Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where are all the good writers?

I had a writer ask me a while back an interesting question. After seeing that a fellow colleague was "looking for a gem" in her submission pile yesterday it got me thinking again. Why is it that agents don't sign more writers.

We all hear that there a great writers out there, but why is it that more rejection letters go out than do contracts?

There are actually several thoughts behind this one. I think the first comes down to the way the author sends out the material. First impressions are everything and if you blow it early on, then I don't care how good the writing is, it just won't fly. I do know that a lot of agents request large blocks of material because "the query" might not sell them early on. That is true, but if those opening pages aren't "golden" then it really isn't going to matter in the long run.

It is a tough thing that writers have to be so good with that first book, but that is simply the way it is. When agents are receiving so many submissions on a daily and weekly basis, if it doesn't hit us early on that the writing is good, then it is over.

I think we also have to consider that agents are human. This means that we do get tired. We do have busy days and as we work our way through the stacks of submissions, if we hit yours on one of those tough days, we will be extra critical. We may pass on something we would consider more of on another day.

I do want to add a note here. Please remember that we are all trying to be subjective here when it comes to the writing but the human body is a factor that can not be ignored here. I know, for myself, that if I am in a grumpy mood for what ever reason, I won't go and grab those submissions.

Finally, we come back to the issue of sending the materials to the right person. I always say this but it is something we need to be reminded of frequently. All agents are not right for your work. You can't just send out your work to 20 different agents and hope for the best. You have to find the right match. If you can't do that, the relationship will just not work.


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