Friday, April 03, 2009

Bloods Vs. Crips? Try Agents Vs. Writers

Did anyone catch the whole agentfail at the BookEnds blog? Agent Jessica Faust invited comments about how agents fail. At last look, there were over 270 comments.

Writers take things personally. Their books are an extension of themselves and when you criticize it, they take it as an attack on their person. Saying you don't like their writing is like saying they look fat in that dress.

Does that mean agents need to tiptoe around a writer and try not to break their little hearts. Nope. Agents are business people, they have a job to do and it is a tough one. They have no time or energy to suffer poor writing and lousy queries. These are professionals and they want to deal with writers who are reasonable and understand the process.

Oooh, there's the rub. I have found writers to be some of the least reasonable and rational people on earth. Nathan Bransford and Elana Roth were disturbed by the level of anger and bitterness of writers. Well, duh! Writers aren't the most mentally stable of people. Type in "Suicide," "Depression" and "Writer" in your google search bar and see what comes up. That which makes a writer creative also makes them...umm...difficult.

Again, does that mean an agent needs to be extra careful? No, a writer's anger and bitterness is their own issue and one they need to deal with themselves. They don't like to, they want to blame someone else for their failure and an agent is as good a symbol as any to vent their spleen on.

Some of the comments I've read had merit. Yes, I think those of us who have submitted to an agent have had one hold onto something forever and then reject it. Or we've never heard anything from them at all. Yes, its frusterating, but ranting and raving isn't going to do much good. Just don't query them again.

I thought the comments complaining about agents blogging and tweeting were stupid and presumtuous. Considering how much time writers spend blogging and tweeting, it seems hypocritical to castigate an agent for doing the same. Most agents who blog have something to offer their readership. And even if they didn't, so what? Its really not a writer's business.

I get irritated when writers bad mouth other writers, agents and editors. It's destructive and shines poor light on the rest of us writers. I'm not saying all agents are perfect and not deserving of criticism. But spewing vitrolic anonymous comments on a blog post is just immature and puts those people you want to work with on edge.

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