Yesterday, agent Jessica Faust opened up the floor for writers to vent about their frustrations with agents. Many of the comments were interesting and brought up good points. However, it seemed as the day went on, there were a great deal more comments that were just plain bitter and vindictive.
I know it must be frustrating for many of these writers, especially if they’ve had less than pleasant experiences with agents. I know it has to be difficult to work months and years on a project only to be met with lack of response or rejection. And even though I haven’t gotten to that point yet, I’m sure I will be just as impatient and frustrated. However, I’m trying my best to prepare myself ahead of time for the inevitability of the waiting game, however frustrating it may be. That’s just part of the business, at least from what I’ve learned over the past few months.
I think many writers take such frustration out by playing the blame game. I would like to suggest that perhaps one of the main reasons their book hasn’t been repped by an agent yet is because it’s not ready and/or because of the strong competition for all of us unpublished, unrepped writers out there. There are hundreds of thousands of people wanting to be published and obviously not all will make it to that point (unless one takes the self-publishing route). You have to work harder and make your story stand out from the rest. And yes, you may end up encountering an agent or agency that’s less than professional–but that goes with the territory. Every aspect of human society, whether that’s business, religion or politics will have some people in it that make others look bad. Nothing in life is perfect, nor will it ever be. There will always be issues and we have to do our best to deal with them.
For some reason, agents, editors and publishers are expected to be superhuman and perfect irregardless of the fact that it’s just not possible.
If agentfail# has proven anything to me, it’s demonstrated that agents really do have to deal with a lot (the amount of irritated writers in the comments is definitely proof of that). Yes, they aren’t perfect. Yes, they will make mistakes. They are only human after all, despite what many writers want to think.
Venting frustrations are fine, (we all have to at some point) and giving suggestions about how to change flaws in a system are great, but it accomplishes nothing to be bitter about it.