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Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Portnoy had his complaint. This is mine.

I don't mind doing the behind-the-scenes work of writing and don't often complain about writing synopses, bios or pitch sentences. There's a certain thrill in sending my query with, or without a sample, to another agent I've taken time to get to know as much as I can from other authors represented, book deals made, website about pages and Twitter feeds. I've been known to go into a research frenzy and when I perfect my pitch, I feel certain the agent whose name is currently emblazoned in my corneas is "the one."

You see, finding the right literary agent is like falling in love. It's like walking out of your dream job site after acing the interview. It's like eating an entire five-layer chocolate cake, iced in fudge and smothered in ice cream knowing you won't gain a single ounce. It's like giving birth without the stretch marks or the agonizing pain. In my dreams, that's what it's like, at least.

I have no clue what it feels like to find the right agent, because I am still searching for  mine. 

Of the 14 agents I've queried, two have send rapid rejections. So rapid, in fact, that I believe the assistants who wrote slightly different versions of, "Unfortunately, after carefully reviewing your query, we’ve determined that this particular project isn’t the right fit for our agency at this time," must be speed readers. I'm certain I've had computer generated auto-responses that were slower than these rejections.

That's not my grievance, though. 

What gets my dander up is when a literary agent requests writers to use a third-party online submission process that does not work. It's generic and doesn't adhere to the agent's guidelines. That's not the entire problem, though. When, after careful consideration and time-consuming revisions to fit the maximum characters allowed and adding items to the portal that aren't usually called for in regular query letters, the online submission form generates a message that states no publishers or agents are available, I want to scream.

I don't, but I want to.

Screaming won't resolve the problem. I debate over whether to query the agent or move on. Some days, I move on to the next agent on my list of potential true loves and some days, I close my computer and call it a day. 

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