Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Choosing Something to Read

I was at the library today and had an epiphany of sorts.

My son was at tennis, my daughter at the camp program at the playground, so I had a few minutes to browse in the new book room and pick something out.

And nothing appealed to me. No titles jumped out at me. No authors who are on my personal 'must read list' had new books on the shelves that I hadn't already read. I pulled a few books off the shelf and read the jacket copy, then put them back.

Then suddenly I had some inkling of what an agent goes through every day as they read through their queries. Now, I realize that an agent can't simply base things on "what do I feel like reading today." An agent has to look for marketability and other things as well, but a part of it is going to come down to "does this appeal to me right now".

People caution that sometimes when an agent says no it's simply because the project wasn't right for that particular agent. And today I totally got that. All of those books on the shelves had been chosen by someone - either an agent or a publisher - and eventually even a librarian. They were the winners. The ones that got published. Yet, I couldn't find one to interest me.

So kudos to the agents who sift through queries all day looking for the gems.

And now it's time to go prepare a gem that an agent will want to read (and represent). But, if I get another rejection, I'll remember those books I didn't want to read in the library, and try again. Someone wants to read those books - and someone will like my new novel too.


  1. I think you're perception is point on. At a conference I recall an editor saying how they need to really love a book to take it because of the countless hours they will then spend with it. Bottom line: Someone will love your new novel (and mine too).

  2. Thanks Jim. And I look at it this way - someone liked all those books I rejected on the library shelves. If one agent rejects my work it doesn't mean it's not right for someone else!

  3. Christine- I never thought of it like that. The next time I'm at the library, I'll look at those books in a different way. :)

  4. Robyn, when an agent implies "it isn't you it's me" maybe they really mean it. :)

  5. Yeah, sometimes I'm awed at how open agents have to be. They have to look at PBs, MG, YA, etc. They can't pigeonhole themselves or they'll run out of things to sell.
    So what did you get?

  6. I'm not even sure what books I picked. One's called The Servant's Quarters - not sure about the other one. That's how excited I was about my book choices. Maybe it was just one of those days, yesterday.