Saturday, July 31, 2010

Please Don't Be A Creeper

I was blog surfing the other day and came across a few different people complaining about agents. How mean agents are and how it's impossible for the 'little man' to break into publishing. How agents are rigged and fixed and will only work for people that they know personally.
I don't have an agent, but the whole argument came off as, well, stupid.
How many people have broken into publishing through slush? Um, hello, Stephanie Meyer. Hi, JK Rowling. Weren't you plucked from the slush?
The way I see it, agents possess a difficult job. They have to pick people, not just because of talent, but because they love the story. And look at your book shelf. There are great stories there, right? But out of dozens of stories, which ones did you love enough that you would stake your job on it?
It frustrates me that people can't see it through agent's eyes. So, because I am out of ideas for a post I am epic, I'm going to break it down.
Being an agent, it seems, is like being constantly hit on. And the would be clients -- that would be us, folks -- are the boys (or girls, if that's your thing, but for this purpose, we're going with boys) that are stepping up to the bat, putting their guts on the line, and flirting.
*I am obviously not an agent. However, as someone who would like an agent, I know it can be depressing to be going through the whole ordeal and maybe this will be cheering*

Boy One: The Creeper

This is the least likeable kind of guy and what most agents would probably classify as an auto reject. These are the boys that are either rude or weird. And not good weird. This includes;
A) The guy that randomly comes up to you in the library and asks to sit with you. He ignores the fact you are with your mother. He ignores the fact that you are ignoring him. He then insults the librarian and the library itself, and therefor pisses you (Oh, and 'you' means 'me') off really badly because you like the librarian and the librarians. (Exempting the one that gives you an evil look every time you walk up to her.)
Seriously, how can you not like this??
Now you're angry. And so, you, as the girl, leave.
This is the writer you do not want to be. Do not ignore the agent's obvious words and rules. Do not approach them at stupid times or through stupid ways. And don't insult people. It's annoying and rude. This also includes the freaky drunks that hit on you and the ones with really bad pick up lines.
Don't be a Creeper. Please. I love all you readers so, and I can't love you if you're a creeper.

Boy 2: The Almost, Maybe, and Someday

You know them. It's the saddest of all the boys, and all the clients, too. (Again, so not an agent over here. But I think a lot of us do fall into this category.)
This might be the cute senior who's supposed to be timing your debate round, but instead adds his phone number into your cell. It's the the guy with the witty banter and raised eyebrows in the middle of class. It's the dude with glasses who offers to buy you coffee while you're waiting for your sister.
No matter how much this appeals to your ego, you just . . . really aren't that interested. The boy might have distracted you during the round, but when you talked later, well, it didn't work. When the guy tells you how smart you are, your ego shines, but this really isn't your thing. And no matter how good the coffee looks -- and believe me, it looks great --
--it isn't gonna happen.
You want to like this person. Maybe you even do kind of like them. You might go on a date, or you might want to ask for a partial. You think about it, definately. But there's some other reason why this can't work.
So many writers fall into this. Now, this doesn't mean there isn't a problem, and unlike the poor guy, you can maybe fix  your problem. (Not enough plot, too dark, too long.) But sometimes? You just have to keep trying. You've got good aspects. You have witty banter and coffee and good hair. So keep it up! It's gonna happen.
And that leads to type three.

Boy Three: The YES NOW

This is the pretty boy. The smart boy. The boy that you look at, or listen to, the boy you have dreamed of, and the boy that finally knocks on your door. And there is no acting coy. Instead, it is a direct YES.

You thought it would be Alex Pettyfer, didn't you? Silly reader.
Now, as the writer, we all want to be that yes. We want to get the chance. But still, even if we writers have groomed and cleaned and basically made ourselves into the version of Ben Barnes the Queryer, this doesn't mean that you are going to marry the agent. You've gotten their attention. You've gotten a partial, and now you've sent a full. And unlike a relationship, if the agent says 'I don't like this; can you change it?' you do have that opportunity.
But think. It isn't just that you're pretty or smart. It's the agent's taste. Relationships take time to foster. They're hard. And not everyone is ready to date, and even if you are, maybe you aren't right for a specific person. The really cute guy may be enough to date for a while, to dream about occasionally, but you don't want to marry him.
As the writer, you will only have one agent (At least, at first) and you need to make sure that agent is the right one. But they need to make sure you're right for them, too. We research agents we love and hope they like us back, or like our story, but it can't always happen. In fact, it often won't.
Next time you feel down or get sad, think about the last random guy you met. Would you have dated him? What if he wanted to date you? If it's a no, then be a little more sympathetic to the agent, okay? 
And if it's a yes . . . then why are you sitting here reading my blog? If you have to guts to be a writer, you have the guts to go talk to him. (Unless you aren't wearing make up or something. You wouldn't send your story out without nouns. You don't have to talk to a guy without mascara or clean hair if you don't want to.)


Cipherqueen said...

Love it. ;D

Maggie said...

Oh, I like this post very muchly. Tis funny and smart all at once. And you have BEN BARNES. And ALEX PETTYFER (that's an exceedingly nice picture you chose of him, by the way).

Very nice. Snaps for you. :)

Sam said...

Cipherqueen: Yay! I'm glad. :P
Maggie: -shines nails- I feel special. I'm glad you approve of my choices. I was personally more impressed by the ice cream and library, though. :P
-snaps at you-

Sam said...

Maggie: I would also like to point out that you like this post because you think the creepy library guy was funny.
-glares at you-

Maggie said...

Sam: Maybe. I just find it amusing that your mom was there grinning, and the dude didn't leave. Bahaha, seriously, just the idea cracks me up! :P

dani said...

This was so hilarious. Except I have to admit that I pouted a bit after I found out that there wasn't going to be a picture of Alex Pettyfer, and then fan!girled a bit when there was. :)

Great post!

Sam said...

Dani: Yay! I'm glad.
And don't worry. Alex Pettyfer is a dear friend of this blog. Or so I like to think.