1/ An #amquerying thread about stubbornness, and in defense of #litagents.
A few years ago when I was still querying, I was at an author roundtable talk and an agent said that getting a book traditionally published was akin to being drafted into the NFL, and that daily you were
going up against tens of thousands of people with the same dream. I was crushed. Beta readers liked my book, so why didn’t agents like it? I kept going back to the NFL reference and had a thought: Just because you can throw a ball doesn’t make you Tom Brady
So why did I think just because I wrote a book that it was worthy of being published? In the beginning, when agents rejected my novel, I crossed my arms over my chest and said “HMPH, they don’t know what they're doing and if they gave it a chance they’d see!” Wrong attitude.
4/ And when I think of the years I wasted, saying “one step closer to a yes!” going at agents with the same material that a slew of others rejected, I want to slap myself silly. When I finally paid an industry professional for advice (not a beta reader or CP) I was gobsmacked
5/ with what I was doing wrong. Info dump. Backstory. Starting most sentences with “I”. Telling the story, not showing it. Scenes that only made sense in my own head and didn’t even need to be in the novel. These were things my fellow writers were also doing, and none of us knew
6/ it was the exact WRONG thing to do to hook an agent. So instead, we cheered each other on and kept doing it, then got depressed when no agents wanted what we were giving them. Let me say this: no matter how good the fit seems, no matter how exact your MS is to their MSWL,
7/ no matter how many readers like your story, you’ll never get an agent if the WRITING isn't up to standard. It’s in their title like blinking neon: LITERARY agent. Agents don’t sign someone hoping to edit the story into something sellable.
8/ Agents don’t request material hoping they’ll finally like your MC on page 200. Agents don’t get excited with a checklist of info dump on the character. You really have to make sure your material stands out. Have a professional look over your sub packet
9/ (shameless plug: see bio and DM for help) but don’t assume that right out of the gate you're Tom Brady, because I hate to be the one to break it to you: you're not. Agents don’t owe you answers on what you’re doing wrong. There are limitless resources
10/ out there for that. Rejections themselves are an answer if you're willing to listen. You MUST be open to change and stop thinking that agents “just don’t know” because they do. They don’t get paid unless they sell your book. They have to want to sell it, and know who they can
11/ sell it to. They have to LOVE your book. LOVE LOVE LOVE a hundred times over. When I finally matched with my agent, I was thankful that I checked my ego at the door a few years before. Improvement and willingness to listen—
12/ not stubbornness and thinking you're always right—is what will get you closer to getting an agent.
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