Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do

After revising my latest novel, I promptly sent it out to an agent who had expressed interest in it. I’ve been interacting with this particular agent at conferences and via email for many years. I thought she might be “The One.” (If there is such a thing.) She’d had some concerns about the direction of my career which is why she’d passed on offering representation last round. But I let her know that I’d made some decisions and hoped she was interested in reading the revisions and discussing my thoughts about my future.

I got a “No and please stop contacting me” within 48 hours. (Okay. She didn’t actually say to stop contacting her - it just felt like that! *grin*)

It was a depressing, l-think-I’ll-go-eat-a-bowl-of-cookie-dough-now experience, sure. But it was also, in a real way, liberating. Kind of like dating someone for a long time, realizing you want more from the relationship but the other person doesn’t. I walked away thinking, “Alrighty then. Well, at least I can cross *that* person’s name off my list!”

But here’s the thing. Several days later, I had lunch with a friend who happens to be one of Agent’s clients. We were talking about the “break up” and she told me she knew the agent had another client who was trying to write both MG and YA and not having much success dividing her energies and nailing both voices. (This was the main reason Agent took a pass on me earlier. She really like the MG book I submitted but not the first 30 pages of my YA book.) So my friend told me she could see why Agent would be reluctant to take on another client that she felt was in the same position.

Who knows? Maybe Agent was right. Perhaps I haven’t quite pulled off the YA voice in my other project. But maybe she let her prejudice and experience with this other writer cloud her judgement when it came to my work.

Either way, it was a good reminder that - sometimes - it's THEM and not you.

Happy writing!



  1. I agree. At times, it's THEM. It's so easy to take on all of the blame, but when it doesn't pan out with a literary agent, it's good to remember they're people who make mistakes, and have prejudices and bad days.

  2. Hang in there, you'll find the right agent.

  3. Possibly at some point she revealed too much of herself to you. I wonder since I had a similar experience. I can't, in good conscience, reveal the detailed circumstances, but it is similar. Suddenly, after a fair amount of back and forth, she quit answering my emails. I gave one last shot asking if she had some particular problem with me, but she never replied.

    Thinking it over afterwards, I'm almost certain that she was embarrassed about telling too much to a person she didn't really know, but she dumped a lot of emotion and most likely regretted being so open.

    I understand sometimes hitting Send when I should have cancelled an email, so I get it. I'm only disappointed that what looked to be the agent who'd sign me didn't work out.

  4. Great story... thx for sharing it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.