Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The worst three words.

I was hanging around an online writing forum today, and had the pleasure of talking to an aspiring new writer going through a rough patch. The poor fellow had been bravely querying his first few agents, and managed to win the reverse-lottery.

Now, as I have mentioned a few times, I have queried a lot of agents and gotten a lot of rejections. They ranged from lazy to luxurious, but they all had one thing in common: they were all extremely polite, professional, and formal.

Even the hastily scribbled notes written on my query letters were all of those. But this poor soul was actually told by an agent, and I quote “this is awful”. Seriously.

While that may not sound to bad to any of you who have never written a book, its very painful to hear. I ran a critique group for teenagers, and I watched people be reduced to tears from hearing that. It only happened a handful of times before we put a moratorium on negative comments, but still.

If you’ve spent months or even years working on a novel, to have someone tell you that can be crushing, especially someone who’s opinion seems worthwhile, such as a literary agent.

That being said, from the business standpoint this is appalling. Seriously, that is such an unbelievably unprofessional act that I cannot even scoop my jaw off the floor. I am literally angry with rage!

Anyway, no one needs that kind of abuse. If you find an agent like that, just blow it off and move on, and if you’re curious, try to figure out why a junior-high-school student is pretending to be a literary agent.

Gracious professionalism: I learned that from FLL.

Note: I would name the agent in question here, but I’d like to skip out on giving him the free publicity. It’s not fair to insult one of my fellow writers and then possibly land a client for it!

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