Thursday, March 19, 2009

Attitude Check

Perhaps it's the economy and a lot of frayed nerves, but I've been seeing a lot more "writers going off on editors and agents" posts lately.

Like this.

And this.

And this one takes the cake.

Folks, don't do this. Seriously.

I understand that writing is a personal thing, and that writers pour their hearts and souls into a book and then send it out into the cold hard world. But agents and editors are people too, and if you think getting a rejection is hard, imagine what it must feel like to tell thousands of people a year that their lifelong dream isn't gonna happen today. That has to suck in a big way. I wouldn't want to do it.

It's easy to blame agents and editors for that dream not coming true, but it isn't their fault. Look at it this many times did you go on a job interview, not get the job, then called the interviewer back and yelled at them for being an idiot and not seeing that you would have been the best employee they ever had? That's what a query letter is -- a job interview for your book.

When I was working on my novel, I started reading agent and editor blogs because I wanted to get a sense of who liked what. Some I read because I wanted to submit to that agent, others I read because they had great info, even if they didn't rep what I wrote. Some I read because they reminded me that agents and editors were people doing a job, and they weren't out to make my life miserable (even if some did, on occasion, make me cry and feel like I couldn't put a sentence together). Remembering this made it a lot easier to handle rejection, and it kept me from getting bitter about an industry I really wanted to be a part of.

Publishing is a hard business. But you know what? So is construction work, or medicine, or waitressing. If you want to get into any field, there are obstacles you'll have to overcome. Some ate harder than others, but they're all just jobs.

Think back on every job you've ever had. Chances are there was one person who whined all the time, thought everyone else was an idiot, and was sure they knew it all and did it best. Usually that person was wrong about everything and no one liked them. This is the same person who blames the agent for not recognizing their genius and who tells those trying to help them they're wrong.

Nobody likes that person.

Most of all, nobody wants to work with that person.

And when working means selling your book, this is the kiss of death for a writer.

Don't be that person.


  1. Yes, yes, yes. Incisively put, Janice.

  2. Beautifully put, Janice--if only all writers could understand this and put it into action when they next discuss their work.

    Oh, and thank you for linking to my blog. That was very kind.

  3. Most welcome :) (and thank you)