As always, here are some post-auction thoughts from a few of our Baker's Dozen agents. Enjoy!
From Sarah Negovetich:
Contests are super exciting and watching agents fight tooth and nail for the chance to read your words is crazy, stupid exciting. And that makes it really easy to get caught up in it all and forget that this is all about finding the right business partner for you and your work. An agent plays the complicated role of being your friend/supporter/confidant/business manager. That means you need to like them AND trust them. As agents, we love getting exclusives, but we also understand that it isn't usually in the best interest of the writer. I'd like to encourage all the 60, wow 60, winners to send out their submissions and then take a deep breath. If you get an offer, do a happy dance or pop a bottle or whatever else you do to celebrate. Then ask for time. You need to make sure this decision, which will greatly impact your career as a writer, is the right one for you. Maybe you know that this is your perfect agent. Great! But never be afraid to tell an agent that you need more time or that you want to hear from the other agents who are interested in your work. A good agent will respect that you are making an important decision and will give you the time you need. But know that we are all secretly hoping you pick us. :)
From Josh Getzler:
It's always such a treat to be involved in the Baker's Dozen auction. It lets writers see agents let down our guard and be what we are: not just negative, bitter, jaded wretches, but giddy fanboys and -girls who love books and writers and are in business because we really want to find the next big book (and not because we're sadists who merely want to crush people's dreams) :)
(Read Josh's in-depth thoughts about the Baker's Dozen HERE.)
From Pam van Hylckama Vlieg:
Any day that Brooks loses bloody on the manuscript battlefield is a good day and a battle well won. Thank you to all of the writers that risked sending in your MS (to possibly be won by Brooks) and letting us fight over your hard work.
From Lauren MacLeod:
Baker's Dozen is one of my absolute favorite events of the year. I love just about everything about it: the friendly trash talking I am completely not above instigating weeks in advance, the public display of my incredibly competitive side, the chance to give unagented writers both a sense of my taste and show my enthusiasm for good concepts, and (newly) the sweet, sweet thrill of taking a manuscript out from under Brooks* [the trouncing of whom completely makes up for my own stunning losses to Joan Paquette and Michelle Wolfson]. Thanks to Authoress for hosting again, my own Jodi Meadows for helping her dig through the slush and, most of all, thanks to all you guys who submitted-- putting your work out there to be judged so publicly is incredibly brave and I hope you all found the exercise useful.
*I know it seems like we all picked on Brooks this year and you may even want to feel sorry for him. Let me clarify something: we all did pick on Brooks. We basically got together, took a vote and decided to take him down. But don't worry, he totally deserves it! Followers of this blog may ask: does this have anything to do with getting him back for winning The Cutest Tiny Agent contest in April when he so obviously didn't deserve to? Of course not! Completely unrelated!
From Michelle Wolfson:
I once wrote a blog post about why I enjoy going to writers' conferences, and while I don't remember the details, the gist of it was that I love the enthusiasm and the chance to be optimistic about writing. That so many times I am in a position of having to say no, but that for two days, I get to encourage writers without worrying about all of the negative sides of the business. If that's not what I wrote, then that's what I think about writers' conferences today.
But who really cares when this is about my thoughts on the Bakers Dozen Auction.
But as you may have guessed, I have a similar attitude towards the Auction. I love the spirit of it--encouraging writers to be better, and giving agents a chance to show our enthusiasm for writers.
The positive feedback is so often a private thing between agents and authors (though perhaps less so if you follow me on twitter), but even more so for all of the writers whose work I don't go on to represent. I really enjoy the opportunity to publicly express how much I love a work in progress, whatever may ultimately happen.
As for the trash talking that goes on between the agents, well, that just gets my competitive juices flowing and really adds to the fun.
Thank you to Authoress and Jodi for all of their hard work curating. Thank you to all of the writers for putting themselves out there. And thanks to the commenters for their critiques. I think that you help each other be better writers and that's a wonderful thing to see in the community.
Wow, mushy thoughts. Good thing I already killed it in the actual auction.
Go forth and write. See you next year!