Thursday, January 29, 2009

We have to like it

I was reading on another blog recently about the preferences each agent (and editor) might have and how that affects the way they might look at a manuscript. This is so true.

Over the years, I have gotten comments from editors in just this same area. After sending a manuscript in, they would reject it. The frustrating part is that they loved the work. They thought the author was amazing but in the end, they couldn't get hooked on it.

That is the preference thing.

I don't know how many times I have passed on a project and author that turns around and does really well with it. Did I make a mistake? Nope.

Sure, it would have been great to make the sale, but I have to believe in a project enough to really want to fight for it. The same holds true about the author. Even if the author has a great story, if they rub me the wrong way, I just won't be interested in pushing for their cause with the editors.

Unfortunately, many writers still believe that if their story is fantastic, that is all it takes. Sorry to say, but it still takes having that subjective element. Frustrating, yes. But it is the truth.


1 comment:

  1. All right. but apart from obnoxious or illiterate, cannot the writing stand on its own? I view the cult of author as People magazine celebrities with dismay. Take Perfect Storm, for example, a well-written book that became an instant classic and deserved all the good reviews it received.But, for months ans years we were treated to photos of Sebastian Junger in heroic poses on magazine covers, clad often in flowing white shirts open nearly to the nipples.
    Because he was a beautiful young man, and could have posed for GQ any day, the author quickly became much more of a celebrity item than the book. I don't remember ever seeing any English Lord bodice ripper nipple shots of Norman Mailer's paunch, or John Updiike's modestly pleasant face.
    These ten minute agent sessions can only prove that someone has an idea, not that they can write one paragraph that works. I remain mystified as to why it is suddenly critical to meet prospective authors in person, when all that time and money could be spent reading or mailing queries. What happens to those who do not look like Junger? He can park his shoes under my bed any time, but I don;t know what any of this has to do with writing. His excellent writing. Can't that be enough ?
    The conferences are fun and all, but a very expensive way to prove that one has a cogent idea. Even a one page query would demonstrate aomething about the ability to think and write. As far as "getting out of the slush pile," some agents go to many conferences, and it takes months to hear from them. I think it may all be one big slush pile. What else could it be ? In the end, the query works or vit does not, in person or not.