How Querying an Agent is Like Dating

Mar 11, 2015 by

How Querying an Agent is Like Dating

I’m a mom, and I have three kids who are of an age where they would really, really, really like to meet someone to spend the rest of their lives with…

OK perhaps just the rest of the month, or the  year with, but I’m sure you get the idea.

In order to find someone special, you have to spend time going out on dates with them to find out if you have more than that initial spark of interest to keep things interesting beyond the requisite “I have to use the restroom” break where you text or call your nearest and dearest friend to let them know if you’re going to stay on the date, or if they need to call and rescue you with some sort of trumped up emergency to get you out of this fix.

I recently found a great agent blog: Linda Epstein, The Blabbermouth Blog.  She’s very direct, almost abrupt. But by darn, you know where you stand! Read this interview about how to “Query, Sign, Submit on Write for Apples blog. She’s looking only for serious relationships.

So it is with looking for an agent to represent you.

You’re not looking to just hook up.

Seriously! You’re not!

You’re looking for a relationship. One where you and the other party in question pretty much fall in love with each other. Otherwise, it’s just not going to work.

We’ve all seen the relationships where one person is ready…oh so ready. But the other one is checking their phone for a text, an email, an “emergency” phone call.

The thing is, you both have to love each other.

Why?

Because things are going to get rough after that short honeymoon phase is over.

What? You don’t like that I keep a week’s worth of dirty underwear on the floor? What’s wrong with you anyway?

And your agent is going to tell you that your baby is ugly…your baby, that manuscript you’re holding so protectively against your chest that you’ve created, nurtured, sweated blood and tears over…yeah, that one. As good as you think it is, your agent is going to know whether it’s ready or not for the big time…to be paraded before the various publishers you want to court.Couple walking on a dutch beach

That is their job!

You don’t want an agent who can’t be bothered to tell you your work isn’t up to par. When that happens, they take your latest submission, read it (maybe), sigh, and toss it aside.

They don’t call.

They don’t write.

And when you ask if anyone’s interested, they say, with apparent sincerity, “I’m sorry, but no one seems interested in it at this time.”

OK, maybe you have an agent like that, and it works for you…but I know that’s not what I’m looking for.

I’d really rather an agent tell me my baby’s ugly so that I can do some revision, er, prettying up before we send it out into the cold cruel world.

Why?

Because you’re up against some really intense competition. And if your agent isn’t going to champion you, get you to be at the top of your game, you’ll both fail.

So before you query an agent, start to do some investigating…and I mean more than J.K. Rowling did by just looking at Writer’s Market and selecting two that looked good. Heck, the agent who took her didn’t even represent children’s books.

And that is the exception that proves the rule.

But your agent, or the ones you’re querying, won’t want to be that exception. If they represent only adult paranormal, don’t bother sending them a children’s book. Really, why bother?

As with dating, you need to do a little research. And sometimes you have to go out on a lot of dates before you find one that looks promising.

If your agent returns your manuscript with a note that says, “Nice, but needs revision.” What is your response? Do you just jump up and down and curse their neanderthal sensibilities that they don’t recognize your genius? Or are you going to see just what it is about your work they don’t like. If they don’t represent that type of work…look for another agent. If they want to know if you know how to revise, then SHOW them you do!  They’re courting you too, and as with any date, if you don’t pass the “meet the folks” test, you are in for a very short run, and then back on the market.

Not sure of the answer…Read Linda Epstein’s Response here on her Revise and Resubmit posting.

Don’t be so desperate that you’ll date just anyone.

And don’t let an agent think you’re that desperate either.

In both dating and querying, your future partner needs to know that you’re mature, capable, interesting, and committed to the relationship.

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