Monday, September 1, 2014

Just Breaks My Heart by Linda S. Glaz

            I had a weekend filled with submissions. And that’s a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is having to say no to so many really good authors. That’s right, I said ‘really good authors’.
If they were good, why did I say no? Because, while they were really good, I didn’t get that gut reaction I look for. The pull that doesn’t allow me to put the submission down long enough to even leave my desk for a glass of water.
So it’s my own fault if I turn down a project and then find another agent has snapped it up and found a bestseller? Absolutely. And that often drives me crazy, but it is what it is. I have to be so fully behind a book that I just can’t wait to share it with an editor, convinced they will be as excited to present it to their acquisitions board.
That happened this weekend with two amazing books. And I might find that I want to kick myself in the behind in the near future. I’m already second guessing myself. How does it happen that I turn it down?
It goes something like this: I love the proposal so I request the full manuscript. As I sit down to dig in, I find myself wandering. Hmm, maybe I should check my email and see if that editor has responded. I have a rewards coupon coming from A, B, or C. And I might want to use it later today. Oops, back to the story. Man this is good! I wonder if the kids are coming for dinner on Sunday. Wow, she really writes that alpha male so well. Gorgeous eyes, muscles straining against the shirt. Great characters. Shirts? I think Kohl’s had men’s shirts on sale starting Wednesday. Maybe I should check on some shirts for my husband. Husbands, romance novels. Better get back to the story. I do have one other proposal I need to finish reading. Maybe I’ll check that one out for a few minutes and then get back to muscle guy.
And that’s what happens. I keep trying because I like the story really well, or maybe it’s the characters that have me wanting to love this story, but something just isn’t there. My gut doesn’t keep me reading no matter what else is happening in my life, and I don’t understand why. All of the elements are really good. Great characters, wonderful story line, really good writing. What? Am I crazy? That’s another whole blog or two.
I write the ‘not this time’ note and maybe make a few suggestions. Kick myself a time or two and get on to the next submission. What I have to remember is: lots of readers love Jane Austen—lots of others don’t. It doesn’t take away from Jane Austen. And other times, I simply am not having much luck with a certain type of submission. It might be the best I’ve ever read in that genre, but if I can’t get that genre to move, I’m not going to take on another author writing it. I’ll be honest, it just kills me to say no to so many wonderful projects, but so far, I’ve trusted the gut. And the couple times I didn’t, I wasn’t able to help the person at all.
So there you have it. I’ve turned down, and will turn down, amazing projects that have and will go on to do well with another agent. At first, it makes me a little crazy to see the book getting hundreds of rave reviews, but then again, I am so happy for the writers because I just didn’t have what I needed to make it happen for them.
Authors, remember this. Each rejection is one step closer to publication!

14 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

This is what I've learned over the years in my search for an agent: I want then fully behind my story to represent me. I want my agent to be my biggest cheerleader-not only for one book but for all of them. I appreciate your reasoning.

Linda Glaz said...

And you, Terri, will do so well, because you understand that publication is a result of perseverance! But it still breaks my heart to say no....

Linda Glaz said...

It's sort of like when your best friend shows you a picture of her new boyfriend. She is drooling over the photo and all of your friends are also drooling. He has ALL of the right characteristics to make a woman go bonkers, but for some reason, you just don't see him the same way. Maybe that's a bad analogy, but I remember that happening in high school, so thought I'd mention it.

Terri Tiffany said...

Totally get it. It isn't fair to pretend and then you can't place their book.Would rather wait for the right one. :))

greenlightlady said...

Linda, I love your honesty. I've read elsewhere about a MS being rejected by several agents only to find a good home elsewhere and a faithful following of readers.

Writers need to remember this and send queries to agents that happen to like their particular genre, if possible (and to take rejection with a grain of salt).

I agree with Terri. I want an agent who believes in me and my stories. Passion for a project is powerful and contagious.

Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

Tom Threadgill said...

Interesting. In a case like this, would you ever send the mss to another Hartline agent in case they wanted it? Just curious.

Linda Glaz said...

Absolutely, Tom. And we do this all the time. If we know they are looking for a particular type novel or non-fiction project, we will send it along. And I've had a couple folks takes the projects because they felt that immediate connection to it. It's awesome when that happens!

Megan Besing said...

Enjoyed this! Thanks for writing it. :)

Diana Flegal said...

Linda, this is like you were inside my head! Great post.

Linda Glaz said...

It's never been easy to say no.

Terry Burns said...

Agree - that's always been the hardest part of this job for me. Oh, I know at the very minimum that I'm going to have to say no to 90% of them, the numbers tell me that. We can just represent so many people. But that doesn't make it any easier because I never lose sight of what that no means to the individual author. And I'm turning down good projects, that's the sad part. They are just losing to projects that are a better fit for me. The competition these days is such at good simply isn't good enough, we are looking for excellent, those projects that stand head and shoulders above the others that we are receiving. But it's still hard.

jan said...

So...briefly, in Christian non-fiction...what is it that gets you in the gut? Humor ala Anne Lamott? Sweet affirming musings? Confronting doubt? Just curious.

Linda Glaz said...

It can be any topic, it just has to speak to me in a way that I can't put it down. I've picked up things I never would have expected to like, and bam! I just connect with it. I know there are plenty of agents who take on a work that they know will sell, and that's it. But I want to be able to get so behind a project that I can't stop talking about it to anyone who will listen. Which is why I probably miss some great projects, but it's how I want to do biz. Crazy...I know.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Linda you explained yourself so well that it took the sting away from a decline I received with the editor's suggestions just a few hours ago. Thank you so much!