Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Need the Lovin' Before the Sellin'

In her morning blog post, Jessica over at BookEnds, talks about The Need to Fall in Love and she does a good job of explaining why - from an agent standpoint - she needs to fall in love with a manuscript before she offers representation.

What I'd like to talk about this morning is why you need her (or any agent) to fall in love before you accept her offer.

As you all might have guessed, I'm big on analogies.  So let's look at this like we'd look at a romantic relationship.

Have you ever been in a relationship where you thought the world of the guy and he was just meh?  Or flip it over: Have you ever been in the situation where he was the one in love and you were meh?  Either way, the long term prospects probably weren't good.  One of you was willing to put in a tremendous amount of work to make the relationship succeed while the other's heart just wasn't in it.

Think about the agent/author relationship as something that can't exist without the love.  You're putting your all into it, and they should be, too.  Problem is, they won't be putting in the effort if they aren't feeling the love.  They can't afford to.  And you can't afford to be in that relationship if that's the case either.

But, you may say to yourself, I don't need them to love my book, I just need them to sell it.  Been there, thought that.  Desperation will make you think a lot of crazy things sometimes.  Like 'I can make him love me, if I just a) wait long enough, b) try harder, c) change myself...'  You get the point.

Having been in sales, though, I know that if you don't believe in what you're selling, your potential buyers won't believe in it either.  Which is why my stint at selling a beautician trade mag was so short.  I didn't think much of the paper, and I just couldn't make up a good enough excuse to get others to buy it.  On the other hand, put a good ergonomic screwdriver in my hand and I can sell the hell out of them - because I know how well they work.  (Or in the case of the picture, toroids* - EMI suppression devices that were the best on the market.  Dude, if you have anything electronic, you have electro-magnetic interference to screw it up and you really want these puppies.  LOL, see?  I haven't worked for that company in 9 years and I'm still selling their stuff.)

So, when you get a rejection where the agent tells you they liked your work, but they just didn't love it, cut them some slack.  Accept the gift they're giving you.  Now you're free to find that one special someone who loves your work as much as you do.  And if you have to wait for what seems like eons, so be it.

Because somewhere out there is an agent who'll love this manuscript so much they can't help but shout their love from every tall tree.  And as we all know, that's where the sales comes from.

*You know those lumpy cylinder things on your laptop's power cord?  Under the plastic sheath and over the wire is a toroid.  It keeps EMI (basically like static) from dancing up your power cord and frying your computer's delicate parts.  There are other EMI devices inside the case, too.  Sometimes so tiny they look like grains of pepper in your palm.  =o)


  1. Wow, learned something today, B.E. - thanks.

    And thanks for the analogy! I've received a fair amount of rejections that have the 'like it, didn't love it' stamp all over it. Now, I understand and those rejections aren't so bad afterall.

    Of course, rejections still hurt!

  2. So true. And btw, I always wondered what those lumpy cylinder things were. Thanks!

    I gave you an award over at my blog today, so stop by when you have a chance!

  3. Great post! I suppose in some ways, rejections are good. I really want someone who will work as hard on my book as I have.

  4. Passion is what it's all about. I'm not sure I'd want an agent who took on projects she didn't love (whether it was mine or not).

    How can she make somebody else love it an pay a lot of money for it and commit to all sorts of trouble for it if she doesn't love it herself?