Monday, May 19, 2008

Why I'd Like to Stop Reading Agent Blogs (and Why I Won't) - Part 2

I've received some traffic from my link to BookEnd's Time to Vent post, and I have been doing some thinking about it and my own comments, and I want to clarify a few things.

Firstly, I am not upset at Jessica or any of the other agents that blog. They are a godsend. Their advice is invaluable and their often encouragement is a huge boost. What does frustrate me is the comments, mostly by unpublished authors. And that is not even to say that what they have to say is bad... just discouraging. To continually read over and over about people who are dedicating their lives to writing, and following the guidelines, and still time and time again are rejected, or picked up by agents who don't ever try to sell their work, can make this business seem like it has impossible odds.

Secondly, the truth hurts. Even when doled out by well-meaning and helpful agents. In going back through Nathan Bransford's archives, I discovered this post in which he says "it's rare for the query route to work." You need connections. Now, he did later amend that, and recently touts the use of the query, but still, I know that with many agents this is true. And since I lack any real connections to agents or authors, I find this discouraging. Is this Nathan's fault? Absolutely not! Still, it does feel like it's suddenly raining on my parade!

BUT: I continue to read agents blogs for many, many reasons. They are so full of help, I'd be an idiot not to take advantage of all the advice. And, sometimes, they offer a glimmer of hope or lay their own hearts on the table, and I am both touched and encouraged beyond belief.

Jessica at the BookEnds blog wrote a beautiful post today about all the things she loves about being an agent, and how she admires writers.

Janet Reid recently wrote a post that almost made me cry, titled "I'm in Awe of You." It is probably illegal to copy and paste some of it, but I'm going to anyway.

In fact, it is I who must thank you.

I've said it before, and I'm saying it again here. I'm profoundly grateful for those of you who write. Your work, your effort to improve, your willingness to listen and try again, all those things allow me to earn a living and live in the city I love more than any other.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I love agent blogs. Even when they don't always say what I want to hear but still need to hear. I love agents who are passionate, because it makes me dream of one day having someone who is passionate about my book like that.

There are bad things about any job - even ones you love. Being a writer is no different. And there are always people who want to focus on the bad parts. I'm not one of them. I love writing. I love querying. I love the whole of it. And if the worse happens to me - if I am never taken on by an agent - if I am taken on by the agent from hell and I am never published - life goes on.

And even without a published book, my life is pretty good.

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