Brace yourself. I'm not softening this one. In short:
AGENTS ARE NO BUSIER THAN YOU OR I.
Yes, they are busy. Yes, they work hard. Yes, when they graciously accept my invitation to be a Secret Agent, they are sacrificing time for the sake of others. BUT SO IS EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO CRITIQUES HERE.
For that matter, so am I.
We are ALL giving our time in many areas: jobs, family, writing, community, friendships, hobbies. Life is all about the time we spend BEING and DOING.
There is nothing inherently special about an agent's time. And there is nothing inherently amazing about an agent's level of busyness. We are ALL BUSY.
Why the rant? Comments like this:
How in the world does he find the time to be the Secret Agent? He is one busy feller.
(No reflection on the person who wrote it. Just one example of a pervasive perception problem that I'm attempting to debunk.)
Of course Nathan Bransford is busy. Very busy, even. But so is Ginger Clark. And Holly Root. And Kate Testerman. And Lauren MacLeod. And Josh Getzler. And every other agent, Secret and non-Secret.
And every other publishing professional.
And every other NON-publishing professional.
And every other skilled craftsman.
And every other stay-at-home mom.
And every. other. human. being.
Okay, I've surely made my point.
Why am I making the point in the first place? Because this is the root attitude that leads to an unhealthy view of the agent-client relationship. An author should never feel "smaller" or "less important" or "less busy" than his agent. If he feels that way, he's going to think it's okay if the agent consistently ignores emails, doesn't return phone calls, or doesn't actively shop the author's work. He's going to roll over and play dead when things feel wrong, assuming that the Mighty Agent is Simply Too Busy and will get around to the languishing author in the proper time.
That's a big pile of ocelot doo.
Mind you, there are dozens and dozens of agents who would never exhibit the above behavior. Scores and scores, even. So don't even think about accusing me of agent dissing. I'm not.
I love agents. Especially when they love me. *smile*
But the whole Bigger Than Life perception of literary agents has got to stop, dear writers.
If you struggle with this and you KNOW you want to break free, grab a copy of AGENT: DEMYSTIFIED right now. Because the entire e-book can be summed up in three words: AGENTS AREN'T SCARY.
Or something like that.
So please. Don't ever hesitate to thank an agent for his time. But don't fall over backward while exclaiming how amazed you are that he was able to give a mere ounce of it to you. He's not from Mount Olympus. And his life isn't more important or more demanding than your own. Every calling has its own "hard spots" and "easy spots." Don't fall into the trap of comparing yours to someone else's and assuming the other guy has come out "on top."
Okay? I love you guys. I want you to succeed. And success starts with the right attitude and perceptions of what it is you're trying to succeed at.