Recently on an agent Rachel Gardiner’s blog, she posted a comment about an agent/writer relation that went south. The comments were especially interesting but here’s what I did not see from the point of the view of the writers and this ultimately why my agent is right.
A lot of comments sided with the writer, who was frustrated by a lack of progress on the submission front b/c the agent had asked for a lot of revisions multiple times. What I did not see (and I only read through about 23 Comments) was anyone telling the writer to take a deep breath and step back from their own work. I read on posts all the time that so and so thinks this is brilliant but you know what? They were being nice. It wasn’t brilliant, it was crap but writers (trust me on this one, I know) are a sensitive lot of folks and telling someone their baby is ugly is really hard to do.
As a writer, the biggest challenge I have is slowing down enough to be able to see the flaws in my own projects. I work fast, which is not necessarily a good thing as there are many times when what I meant to come out from my fingers isn’t quite what my brain had in mind. So when my agent emailed me and said this book needs a little more tweaking, yeah I panicked. I have this deep-seated fear that she’s going to tell me to come back in a year or so after I learn to write.
But she hasn’t. Instead she’s spent time and effort on helping me make my book better, because you know what? Had I thrown a temper tantrum and whined about how it needs to go out now, it’s perfect, A, the book would have been rejected and B, my agent probably would have told me to pound sand. She knows the business, I don’t, hence the whole agent relationship. But what’s more is that my agent is known for having a fantastic editorial eye and that more than anything else is worth its weight in gold to me. I might have sent her a project that was 70 percent ready (honestly, I’d thought at the time it was more than that but again, writer has trouble with perspective) but right now, it’s a heck of a lot closer than it was the first time.
My agent is right, ultimately; in what she suggests for changes and in how she’s guiding my career. You don’t get a second chance at submissions (another painful lesson I learned) so when my agent says it needs more, I’m willing to dive back in and make it more.
If I could do it on my own, I wouldn’t need an agent and neither would you. So writers, if you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a deep breath. Sit back and honestly look at your stuff. If you really feel like your agent is jerking you around, then maybe its time for a move. But I’m willing to bet that if you take another look, slowly in my case, you’ll see room for improvement.
And that, my friends, is why my agent is right.