A Literary Agent Says Agents Have the Tough Job, Not Writers.

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lizmonster

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Sorry, I probably should have added the disclaimer that I'm a very black and white and also VERY pessimistic (bitter? jaded? nihilistic?) thinker. Obviously how I feel about things (this isn't selling = this is worthless garbage that you just wasted years on) is not a reflection of everyone. Or reality. šŸ¤£ I may have been a touch too hyperbolic in my original post. My bad!
FWIW I'm also a very black-and-white thinker. I've just maybe seen more of the underbelly of the business than you have. So no worries at all - but please do remember that your writing is not worthless. Even if it doesn't sell.
 

Mevrouw Bee

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Yes, exactly. Which is why the twitterstorms and the pile-ons and flamings are not just inappropriate and badly-targeted but also unfair.
But agents aren't above criticism. If they share an opinion, they need to expect that some may disagree and offer reality from the other side. And if the (ever-changing) process feels opaque, then theories (sometimes fair, sometimes unfair) do fester.

It doesn't help that the industry talks to writers out both sides of its mouth: "You're looking for a business partner" vs "Behave or no agent will want to rep you."

Agents aren't one homogeneous blob of gatekeepers, I know. But writers on Twitter aren't all an uncivilized bullying mob either.
 
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mccardey

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But agents aren't above criticism. If they share an opinion, they need to expect that some may disagree
Honestly, no-one is above criticism. But not all forms of criticism are warranted. And twitter-pile-ons being moved to other sites so that people can be outraged by decontextualised stuff that may or may not be real but, hey twitter is having a moment - is that really how we want to spend our time?

In any case, this is AW, and we have the one rule here - RYFW. Which has, traditionally, included agents and editors and other writing-adjacent people. Not that we have to agree with them - but we have to respect them. Not dogpile them because twitter said we could.

And there's the other rule - add light, not heat.

And the other other rule which says, just- don't be a dick.

I mean you can - of course you can. But maybe, don't. Don't be a dick.
 
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lizmonster

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But agents aren't above criticism. If they share an opinion, they need to expect that some may disagree and offer reality from the other side. And if the (ever-changing) process feels opaque, then theories (sometimes fair, sometimes unfair) do fester.

It doesn't help that the industry talks to writers out both sides of its mouth: "You're looking for a business partner" vs "Behave or no agent will want to rep you."

Agents aren't one homogeneous blob of gatekeepers, I know. But writers on Twitter aren't all an uncivilized bullying mob either.

Yeah, like mccardey says, I think this whole conversation is mostly commetary on the insufficiency of Twitter (even before it was a N*zi bar) as a place to discuss anything of nuance.

There should be safe spaces for agents to bitch about their business, and for writers to bitch about theirs. Maybe Twitter is the wrong place for both those conversations.

Sometimes I think most publishing arguments occur because we all treat publishing as if it's one monolithic industry, and it's not. It's a bunch of little industries and freelancers all cobbling together a teetering rope bridge connecting a piece of artwork with the public, and every time there's a new book it's a new bridge.

Also, we're not all going to like each other, and that's fine.
 

Maryn

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AW does have a rule that pertains, penned by the site owner and rarely read, apparently: Don't act like a jerk. See it in its glorious entirety here.

I'm closing this thread. It appears to me that people have had every opportunity to say their piece. We are not Twitter, and Lord knows if we ran Twitter, it would be unlike its present incarnation. For one thing, we would not tolerate people who act like jerks.

Maryn, all official
 
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