Monday, February 21, 2011

The Good Agent

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. 

*CQG*

31 comments:

salarsenッ said...

Great points. We need to keep our 'heads' and put it all into perspective. Sure, it's hard in the midst of it. Good thing we have each other. lol

Candyland said...

It's all about respect and it goes both ways. We're all trying to make dreams come true. Great post:)

Gina said...

Before I realized my ms wasn't considered YA, I queried Mandy Hubbard. Her rejection letter was so kind, I actually smiled. If every agent could "get it" like she does, the publishing world would be a much better place.

Aleeza said...

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<--i heart you for this :)

Laura Pauling said...

It's so easy to forget that Agents are people to, but I love meeting or seeing what appears to be a down to earth agent. For the most part, they want to help writers. I don't blame them for getting jaded at times.

Emily White said...

Very good point! The author/agent relationship is definitely a business partnership where both parties should benefit.

Cynthia Watson said...

Excellent post, Katie.

From my experience (I'm still not "agented"), other gracious and helpful agents:

Sarah Lapolla
Danielle Chiotti
Stephanie DeVita
Stephen Barr

Jen Daiker said...

Definitely checking out these agent topics! Thank you so much for linking, I love finding the ONE agent to query, reading the slush pile at 3am is TOO AMAZING!

Jen Daiker said...

PS - Pink hair rocks ;)

Tracy said...

I was thinking about this the other day too. We also tend to forget agents still undergo their fair share of rejection too.

A couple weeks ago Laura Bradford tweeted how bummed she was when a writer she offered representation to went with another agent.

It helps soften the blow to realize sometimes they really want the perfect writer as badly as we want to find the perfect agent.

VICTORIA SAAVEDRA said...

This is so true! Most aspiring authors are almost afraid of agents! How funny once you really think about it!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Thanks for sharing these posts! They are all wonderful glimpses of what's happening on the other side of the query. It's good for us to remember that they are working hard at their job, too.

And there is no call, EVER, to be rude.

Lindsay said...

Great points. Off to check out the links now ;)

LTM said...

you're so right. Kindness and professionalism goes both ways. Great stuff, Katie! :o) <3

Melissa said...

Excellent observations Katie! I'm heading over to check out all the links right now!

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I love this. It reminds me that some people are amazing and always will be. I hope we'll all find great agents like these.

Catherine Lavoie said...

Great post! Thanks for the links.

Old Kitty said...

It's always hard when people who start at the bottom make their way to the top only for them to pull up the ladder!!! So it's truly nice to know that that there are those who make it who also leave the ladder where it was and even extend a helping hand to those starting at the bottom!!!
:-)

Take care
x

Donna Hosie said...

It helps to remember that if an editor says no to an agent, they themselves are rejected. The hurt works both ways and so they do understand what writers go through.

Colene Murphy said...

It's good to know that they are out there and there are so many of the good ones. I can't help but put agents on these magical pedestals, but it's comforting to know they are people. Not manuscript eating rejection machines. MUCH less terrifying...

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome posts. Agents can get rejected too, not just authors.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Great post! The query trenches are a scary place but I love writers like you who make them less so. New follower:)

The Survival Mama said...

I am SO grateful none of my original queries stuck...oh how awful my writing career would have been based on those early manuscripts!!! But it's so hard to see that during the process while I was (still) learning....

The Survival Mama

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

Yes, there are a a whole slew of awesome agents out there--ones that make a difference!

Angela Felsted said...

Going to your links now. What a great post.

Carolyn V said...

I love Mary Kole! I'm going to have to check out her link. Thanks Katie!

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, these give some great insight! Thanks for sharing these!

Talli Roland said...

As I get to meet more agents face to face (at conferences and such), I realise they are just human, too, you know? And normal - not the scary, fire-breathing dragons I thought they were once. :)

Great post, Katie.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Fantastic post, Katie. And I WILL be checking out the links. Thank you. :-)

randine said...

I am still at the phase of seeing agents as being God like, if not actual Gods. I stress completely out about writing a one line email follow up, feel nauseated as I hit send, stew about it for days, weeks. I remind myself- I'm bringing something to the table here, too. "I'm an author", I say inwardly, trying to sound confident about it but then still not quite able to stop myself from adding "sort of" to the end of that sentence.

But as you say- every step of this journey makes us more knowledgeable, more professsional, more confident.
We'll get there.
Thanks for the post! Off to check out those links!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great post, Katie! I think the more you can interact with agents the more comfortable you feel with them. Getting to know them via their blogs or through conferences is key.

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