Agent, forgive me for I have penned . . .

I've followed a few agents on Twitter for a few weeks now and I have to say, just those tiny, 140 character glimpses into their jobs have made me much more sympathetic to what they go through in a day. As a writer, I understand how a rejected book proposal feels from this side of the monitor, how it feels impersonal, invalidating, and other nasty things. And I knew--somewhere in the back of my mind, behind a dusty window--that agents had to slog through a pile of unusable projects, hoping to find one with the right fit, but it hadn't really hit me.

Wow, people. Just wow. The other day I watched as three agents actually had a race to see who could get through the emails in her inbox the quickest . . . two were still up at two A.M., and the other one was crowing with joy that her number was under fifty. Because that was something she hadn't seen in forever.

On another occasion one of the chronicled the last fifteen or so, whether she rejected or asked for more, and why. Two thirds of the submissions hadn't even tried to follow the clearly listed requirements for proposals to this agent. That really surprised me; if you're asking this person to take a chance on you I'd expect you to research that person as much as possible and follow any guidance to a T. It's COMMON SENSE, people.

And last, another agent, who seems very, very personable, rejected a manuscript proposal only to have the rejectee write back to her with a nasty insult, I assume because that person is a childish brat and can't be bothered to react in a more mature fashion.

So, when I get back to sending out novel submissions you can bet I'll be doing it with a whole added perspective, one of sincere respect for the person who is willing to put him or herself out there like that.

Seriously kids, learn from this.


Tiffany Schmidt said...

As a fellow Twitter-agent-follower, I completely agree. I can't imagine the pressure of having to deal with handing out rejections more often than positive news. The idea that people respond to polite rejections with disrespect, or don't bother to use the correct greeting... it's rude and unprofessional.

It's been great to see a sneak peek behind the agents' curtain. Thanks for your thoughts as well!

Post a Comment