Is it who you know?
(blows dust off blog)
This article made the rounds today, and I wanted to link it here, because it is very useful in framing how and why agents take things on.
My caveat would be that the writer’s point here, tweetable though the “it’s who you know” is, is actually more complex than just networking. It’s about becoming really good, then having that goodness recognized by people who are already trusted by the agent AND will vouch for your quality as a person and as a writer. If any of those elements aren’t there, all the connections in the world won’t affect the outcome.
I get a lot of things sent my way by people other than the author. Freelance editors, lawyers, conference chairs, my clients, etc. Some of what gets sent is brilliant. Some is clearly not ready for prime time. Think obvious first drafts of novels that came my way via a passing professional acquaintance of the writer’s dad/wife/brother, who is just trying to do a friend’s loved one a favor. If I don’t trust the taste of the person who referred it, and/or they’ve never read the author’s work either, there really is no leg up to having had it come in by those means. I’m not entering the read inclined toward it without that trust and voucher.
So those of you out there doing the good work, the hard thankless seemingly endless work of getting sharper and better every day as a writer, and then seeing tweets about this article and wanting to just light the whole thing on fire? Do not despair that your brother’s cousin isn’t a Somebody who will send your book to an agent. Many of the people who have those connections use them too soon or expect them to be a guarantee. The times it does open the door, as this article actually does a great job of highlighting, it’s because there’s a backstory of daily effort and work that doesn’t make for a sexy slug line. But the not-sexy hard-work part that gets left out of the narrative later is what makes it possible for you to be that “friend of a friend” or slush-pile success story.
Much like the idea of the overnight success, there really is no magic shortcut or right way. There’s only your road to success.
Filed under: Holly Root | 4 Comments