Hanging With Nice People

One of the really nice things about being an agent is that I don’t really have to bullshit people. My clients count on me to tell them the truth. So, when I really like something they’ve written I get to fully express that and when I don’t like something they’ve written I don’t have to blow smoke up their skirts (or whatever) trying to be polite or dancing around the issue. When I pitch a manuscript to editors it becomes my job to be fully expressed, to convey all the enthusiasm and love that I have for my clients’ projects to them. I get a little nervous before I’m going to pitch, but then when I remember what my job is, it’s actually easy  because I love my clients’ manuscripts! The negotiating contracts part of being an agent is basically no bullshit, just business.

It’s funny, because even though it’s all just business (whether I take on an author as a client or not, how I edit, how and what the author writes, to whom I pitch, who I avoid, etc…) there’s an element to being an agent that (for me, anyway) transcends the agent/author or agent/editor business relationship. It’s one of the things I like about the world of publishing. I don’t know, maybe I just like book people. Since we’re all mostly a bunch of book nerds, who get excited about make-believe and telling stories to each other, I’m finding there’s a camaraderie that exists in this industry that is quite different than other industries. Or maybe I’m just hanging out with really nice people or something.

Do you think publishing people are particularly nice or am I living in my own little bubble?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Hanging With Nice People

  1. Katie Sparrow

    Sounds like right livelihood to me!

  2. Since I have just begun my dance with the world of agents and publishers it is nice to hear they aren’t scary monsters waiting to rip my manuscript to pieces just because they CAN.

  3. I think publishing folks are super cool, but in my experience, Linda, you are one of the most outwardly positive people I’ve come across in the biz. I used to be a regular reader of dozens of literary agent blogs and, to tell you the truth, many of them scared/depressed me about the book industry! When I read your blog, though, all that comes across is your love of books and writers. Gold star, Linda! Gold star! 🙂

    • Aw, thanks! I’m definitely a glass half full kind of person. (Except when I’m not.) I do fully believe that we are all the authors of our own experience though, so I try to remember that whenever I get disheartened or worried about what’s going to happen next. (Except when I don’t.)

  4. Don’t ever apologize in any way for doing what U have to do. If you are a lady bug and you tell everyone you are a butterfly that would be confusing. So I say “to your own self be true” You can sleep at nite that way and no need to apologize for what “needs” to be said or done. The people who are really hateful are the ones who hide their leopard spots and then rip your throat open. I have lots of experience with that kind of stuff. ♥♥♥

  5. I came to writing from academia, and the transition was startling, to put it mildly. In academia, people collaborate, but they’re also incredibly competitive–competing for grant money, competing to get their paper published first, competing against people with competing ideas (just trying to see how many times I can get competing into one sentence). But the kidlit community is incredibly open and supportive. They welcome newcomers and go a long way to help them succeed. It’s one of the most refreshing changes I’ve ever made.

  6. I agree about SCBWI conferences. You could hang out with anyone, no matter where, and they were warm and welcoming. You could go to dinner with absolutely anyone & the conversations were so interesting!

  7. Interesting. I have notice when I attend an SCBWI event, the folks are much nicer than if I attend, for example, any workshop for those who write for the adult market. Not that all the adult market people are difficult but there’s a more competitive feel for some reason. I think there’s room for all of us, we just have to find our voice then figure out who wants to hear it and how to reach them.

  8. I can’t speak for all age groups, but I absolutely agree that kidlit writers, authors, agents, and editors are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. That’s why I love going to kidlit conferences. From my very first one, where I knew no one, I found people to talk to and spend time with.

    I think that most of us believe in paying it forward. We also love good books and want to see as many of them made as possible.

  9. I would have to agree. Thus far, all my fears and stereotypes regarding Publishing peeps have been blown out of the water. They’re human, have families, a sense of humor and have done nothing except inspire me. And I plan to send them chocolate when they publish me! Or flowers if they’re allergic! 😉