Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Feeling Like a Puppy Dog

One agent requested my full, offered suggestions for revisions which I completed in a week and a half, and then proceeded to sit on it for a year. Two follow-up emails were ignored, but the third was acknowledged by the assistant. A year later, I had the opportunity to meet her during an RWA chapter meeting. I arrived, sparklingly clean and with fresh breath. I was enthusiastic. I introduced myself and gave her a thank-you card. I could tell she couldn’t remember the story. I even paid money to do all of this networking. A week later, I received a form rejection.

I agree it’s important to network, but like Reid observed, on the writer’s end, how far do we pursue a relationship? Especially if we can’t meet in person for whatever reason, and follow-up emails to rejections are frowned upon (I’m referring to the personalized ones). I intend to query the agent again from the above scenario, but part of me feels like I’m making a little bit of a fool of myself, like I’m chasing after her like a little puppy dog.

In a recent post on Networking I came across this comment and it made me feel a little sad. I think in this case the author is chasing after the agent like a puppy dog.

The truth is that you can’t successfully network with every person you come across. In this case the agent clearly isn’t all that enthusiastic for the author’s work, and if I were the author, I would take the agent’s lack of enthusiasm, and respect, as a sign that they probably aren’t compatible.

I would only pursue the relationship as far as you think it’s worth your while. If this is clearly not an agent you feel you could work with, then I wouldn’t bother. I wouldn’t call the agent and tell her she’s an idiot, but I would just cross her off your own personal list. It’s obvious it’s not a good fit.

If, however, you’ve gotten a rejection that you liked and appreciated or comments that hit home, it can never hurt to send a nice thank-you or introduce yourself at a conference. It’s true, we might not remember your name or story title, but we might remember you after that nice introduction. Let’s put it this way, it can’t hurt.