Sunday, April 18, 2010

Biting the Hand

Currently reading - Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn

Continuing my diatribe from yesterday, why do writer wannabes cuss out the very people who are trying to help them?

Agents like Nathan Bransford, Jessica Faust and Janet Reid take time out of their busy schedules to tell writers exactly what they're looking for in manuscripts. Invariably some idiot berates them for not signing his or her masterpiece.

Or the idiot posts his or her manifesto in the comments section as to why agents are greedy bastards who real writers don't need.


If only these folks would put half that passion and energy into learning the craft and the business, they might actually hit NYT Bestseller status.

So here's a tip--if you don't agree with an agent's analysis of your work, let it go. But if more than one agent says the same damn thing, then maybe you'd better listen up.

Years ago, I had an agent say some rather negative things about setting one of my manuscripts in Los Angeles. The, um, discussion crashed spectacularly when this person made a biting remark about how I should only write about places I've been. Frankly this person's comments had nothing to do with the actual story, just the setting.

Now, I could have snarked back to this person. But what would it have accomplished? It didn't matter to this person that I've lived in, worked in or visited most other major U.S. cities. To some of these folks, there's New York and there's Los Angeles. Anything else in between is a figment of their imagination.

So, instead of getting pissed, I went home, brainstormed and came up with the plotline of Amish, Vamps & Thieves. The setting is where I grew up, Ohio Amish country.

And if this book sells, well, I may just have to acknowledge that particular agent.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, writers don't necessarily need agents. Having an agent sell your book for you is certainly one option, and it's the most popular one these days if you hang around the various areas online where newbie writers are swapping advice. It's not the only way to work, though, and there are very successful writers who do without the services of an agent, or who sell their books themselves and just have an agent negotiate their contracts. Laura Resnick sells her books herself, then hires a literary lawyer to do the contract negotiation, for a flat fee rather than a percentage of income forever. That kind of approach isn't for everyone, but it is an option.

    That said, I completely agree that there's no reason for anyone to act like a raving jerk in public just because some agent passes on their manuscript. If they don't think they need an agent, then why the frack are they hanging out on an agent's blog?? Good grief.