OFFER OF REP! (and why I said no).
I came across the above blog post by @LucasMight last night on twitter and immediately my interest was piqued.
My initial thought was He got offered representation and said no! Why? How? Why? What?
It’s no big secret that while writers write because it’s their passion (as it should be), they also tend to obsess about finding an agent, getting a book deal, and…gasp…seeing their book on the shelves one day.
It’s also no big secret that it was probably easier for Frodo to get to Mordor than it will be for many authors to get published.
If traditional publication is the path we wish to take, then we’ll likely need the help of an agent -the gatekeepers of publishing.
So when getting an agent is the first goal, the thought of rejecting one was almost unthinkable to me…until I read Lucas’s post, that is.
It’s not often that we see stories like this. I don’t think it’s because they don’t happen, but because they’re just not talked about.
Like talking about rejection while querying, publicly opening up about rejecting an agent has a certain stigma to it. And when I opened the blog, I was anxious for Lucas. I wondered what others might think of this revaluation. Would other agents read this and think less of an author because they shone a light on a bad offer?
But then I read the blog, and all of my concerns vanished. This story is candid and insightful. I also thought it was incredibly brave, not only because Lucas took the risk of putting the story out there, but because it shows that he had enough faith in his work to want only the best for it. And incidentally, while getting an offer for representation was a great moment, Lucas was smart enough to know that all that glitters is not gold.
This is a valuable lesson for all aspiring authors to be wary when it comes to signing with an agent. Bad representation can be the death of your book. That’s not to say that the agent pursuing Lucas was a bad agent, but if an author isn’t careful, their book could end up in purgatory.
As for the blog’s reception, I can see that there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response. Writers (including me) are grateful to get a head shake, to know that it’s okay, and necessary to turn down an offer if it doesn’t feel right.
I also think that agents will commend Lucas for his honesty and reiterate the message. It’s important to research an agent’s merit before querying them, but it’s even more important to use caution when representation is offered.
While landing an agent might be the dream, landing the wrong one could be the nightmare.
3 responses to “The excitement of getting an agent “OFFER OF REP! (and why I said no)””
:: blushes ::
I really appreciate your insightful response. And, yes, it was a risk to post my experience. Sometimes fear enslaves us, and we make decisions based on that fear.
For example: What if I post this, even if I’m careful, and people take offense, and it ruins everything?
OR: What if I don’t take this offer? What if I never receive another one? Ever?
I’m a proponent of calculated risk, of candor while remaining professional. It is indeed a scary tightrope to walk, but the only other option [for me] is to let fear win. And I’m definitely NOT a proponent of that. 😉
I think any legitimate agent that stumbles across your post will agree with you. It’s not like you’re trashing a fantastic offer. Anyone who signed over their “ideas” for the length of a contract would be insane!
I’m really glad he wrote that post as well. Maybe it will save other authors from going through what I did.