Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Either Agents are Liars or You Are Not Ready

Okay, so maybe "liar" is a strong word. Exaggerators? Maybe.

As you know, I am editing my novel which is going well, but definitely more work than I thought. (I forgot that I attempted to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to write a few chapters. They will have to be completely re-written.) And it's kind of boring. I don't like it. So, in order to keep my spirits up, I allow myself to research agents after I finish a block of editing. It's like a reward. Yes, I find the research fun. It gets my hopes up and makes me feel like I am closer to realizing my dream.

Of course, part of that research entails finding out what the agents want to see and what they don't. I get the query letter. Having some business experience, I understand the reason for it and the need for it's brevity. I am comfortable with the format. It is, simply, a business letter. I get it. What I don't get, and honestly find hard to believe, is the number of reports by agents of receiving anything other than even a semi-professional letter. Every book, blog, and interview I have read talks about agents receiving queries on colored paper, hand-written queries, printed in crazy inks and fonts, and formatted in unusual ways. Even on things such as Post-It notes. They make out like they get them all of the time. Really? All the time? I can understand the occasional oddity, but on a consistent basis?

Either agents are exaggerating the number and frequency of these, or there are a lot of people who are just not ready to be professional writers.

Yes, I said you are not ready. If you send an agent anything other than a well-written, printed query then you are just. not. ready. Like I said, nearly EVERYTHING I have read about landing an agent warns against this, so even a half-assed search should stop you from sending your query on lime green paper, printed in purple ink, and sprayed with grandma's perfume. You wouldn't send out a resume or a legal document out that way. (I hope.)

 It's just hard for me to believe that we live in a world where "Mike the Situation" is one of the highest ranked Google searches, but you didn't even bother to Google "How to get an agent?" before you sent out your query? How did you even know where to send it? You must not have put that much effort into your research. Unless, you think the rules don't apply to you. Either way, you are not ready to write professionally. And if your not in it to be a professional, then why bother with an agent in the first place?

So, which one is it? Deep down I hope the agents are telling the truth. (It would cut my competition.) I am not an agent, though,  and don't have one to ask. This is just what I think. Any agent, or writer who had a query like that work for them, is welcome and encouraged to comment.


  1. I think we are in the realms of urban legend, my friend. Enough truth to make it a real fact, and dollops of exaggeration to create a good cautionary tale. Good luck with the hunt.

    1. Thanks. I thought that might be the case.