My emotion about agents was a direct reaction to our experience on February 20th. I dislike any opinion that paints a group with a broad stroke. That’s what I did, and I apologize. Agents have an incredible job with volume alone, culling the unacceptable first pages from the great ones; then being enthused about the genre as well as the writing style to sell it; and they are individuals making a living with their own criteria and circumstances.
With that said, facial expressions that deepen the bite for the denigrated writer are unprofessional. One agent, a a scrawny, self important, over confident twit, was appallingly rude! Sharing one’s writing is as vulnerable as standing naked in front of a group of 8th grade boys.
Agents have a library of helpful advice to share, and we are ready to listen. We pay for our individual time with them or for a conference; is it too much to expect a tidbit or two? Your attention for 10 minutes @ $30? We might be the one to make you rich. How many published authors have you turned away who made money for someone else?
The number of hoops to jump through and then land on one’s feet is larger than I ever would have guessed. Kindness goes a long way as we find our way. Thank you to those agents who offer constructive suggestions. We writers appreciate you!
Moving on: A nugget I learned about editing was to enlist editing from people who are smarter than you and avoid friends and family. I learned the hard way when my husband read a chapter and had nothing to say. His comment was, “I didn’t know what to say.” Another hint was to circle adverbs and “state of being verbs” in your draft and find stronger verbs . As we have heard many times, show not tell.
Pages to write, so off I go!
“You are living your dream.” One of my best friends just recently reminded me of this and they are 100% correct. This is my dream. Writing is what I have always wanted to do, and I am now 6 months into my journey. I have journals since I was a teenager and college creative writing course papers’ that commend my passion, but remind me, I have a lot of work to do in polishing my energies. My Nana used to have a stone polisher?
In my own environment, I am not a shy girl, but when it comes to writing EVERY insecurity possibly known to mankind comes to the surface; shortness of breath, shaking, slurred speech, cold sweats and talking faster than a speeding bullet.
Here comes my first big piece of advice, something I even taught my kids, “Life is an acting job.” This comes in handy when you are at your most vulnerable. And, I learned this again after this past summer’s conference. The second snippet of wisdom is, “Be Remembered.” Thank you Sandi!
I think I accomplished this in all the wrong ways…wah, wanh, wah! I promise… my second time, I will be sooo much better. 🙂
And so…here we go…My first experience pitching to agents…Need I remind you, I have never had a problem making a fool of myself and owning it like a true professional.
- 10 minutes is a long, painstaking time to make a complete ID 10 T of yourself. Even if your acting is polished where your writing is not.
- Know your genre. You must know this so you can pitch to the right agents of that subclass and as Sandi has explained can be a difference of agency opinion. I, unfortunately, believed my genre was Romantic Fantasy, GONG! I was quickly informed it is Paranormal Romance, that trended to be the going theme, and so, I am running with it.
- Do your research on who you are pitching to and what they are specifically looking for. You must go beyond the conference bio’s. I had the pleasure of sitting with a nice gentleman whose genre base could not have been further from that of my manuscript, (Has anyone heard of graphic novel? Yeah, me either until that most unfortunate moment.) F M L, serious typo in the conference documents. Too bad for slimy handed, good smelling, stuttering moi’, but I did remember to bring my best smile and polite exit. No, I didn’t get my money back.
- If you are writing romance and seeking representation from an agent, your manuscript must be a minimum of 80,000 words, or they will blankly wonder why you are sitting in front of them, mine was 65,000, much better to have to add to a story, than to trim off. I think I threw up in my throat a little.
- Self-publishing has a completely different rule book. 1 stumbling step at a time.
And all this, only 30 minutes of a 3 day event. Life is good.