Author Topic: Agent TMI: Politics, controversies, personal info, and more  (Read 331 times)

Offline oliviamauthor

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What is your opinion on agents who are very vocal (on Twitter, their blog, or other public platform) about non-publishing related topics like their personal life or political views? Would you still query them if they otherwise were a good fit for your writing?

I'm researching a list of agents to query and seeing them overshare on the Internet is giving me some weird, unprofessional vibes.

(Also please don't name names if sharing your experience of an agent who does this.)

Offline MKWrites_318

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Re: Agent TMI: Politics, controversies, personal info, and more
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2022, 04:14:32 PM »
With publishing, from what I've seen (which, to be fair, is limited) the professional is much more personal than with, for example, managing a retail store. I mean, books are inherently personal and political, so it makes sense that there's a lot of overlap with the personal, the political, and the professional in the literary world. And as far as social media and blogs go, most people don't use them for purely professional purposes, so I believe in giving folks the leeway to talk about the things that matter to them and are happening in their lives. Being free and easy on twitter doesn't mean that they'll be unprofessional when dealing with editors or clients.

And a lot of agents and editors feel it's important to be political vocal and active, regardless of what their specific politics are. So you'll be ruling out a lot of people if you don't query those folks, so I'd definitely keep an open mind there.

For me, as a citizen, I have more respect for the agents who get political. For me, as a writer, I'm super political and my books don't shy away from social issues, so I'm more likely to click with an agent who gets that and aligns with me on the important stuff. So I make sure to query the agents that I can see care about what's going on in the world. I know there are writers who like to query agents who get personal, because they're more comfortable with those folks. So I think it's fine to figure out who you're the most excited about and comfortable with and look forward to querying those people, but don't rule someone out unless they said something that is or approaches being a total dealbreaker for you or that kind of thing. Cos you never know what someone is like in real life until you talk to them. They might be the perfect agent for you and you can just privately cringe about their facebook feed. lol

Offline Viddiest

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Re: Agent TMI: Politics, controversies, personal info, and more
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2022, 08:50:27 PM »
I agree with MK Writes on all counts. I also write pretty political stuff and it's good for me to know if the values are aligned or not. I don't think it has anything to do with their professionalism with regards to agenting. But overall, the industry is pretty vocal about issues, and I appreciate that.

Offline oliviamauthor

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Re: Agent TMI: Politics, controversies, personal info, and more
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2022, 08:57:14 PM »
Ah I see, you make very good points! I suppose it is culture shock for me coming from healthcare, where because of HIPPA and stuff we’re not supposed to openly share personal views with clients. I guess the only thing that still surprises me is seeing publishing professionals use profanities publicly but at the same time, hey, that’s our right to free speech!  :)

Offline damdamdam

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Re: Agent TMI: Politics, controversies, personal info, and more
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2022, 04:46:29 PM »
Some great points made here! I'd add that, personally, if someone slightly rubs me the wrong way or strikes me as a person I probably wouldn't feel super-comfortable with, they do drop lower down my list, since people are always saying it's important to get along with your agent (then again, others point out it's a business relationship, not a friendship). In other words, it probably makes sense to go with your gut on this, if someone gives you a weird feeling.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2022, 04:51:37 PM by damdamdam »

Offline Prophecies

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Re: Agent TMI: Politics, controversies, personal info, and more
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2022, 08:44:50 PM »
I don't mind if an agent is political (as a right-winger, I understand most agents are left-leaning). It's a problem when it ventures into censorship or unprofessional behaviour.

What I take issue with is unprofessionalism - do they attack other authors? Do they say dumb stuff like 'don't query me if you vote for XYZ?' How agents treat authors matters, as does their ability to handle disagreements. If they are constantly giving their opinion on publishing controversies, then I do take their opinions in account. Because I don't want to suffer from bad treatment myself.

Literary agents should be professional. I respect their right to voice opinions and I hope this respect is returned.