Monday, February 12, 2007

What You Should Never Do

STATUS: I signed a new client today. That’s always fun.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I MELT WITH YOU by Modern English

I want to begin this blog by saying that I do understand the incredible obstacles writers face in terms of finding an agent and selling a book. I understand that if you, as a writer, get rejection after rejection, it’s frustrating not to mention disheartening.

I get that.

And I imagine that every writer at one time has THOUGHT about writing an industry professional to express frustration. That’s valid. Think about it; just don’t ever do it. This is what journals are for or venting with your best writer friend.

I received an email over the weekend that just makes me want to shake my head in pity.

Clearly stating a name and title of the project, this writer emailed to tell me that he/she had decided to destroy his/her book thanks to my agency. That I, as well as many other agents who had rejected it, had destroyed his/her dream and I should put that on my resume.

Sigh. This is a mistake for so many reasons. I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just list them.

1. The only person responsible for your dream is you. It’s obvious that this writer is into blame and once begun, there is no end to who else’s fault it can be. It couldn’t possibly be because the writing isn’t strong enough, or the concept is unoriginal, or even that it’s not right for the current market. Nope. It must be those evil agents who haven’t recognized the brilliance; those evil agents who are keeping down deserving writers.

Real writers take personal responsibility for their work and even if it truly is the publishing world that has missed the boat (and it happens) a real writer perseveres in the face of challenge and writes another book. (John Grisham comes to mind. After all, the first book he wrote was a TIME TO KILL but that was not the first novel he sold.)

2. Sending such an email is just unprofessional. Think of any other business endeavor (such as applying for job etc.) and it would never occur to a person to send such a communication. Would you email all the people who interviewed you for a job but didn’t hire you about what a mistake they made? They would potentially think you unhinged. Not to mention question your age and maturity level.

3. Some agents have blacklists folks. This person did not send the letter anonymously. Guess where the name just went?

Uh, yikes? Why would you deliberately hamper a potential career that has not yet begun?

So think about it all you want. Vent to your writing friends and release the negative energy. Write numerous angry letters in your journal.

Just don’t send it.