An Agent’s Lament: My Interrogative Pronoun Rant


1. Who is going to be the lucky editor who makes me my next offer? Who will win that particular prize? Because I’ve got some really kick ass manuscripts out on submission right now, and someone’s going to be snatching them up. Who is it going to be? Who are you?!

2. What is the deal with “New Adult” literature? I mean, is it just YA with more graphic sex? What do we really need another category of books for? Are bookstores going to make another section for it? What for? WTF?

3. Where are the writers who are writing the manuscripts that I wish were coming into my inbox? Where should I look? Writer’s conferences? Contests? Twitter? Yoo hoo! Where are you?

4. When will I ever have time to just sit and read a book for pleasure? Like, not because I’m staying current with the market or because it’s new and I need to keep my finger on the pulse? When will I ever have time to read something that was published a long time ago, just because I never read it, or want to re-read it? When will that happen?

5. Why do some editors never answer their phone? I mean, whenever I call I get voicemail. First thing in the morning. Lunch time. Mid afternoon. Right before 5. Even after 5. I know editors are busy. I mean, I really do know that. But there are some editors who never, ever answer their fricken’ phone. Why is that?

6. How am I really supposed to reject queries so people don’t lose hope and/or think I’m just another idiot agent sending a form rejection? I mean, honestly, I can’t give feedback on every rejection. If I did, I wouldn’t have time to do my job. How could I possibly do that? How can folks expect it?


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16 responses to “An Agent’s Lament: My Interrogative Pronoun Rant

  1. You continue to impress me, Linda. You have such passion and such CARE for the work. My answer to all of these queries: time. Time will tell. You keep fighting the good fight! Your clients are lucky to have you. 🙂

  2. The new adult category puzzles me too. Isn’t a new adult just a young one with a different adjective attached?

  3. Now don’t you feel better after getting that off your chest? 🙂

  4. Marc Schuster

    Where? Maybe they’re writing for small presses… You might find your next client here:

  5. The answer to #3 is me. Just give me a little more time. I will rock your socks off.

  6. WHO isn’t going to be offended by the term “New Adult?” I feel like that’s about one step away from sitting a 22-year-old down and saying, “You know, your body will soon go through some changes. And changes can be scary, but they don’t HAVE to be…” Yucky. I agree: nix the whole “New Adult” thing, unless someone is going to pay me six figures to publish in that new genre. In that case, bring it on!

      • alka11217

        umm. maybe i’m like, so so SO old (like put 2 1/2 ‘new adults’ together and you get one of me) but what does FSHB stand for? embarrass me, please. meanwhile, yes. ugh. a new category that my almost/maybe manuscript (currently under revision) might almost/maybe fall in to. but do i need to get all full frontal and graphic to ‘turn on’ the right agent, then editor? yee gads, it all just makes me want to curl up and take a nice miss marple type nappy-poo.

      • FSHB are the initials of a manuscript. It’s an inside joke. Don’t worry, I’m old, too. But what about if Miss Marple was 23?! And hot? (Although I’m really not a mystery reader…)

    • Nah. I think I’d be more in to letting Miss Marple stay octogenarian and having a New Adult age lover. Maybe one of those New Direction Wankers. I hope FSHB is a steamy love-fest. At least for the two of you guys!

      • I mean, once it gets published, like, um, a steamy love-fest you guys can have because you’re sooooo happy to be getting those big New Adult bucks!

  7. Who is going to be that agent that gives my project a shot? ‘Cuz nobody ever thought to have a kid dream to the past and meet the great-grandmother of his best friend and fall in love with her, right? My project is the best anyone ever wrote, er, except JK Rowling? er, and C.S. Lewis? and Lois Lowry, Jane Creech, Sherman Alexie, ugh – maybe I give up, but who will take a shot?

    What is the magic word that have to put in a query that will make the agent in “Who” turn red with passion and grab the phone? What magic scene do I have to stick in the MS to make that agent see dollar signs dancing on a movie screen?

    Where do I go and spend the next month’s rent to meet the magic agent who is already dreaming about jamming my manuscript down Candlewyck’s phone line (that they never, ever pick up to talk to The Blabbermouth, their bookie, or their boyfriends)?

    When will I ever have time to read for personal pleasure instead of to build up my platform, to show my mastery of literary fiction for my grown-up book, or to demonstrate my encyclopedic knowledge (HA!) of middle grade and YA trends for The Dream Traveller – or all the books in my critique circles?

    Why am I posting this excellent idea on the Blabbermouth’s blog, where it belongs, instead of ripping it off in cold blood and doing the exact same thing on mine and saying I invented it? Why am I stealing time from my boss, whose toes I feel compelled to kiss every minute for turning me into an editor instead of just a dude with a book or three?

    How am I really going to figure out a way to query The Blabbermouth and all other agents who have already passed on Ezra the Dream-Traveller, giving them utter and complete amnesia so that they magically say yes? How do I, humble dude-with-a-book-or-three that I am, dare to write this post, riffing on an agent’s heartfelt woes to sob along in my own special way – and will it take anyone twice ’round the world never closer to home than the day I started (thanks, T. S. Eliot and Genesis).

  8. Caitlin

    I feel the same way about New Adult. I mean, I like the idea of a better descriptor for the 20-25 age demographic, but most of what I’m seeing labeled New Adult so far just seems to be sexy romances.

  9. And WHICH one of them is getting off first?

    Thank you, Pronouns!