs’ that she was becoming an agent with an ego.
Now, I’m a querying author. My goal is to find an agent who enjoys what I write enough to want to represent it. Someone who will help me evolve- move forward and be the best I can be.
But sometimes I can’t help looking at agents as these all-powerful gods because I need them in order to achieve my dreams. Then I realized how unrealistic that is. Agents were once students, authors, assistants, and they all acquired that first client who made them into what they are. They know rejection. They’re people too and they ‘get it’. Making them into gods isn’t good for queriers OR the agents they query.
I mean, we do have a choice. And the longer we’re in the process, the more we learn, the more we write, the better we become and our chances of writing THAT book definitely increases. We come into contact with a lot of differing agents in that time between our ‘first query’ and ‘the decision’. It’s easy to pick out agents who’ve forgotten what it’s like- we see the blogs and twitters mentioned here by Good Agent Mandy Hubbard. We know who reads slush at 3am and sends out reckless rejects instead of counting sheep. (I would have thought even that was just fine if I hadn’t read blog posts by Good Agent Mary Kole about how she approaches slush.)
Anyways, I wouldn’t be a CQG if I didn’t point this out at least once. Please read the agent posts mentioned. I think they’re great examples of how to treat queriers with that little cowboy hat-tip that makes all the difference.