Really, I Don't

It's always the same. New agent or publisher rolls onto the scene with no reason for a writer who's serious about their career to bother with. But according to their defenders, we should.

Because he/she is a nice guy/girl.

Usually this common defense is coupled with things like 'well he/she actually takes time for their authors' or 'they give authors a more personal experience than other agencies/publishers' or something similar. And to be honest, defenders of the inexperienced, I don't care. Not that I don't care in the sense that it doesn't matter whether my agent or publisher is nice or a total jacka--, but that it's not much of a determining factor for me. It's not even in my top three. Mine are:

1.)Do they rep/publish my genre?
2.)Do they have relevant experience?
3.)Have they been making good consistant sales to commercial publishers?/Are they selling to the general public?

There's also a fourth, are there any conflict of interests, which I won't go into here. That one aside, I think that's the most important top three a writer should stick to when they're ready to shop a manuscript. In my eyes, if you can't meet ALL of those top three the consideration ends. How nice you are becomes irrelevant. This is a business, and I for one am not here to be someone's guinea pig to learn from. Qualities like niceness, how easy they are to communicate with, etc. should only come into play AFTER meeting the top three. Not before, because then you're just wasting your time. I'll never understand this defense, just like I'll never understand why people query first and ask questions after.

Research. It's your friend.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Common sense, then - only it's not so common!

Palindrome said...

I completely agree!

But some people are just looking to have a "nice" experience or want their book published no matter what.

I, for one, have high standards. Working in a bookstore for a dozen years will do that.

M.R.J. Le Blanc said...

@Alex: it's so true. I think a lot of people's problems would be prevented if they'd just stop and think a moment.

@Palindrome: me too, and I think any writer who's serious about getting published should have high standards. And if those folks would really look around, they'd see many authors who've had 'nice' experiences while being successful too!


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