Monday, July 21, 2008

Do Agents Feel Regret?

STATUS: Man, I totally rocked on my TO DO list today. I have one more task that I must finish before leaving the office so I’m off to do that right now.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? MY HEART WILL GO ON by Celine Dion

Today I passed on material from an author who already had several offers of representation on the table from other agents.

Is this hard for an agent to do? Yes and no and here’s the process I went through.

1. I knew that the author already had several offers of representation so I read quickly and paid extra attention to what I was reading.

2. The topic was hot and I did think that the project would sell (and probably quickly) so with that in mind, I reread the material.

3. My thoughts didn’t change. I liked the premise and the concept but I wasn’t in love with the story.

4. Did I think that I could work with the author on it? Yes. But the question isn’t whether I could work with the author on it, the question is should I? If other agents love it enough to take it on right now, then maybe that’s the clear signal that I’m not the right agent for this project.

5. When this project sells (and potentially for big money because hey, the topic was hot enough and I could see this happening), would I regret passing on it?

Ah, now that’s the question I don’t think I have an answer to.

Won’t know how I feel until it happens, right?

But I can make this remark. Last year I passed on a project that landed on the NYT list for a short duration. Did I then regret having passed? Well, I picked up the book and gave the first 50 pages of the published version a read—after all, a lot can happen in editing etc.

After rereading, it still wasn’t my cup of tea but I certainly wished the author well. Obviously this person found the right champion for the book.

Now if anything I passed on attained JK Rowling status, well then, what I can I say? I’d probably kick myself. Who wouldn’t?

I pray every day that doesn’t happen (and my apologies to the authors I passed on because obviously you’d love to attain that kind of hallowed performance!)