All I want for Christmas is an agent

n50503723_30999745_267 Writers endure more judgment and criticism than perhaps any other art aside from music. Agents write blogs on the amount of drivel they read in the slush piles, ranting on how many of us they would like to bar from ever buying another laptop, or picking up another pen. Even when one of us has the good fortune to get published, reviews can cut right to the bone. Some of them are purposely written to make the reviewer seem more important than they really are.  So here is my question, does it matter, really? When you read rants from agents about ill-prepared authors or seemingly thin plot-lines and less than stellar characters, does it discourage you from writing?
There are times when it discourages me from submitting. Mostly, I chastise myself for wasting time on the Internet in the first place. But, there are times when the weight grows too heavy and it halts my ambition. That’s when any author needs to take a few days away from the phone and Internet, and recharge.
Receiving tons of rejection doesn’t mean your work is genuis waiting to be discovered, just as being placed on the shelves of Barnes and Noble doesn’t mean it has been. Trends in publishing wax and wane and the personal tastes of burnt out agents, editors and publishers only narrow down the slight venue that makes it to print. This, at the end of the day, means little in relation to your story.
I read a review from a website I am quite fond of, that felt harsh. I won’t go into which author or what book, but what I will say is that it felt like the reviewer wanted the author to follow certain formulas, map out characters in a very specific way and even went so far as to critisize the plot itself. Clearly, he didn’t care for the book…so why make the assumption that it needed to be changed? If you want it to be another book, perhaps you should just…read. another. book.
I don’t know, maybe I am too sensitive, but I hurt for her. She responded far more professionally than I might have been tempted to. She was applauded for accepting criticism so gracefully. I don’t do much of anything gracefully, let alone taking shots like that. I’ve never been accused of playing well with others. (Unless of course those ‘others’ happen to be my characters, that’s a little different)
So what say you? All this makes me want to be a recluse, not that I’m not already…am I alone here?

2 responses

  1. I think the abillity to take critism is important for a writer. Even if your work is pure genious, there is no way that you could write to fit everyones tastes.

    Having said that though, I personally don’t post negative reviews. I will offer my thoughts to the author of the work, but I wouldn’t post a poor review on the web for the world to see. As a writer myself, I feel too much for other writer’s to put them through that.


  2. The publishing industry is a lucrative business and I’ve begun to realize that you can’t please everyone, but in saying that, you didn’t begin writing for everyone, did you? You began writing for yourself and it may have progressed into something more, which now is leading to bad reviews, self doubt, and anxiety. I’ve had lots of moments lately doubting my choice to push along with writing, but I think that doing it will make me a stronger person. Just because someone doesn’t like your writing, doesn’t mean everyone won’t. I’ve had some horrible reviews and although they did drag me down for awhile, it also made me take a look back at the work and see if there was anything I could have done differently and I ended up writing a better book(in my opinion). So, just take all the bad reviews and chalk them up to experience. A smart woman once told me that.

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