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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Agents are People, Too

A recent comment from a reader really made me stop and think.  I talk about agents and publishers from my own very specific point of view--that of a writer trying to get published.  I know I have made a few somewhat bitter remarks--not here, I hope, but aloud, to family and friends--about the seeming futility of my publishing quest.  

But what about those agents?  Surely I know, somewhere in my heart, that they aren't all villains, sitting in dark offices, rubbing their hands together in glee at the idea of crushing the dreams of yet another aspiring writer.  I know that, in the paraphrased words of my sister's fourth grade teacher, "agents are people, too!"  (She actually said something far more icky and gag-inducing that had nothing whatsoever to do with agents.)  They have full and busy lives, and they are working to find the books that will sell to publishing houses for the highest price and thus bring THEM income, too.  I know that they are courted by thousands of writers, and I know that they must get really sick and tired of reading unsolicited queries.

Although my books are not necessarily faith-based works (that's a complicated subject, and one I'd love to address later), I do feel that I was led to write them.  And before I send each query, I pray that it would reach the hands exactly the right agent and then editor.  So while I have to admit to feeling a little disappointment with each rejection letter or total lack of response, in my heart I know that it really only means I haven't queried the right agent yet.

I'm going to try to stop thinking of agents and publishers as commodities and remember that they, too, have responsibilities and needs.  I'll even try to stop whining about how tough it is to write the perfect query letter (emphasis on the word try!).

And agents and/or publishers, please, feel free to share any insights or suggestions in how we writers can treat you right.

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