Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Agents are human too

I sometimes think that writers suffer from a perceptual disorder. No, I'm not saying that writers are flawed in anyway. I have seen this before when it comes to students in school - For some reason, writers seem to get an idea in their head that agents and editors are somehow beyond human. Maybe that is not the right word, but let me explain what I am thinking (You have to understand I just got up and the coffee is not quite done).

I bring this up because I frequently see on blogs or hear writers talk in conferences about how Agent X "...lost their manuscript" or that Editor Y "...sent a rejection letter with someone elses name on it." Here are some others:
- The editor/agent didn't seem to remember who they were.
- The editor/agent didn't even read the entire manuscript I sent
- The editor/agent said one thing at a conference and then said something different in the rejection.

Get the idea?

People, I beg of you to think for a second. Editor and agents are human. Guess what, they do make mistakes and yes, I know this is weird, they are busy people. When they do get to your manuscript, it is after a very long busy day dealing with the business and art departments, editing their current author's works (some of which might need more work than you can expect), and yes, dealing with the the opposing editors or agents. Now it is late, and here they are, reading through stacks of manuscript. 99% of them are complete garbarge. Many were submitted to the wrong person (but we don't see that until too late). We write comments on post it notes, or legal pads for our letters we have to write the next day and then attempt to have a life.

Look, I'm not making excuses here. We see the same thing with submissions that are sent out to us with the wrong name on them. We see manuscripts that take far too long to get to us. Just remember that although publishing and writing is a business, we are all human here and sometimes, things do happen.


  1. I think that is a pretty good philosophy to have about ANYONE!

    Everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time, and if there is anybody out there who NEVER makes mistakes, I certainly haven't met them.

    :) Terri

  2. people who write comments about agents and editors on their blogs or websites forget that the written word lasts a long time in cyberspace.

  3. Jodi,
    You are soooo correct. It still amazes me the things I see people say on the loops and it is always "in confidence" and yet within a week, I see the same message on another loop with a new twist to it.