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Thread: Problems getting an agent and problem agents

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  1. #33
    practical experience, FTW Woollybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    My thoughts go in different directions on different days. There's sort of a core that stays true to my feelings, which is that it's complex.

    There are some amazing people in publishing, doing 'all the right things.' There are also other people in publishing. It isn't one agent or one publishing house that's fantastic, or awful, or typical. There are multiples at each level and it depends what criterion you are measuring (resonating, shared vision; effective at getting deals; efficiency; other things).

    I'm a data-junkie and will take information where ever I can find it (discussions here: B&B, blogs, Strauss, twitter, query tracker, PW, conversations IRL, pitch wars, agent-interactions through querying, etc etc etc.) and continue to add notes to my spreadsheet of agents.

    Mutive--yeah, I agree about the number of good manuscripts that don't get picked up. I don't read slush but I beta read as often as I can, and next to that I read the best-selling or highly-recommended trade published novels.

    A powerhouse agent who I'd love to query has some rock-star authors and I started reading two or three first-in-series books from two of those authors. I had thought I would see a clear distinction in quality between this writing and some of the pieces from my friends. Eh. They're comparable.

    I guess that is comforting on the one hand, and it also informs me of what this agent is interested in, like where the boundaries are in terms of quality and so on. It was surprising, though.

    This also helps me sort through what is important to me in fiction, and I'm honing in on relationships. Stories that have no solid relationships from the get-go, and which rely on independent players pitting their goals against one another through page after page become tedious to me, even while I observe that this strategy (putting character goals in opposition) seems to engage readers more effectively at first blush. Of course, the conclusion is to integrate both--people in authentic and close relationship and also characters with opposing goals. I think this is why Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of my long-running favorite authors, despite the fall she took (through her own actions) at the end. She always wrote relationally, and it's hard for me to think of a single story she ever penned that didn't have this as a pillar. Le Guin, to the extent I've read her, also uses this strategy, as does Butler. Love those ladies of SF.

    Litdawg--I agree about the parallels to small restaurants. It really is a shame. The local Coffee Bean is closing due to COVID and I only mention it because that's where one of our IRL groups would meet to critique each week. Thanks for the Youtube link, I'm watching now. Sanderson does a live event on FB frequently. I have loved his BYU series on writing fantasy series. I love that man, and have never seen a reason to not love him. Such a helpful person.
    Last edited by Woollybear; 06-30-2020 at 08:10 PM.

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