Who's Your Dream Agent/Editor?

>> Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'm curious. I was reading the agents and editors who offered up lunch and coffee and tea and reads and crits for Brenda Novak's annual diabetes auction and thought...gee, so many great names...how to choose? (That is if I HAD money to bid, which I don't.)

Who is your dream agent/editor? Have you or would you bid for a read or a meeting? How much?

6 comments:

spyscribbler 6:34 PM  

I'm pretty sure it's Jessica Faust, but there are lots of very close ones, too!

Edie 11:18 AM  

Kimberly Whalen, anyone from the Jane Rotrosen Agency, Stephanie Rostan. That's off the top of my head. There are many great agents.

Linda Winfree 4:47 PM  

I've never bid on crits or a read from an agent/editor, but I did bid on two crits from authors who wrote for hourses I was targeting last year. They were really helpful and worth the money.

Joan Swan 7:07 PM  

Ah, Jessica Faust and Kimberly Whalen...you two have great taste!!

There are a lot of great agents out there, which is exciting. Considering how hard it has become to actually sell, it's nice to know there are some talented people out there to cut the path ahead of you.

Joan Swan 7:08 PM  

Lin, I remember you bidding on those now. Good to know they were worth the money. I'd like to do that -- get crit/read with an author further ahead on the path than I am. I could see how valuable that could be.

Shalanna 11:10 PM  

I had to think a while before deciding to post this, because I don't want to discourage anyone from bidding and giving money to this charity. After all, our family has diabetes (type II). However . . . don't expect TOO much from the auctioned critiques. I won several crits in past auctions (NOT the diabetes one--for various authors whose houses burned down or who had medical bills--and through eBay.)

The most useful one I got was from author Melissa Senate, who read through my first couple of chapters and told me several good tips about how to ramp up the tension and give my heroine a new goal every now and then. I still didn't sell that book, but she told me to swap a couple of scenes, and she was right. I think her critique was very useful and helped my book.

I got another from a male editor at a house beginning with "D." While I found him charming (when he finally did get around to contacting me . . . he had to be nudged, as he is very busy), all he basically said was that he laughed out loud several times and re-read some passages because he liked the writing so much, but he didn't feel that anything happened in the book. He couldn't really tell me WHY he felt that my heroine is so passive (but I have done some research and I think I see why now--though I don't know how to fix it without ruining the plot). He did say one thing that was a "keeper": "If your book is a paranormal, have something impossible happen within the first ten pages. The readership will then know what they're dealing with. We need it that soon!" This is a neat piece of advice.

The other crits I won (in various charity auctions over the years, not the diabetes auction!) have not been as useful. Two of them were by phone from busy editors, and basically these editors told me that they wouldn't buy the book because they didn't like the main character and they thought the plot needed ramping up, but when I said, "If you had bought this book as part of a three-book deal and you HAD to help your author fix it, what would you tell her to do?" they evaded my question by saying, "I wouldn't have bought it in the first place, because I know better." I think that was sort of a cop-out. But anyhow, they did fulfill the obligation to call me and say a few things about this or that in the novel.

The agent was not helpful at all. The agent did not seem to really grok that we were supposed to give me a clue. It was more of a blow-off. I was very disappointed. I realize, though, that I should not have put any expectations on it. It was a charity donation first and foremost, and that's all it can be expected to be.

I spent nearly $300 apiece for each of these critiques. (Prices ran up to $500 in that ebay auction.) I was happy that the charity got the money, but didn't feel that I got that kind of "value" out of it in the latter 3 cases. I should never have spent that much out of our household budget on these, but I always have this fantasy that the editor/agent is going to take me on as a result of seeing the chapters. Disabuse yourself of this notion. They are not really interested in discovering YOU or mentoring you, but (as the last editor said when she called me) are looking for a reason to REJECT. They need to reject MOST of the stuff they get. Depressing, but true. (I'll give the last editor credit for really leveling with me.)

There's really not any way to win this publishing game. It's a complete crapshoot, and people with talent and a good command of the language and of craft get overlooked all the time. Getting a novel published is about the worst thing you can get your heart set on in this life, except maybe becoming a TV star or a pop singer. Unless you have connections and/or a platform, you'll probably have to accept that childhood dreams don't turn into reality. Don't expect too much out of a critique, but donate because it's the right thing to do. If you can't afford to just donate the money, don't.

Sorry to be a party pooper.

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