Friday, June 26, 2020

You Rejected Me, Can You Recommend Someone?

Earlier this week, I passed on an author's screenplay. Yes, it was a screenplay and no, I do not accept screenplays so this should have come as no surprise. I did ask the author, however, why, even though he knew I did not acquire screenplays why he sent it. His answer, "I was hoping you would just send it on to someone who did."

Um, no.

Let me just say that his answer is not uncommon. Easily once a week, after I send out a rejection letter, the author will write back to ask who he or she should send it to. And my answer is always the same. I do not do this.

So why not? Wouldn't it seem like we are all in this together. We want to see authors succeed and if I send a project to a colleague, it would seem like they would send someone to me as well? If an agent was part of a larger agency with multiple agents, they might do this. Many of these agencies just have a general email so the projects do get sorted. Even then, we are not likely to suggest other people. 

My rationale is simple. Finding a right place for your projects is not like getting gas at any gas station along the highway. This is a long term relationship and your submission is much more than simply a "product." As an agent, I am looking at the project and the author as a complete package. Even if the story sounds like it has potential, if the author is a jerk, or the author really doesn't seem like a good fit, we may pass on the project.

And you, as an author, need to find someone you can connect with. This is someone you can trust, someone you can talk through projects with, and more importantly, have pretty much the same goals in mind when it comes to your writing career. 

Finally, and I guess this may come across as being a bit harsh, but authors need to do their own research. The sources are out there. You can research those agents and editors who meet your needs. And please, do not come back and say there are just too many. When you actually refine your searches and do the research properly, you will find the list is not that extensive. 

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