23 June 2015

Fifty Books in Five Months: On Agents

In reading fifty books in five months, I found myself gaining a much greater appreciation for what literary agents go through when reading submissions.

A lot of agents talk about how they only offer representation for books they love; that there are lots and lots of perfectly good, even great, books that they pass on because they are not passionate about them.

I understand that completely.

After reading fifty books, there weren't that many I can think back on and still feel the emotional charge from them. I bought thirteen of those fifty books (with intentions to buy a fourteenth). Of those books, six of them shared one author, and another three shared a second author. The total number of authors whose books I loved enough to read them over and over: seven.

And I got to read the finished products. An agent had to see the potential enough to want to spend weeks or months or years revising a book before I ever got my hands on it as a reader.

I spend enough time in the internet writing community to know and see how painful and frustrating "not for me" is. But all things considered, I think it's an honest response. There were a ton of books I read that I could tell someone else would love, even though I didn't. And it wasn't always something I could articulate, either. The heart wants what the heart wants.

I imagine it's the same for an agent.