Monday, June 10, 2019

Don't Throw Darts

As I get ready to write this, I have a feeling it is going to fall on deaf ears. I already hear a ton of authors saying that their approach is really the best, or they need to try it a different way or they will not succeed. And... I am already going to say, before I start, that I 100% disagree.

What I am talking about is the approach so many authors take to submissions or pitches to editors and agents. They simply throw it out to the wind and hope something sticks. This is easily seen at many conferences around the pitch room. If you really want to see this in its full form, observe the conferences that have that open format speed pitch. You know the type. You have a room full of editors and agents and lines available to pitch to anyone who will listen. In situations like this, you will see authors just running from one line to the next, cranking out pitches to their book and not having a clue who they talk to. You will hear them later proclaiming the great success they had with requests from ALL of the people they talked to. They are now "on the verge of being published."


The odds are that none will be published or signed with any of those editors or agents. In those short sessions, we really don't have time to assess the story so we simply request from anyone who shows. up. The request generally sounds like this, "That sounds interesting. Why don't you send me something? How about a synopsis and a partial and I can take a better look. Here's my card."

Now, I don't want to spend the time trashing the whole speed pitch thing. The point of today is to focus in on the belief that these authors and those who just send their project to every editor or agent out there is the best approach. These people are throwing darts.

The reality of the situation is that your story DOES NOT fit with every editor or agent out there. You as an author DO NOT fit with every editor or agent. As an author, I would hope you want the best for your novel and your career. You want this relationship to last a long time and your career to be highly successful. You have to do your research to find where you and your story really fits best.

Please understand I am not saying that some of these people are not great places to work and I am not saying these people have no clue. They do and they are highly respectable professionals. What I am saying is that you should be finding the right person for you.

Getting this research is not hard! Editors and agents put a lot of information out there for new authors looking for a home. Go to their websites. Sit in on those editor and agent panels. Listen, talk and read.

Throwing darts like this is just going to lead to a lot of frustration. You get a ton of rejections and eventually, you start to develop the belief so many authors have of "Fine, I will self-publish because clearly those editors and agents don't know great writing when they see it." Sorry, we do see good writing. We reject you because your story did not fit with us.

1 comment:

  1. What are you looking for in an author? What should an author look for in an agent? I always enjoy your blog and can't wait as you share more of your knowledge. Thanks again!