Thursday, May 9, 2013
I hate my job by Terry Burns
Actually that's not true, I just said that to get your attention.
But it's not entirely false either.
Most of the time I really like working as a literary agent and have helped a goodly number of authors in getting their writing careers off and running. But I often have to devote big blocks of time to working down the submissions in my inbox and that means turning a lot of people down. I hate that, and it kinda depresses me to have to do it.
Oh, I know in advance it has to be done, I get hundreds of them and I couldn't handle that many if I had a dozen people on staff helping me. Not to mention the fact that that's far too many to submit to publishers, they don't have the capacity to do that many books either. But knowing it has to be done and having to do it are two different things.
I am too aware that what I have to evaluate in a short period of time someone may have taken a year or longer to write. It's their baby, and no parent wants to see their baby get turned down. I'm one of the few agents that came from the writing side rather than the publishing side, I've had my babies turned down . . . turned down a lot actually. Maybe that makes me too sensitive to the feelings of the authors sending to me.
Sometimes it gives me the blues.
The best cure for the blues is getting somebody a contract or seeing a clients' new book come out. Or maybe in a situation where I got to help Carrie Stuart Parks hold her baby out to publishers and saw six of them show immediate interest resulting in an auction situation where she got a nice three book deal. That can cure a lot of the blues.
But today I'm working submission, stepping on dreams, and not feeling good about it. I'm sifting through the pile looking at a lot of good books but looking for that jewel that rises above all the other good books. The one I just HAVE to try and help get to market. I have the blues.
If you are one of the wonderful editors that I get to work with to help get these jewels to market, and you just happen to be reading this, today would be a really good day to let me know you want to make an offer to one of my clients . . . how about it?