Author Topic: Agent Pet Peeves  (Read 1514 times)

Offline RJP

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Agent Pet Peeves
« on: February 07, 2019, 03:00:22 PM »
This post isn't meant to be a full-blown bash. It's actually inspired by a thread someone just posted about accidentally sending 30 pages to an agent when they were only supposed to send 10. Anyways, I've been researching agents a lot and there's a few things I keep hearing that has me scratching my head. I mean, don't get me wrong, when it comes time to query my book I'm going to follow the instructions to a T! But if junior agents can go on reddit once a month and complain about the writers, maybe we can vent about agents for once. :emb:

1) Agents who throw out queries because the writer slips up on the instructions. Or they spell their name wrong. Or they didn't "personalize" a message for the agent. I mean, are you really going to throw out something good because the writer made a mistake? You could be throwing out a bestseller.

2) Agents who don't read queries after googling the writer and discovering they have no/little online presence. This is the one that is the most bone-headed in my opinion. Do agents have any idea how the world views aspiring writers? If I haven't been published and I'm un-agented, why would I turn my facebook into an author page? And why would I make a twitter with my name on it? So everyone in my past life (high school, ex-girlfriends) can google me and see that I'm an aspiring writer and have a laugh about it? And what about contacts in my professional life? I mean, when you get published, they're going to tell you to redo your website anyways. And even if you're querying your first book and have 10,000 twitter followers, that will convert to only a handful of sales off a tweet. It's really nothing.

3) "Where does your book sit on the shelf?" Maybe this grinds my gears because of my art background. But I just think it's the weird books that get turned into Netflix shows. Is the story good? Is the voice good? I think the author of Bird Box would have had trouble telling the agent where his book "sits." Is his book a thriller or a horror? It's technically scifi but it's not genre scifi. Then he gets it published by a small press and five years later it gets turned into a Netflix show and he's on the New York Times Bestsellers List. And why can't an adult book have a child protagonist if it's a horror or something? And why can't a YA book have a protagonist that is outside the reader's age demographic if the story fits? IDK this might be more of a problem with the Publishers but I don't like it.

4) Agents that bash/shame authors on social media or YouTube. I'm all for giving writers tips to follow, but when an agent does "rejections live" on YouTube I think they've crossed the line. It's more common than you think. There was also a screenwriting agent last year that was reading dialogue from a submission on twitter and roasting the author. IDK, but I see it a lot and it's really foul!

Sorry to the mods if this post isn't allowed. I just figure it might be useful insights for agents if they're browsing the forum. A writer's perspective, if you will.




Offline mafiaking1936

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2019, 07:43:56 AM »

Offline vivaviolet

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2019, 10:37:49 AM »
We all have our work challenges. I don't want to be represented by a tantrum-throwing baby.  :wag:

Offline koji

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 03:59:10 AM »
Where does this book sit on the shelf makes a lot of sense to me because the agent has to figure out how to sell to publishers and publishers care about sales and sales are done with traditional genres. So, shelving is important. That being said, yes, we're moving into an age of more digital sales where books can easily "sit" on multiple shelves and there are ways to find books with searches instead of just looking up genre and browsing. But that being said, people like genres. They still want genres.

That doesn't mean a book can't be a cross genre book. Just that you should have a clear idea of what the "lead" genre is.

And there ARE books with protagonists out of the category. Room comes to mind. It is an adult book with a child protagonist. And I've seen plenty of agents asking for MG books with grandparent main characters... so I don't think the protagonist being in-category is a must.

Offline RJP

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 04:22:34 AM »
You may enjoy this article:

http://welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com/2015/03/top-ten-pet-peeves-about-literary-agents.html



That was epic. I wonder if I’ll get as bitter as that guy when the rejections start rolling in. Ha ha ha

Offline Tabris

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2019, 06:59:50 AM »
And there ARE books with protagonists out of the category. Room comes to mind. It is an adult book with a child protagonist. And I've seen plenty of agents asking for MG books with grandparent main characters... so I don't think the protagonist being in-category is a must.

And yet I had agents and editors never, even after a list of fifty titles of adult books with child protagonists, NEVER come to terms that a 12 year old could narrate an adult novel.

There are enough narrow-minded industry professionals who are so clicked into everything being safe and exactly the same as expected that it's a tough sell when you do something slightly different.

Interestingly, audiences tend to like those things for their differences when they're done well. But it's a step outside the safe zone, and when a publisher is scared about not having had a breakout novel for the past several years, they're not going to step outside the safe zone.

Come visit my weblog!

Offline Waterfall

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 11:44:39 AM »
There are enough narrow-minded industry professionals who are so clicked into everything being safe and exactly the same as expected that it's a tough sell when you do something slightly different.

What a category mismatch agents and authors are... We ask authors to be unsafe, to do work that only they can do, to tap into emotional truths that most people would prefer to leave unsaid. And then we ask their business partners to be able to make them universally loved, to put them into a named box, portrayed only by the two hundred words that describe the topic and miss the point.

Offline Ro

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2019, 07:35:33 PM »
Ooh, that article is scathing.

I haven't started querying yet but in my research I've definitely come across requirements that didn't make sense to me. I don't plan on querying those agents.

Offline Juanwi

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2019, 07:41:20 PM »
I recently read the MSWL of an agent and it met everything in my novel, but then he had a note that said, "If this is your first novel, don't send it to me."

Just came off as kind of jerkish to me.

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2019, 03:44:04 AM »
I recently read the MSWL of an agent and it met everything in my novel, but then he had a note that said, "If this is your first novel, don't send it to me."

Just came off as kind of jerkish to me.

Jerkish comments turn me off agents. Like....just don't say it. Don't say that little venty thing. But in the end it's good they can't help it because you get an idea of their personality.

Offline mafiaking1936

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2019, 03:15:26 PM »
Please don't be afraid to name and shame. We don't owe these people anything, and they already hold all the cards.

Offline tophersghost056

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Re: Agent Pet Peeves
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2019, 02:49:29 PM »
I absolutely agree about not querying agents you see displaying behavior that rubs you wrong. I recently watched a YouTube video of a panel of agents talking about query letters. One agent said some pretty offensive things about the kinds of queries she receives, how she expects people to query here, etc. The first thing I did was make note of her name. Then I went to my QT account and checked the little box in her profile that says "don't query."