Monday, August 21, 2006

What Not to Do

I know that writers get extremely nervous when talking to agents and I do understand and forgive a lot of what is said or done because of that nervousness. However, there are still definitely some things that, no matter how nervous they are, authors should avoid doing.

One of these happened to me recently, and while I can laugh at it now, it does make me considerably less enthusiastic about reviewing the writer's work, and I will certainly keep it in mind when that proposal does cross my desk.

While chatting between sessions at a conference, a writer, in her enthusiasm to tell me everything about her book, proceeded to tell me in great detail about her submission process and the reactions (read rejections) of other agents. The first thing she did is explain the tier process in which she submits—I immediately discovered that I was not in her first tier. I truly wish you could see my face even as I write this. Seriously! Whether or not an agent is your first tier agent (or a publisher for that matter), it's better to let them think they are. I don't think I need to explain this in too much detail. It's human nature. No matter what, we all want to think that we're first tier in everything we're picked for. Think of it this way: it's like your husband telling you that he wanted to date your best friend first, but after she rejected him, he asked you out.

The next thing she did was give the details of who did reject the book and what certain (in her mind, big name) agents said in their rejections, and how close they were to offering representation. (Still shaking my head in shock). Again, imagine sitting with that cute boy before you married or dated him while he tells you every reason every other girl rejected him, and then he asks you out. I don’t think so!

So, what do I know and remember about this book? I remember the title and, primarily, I remember all of the other agents who rejected it and their reasons. This certainly doesn't bode well for my own review of the work.

—Jessica

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