Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Are agents only looking for books that personally interest them? And if you have an agent, is it important that your agent loves every book you write?
These are some things I’ve heard authors discussing, so I’ll give my perspective.
It’s certainly ideal if your agent enjoys reading your manuscript, because they’re going to read it once, twice, or multiple times. That’s awfully hard if they merely tolerate your work rather than enjoying it.
But it’s not a necessity. As an author you should be more concerned that your agent believes in you and your work. There may be times your agent has to push hard, fight through obstacles, get creative about selling your book to a publisher or negotiating disagreements with a publisher. That’s much easier to do if the agent is totally sold out on you and your project.
Don’t forget that an agent’s criteria for “liking” a manuscript may be different from yours. When we’re looking for projects in a professional capacity, our “Do I like it?” filter is different from the one we use when looking for books for our personal reading. We might love a manuscript, totally believe in it, and want to represent it, even though it’s totally different from what we typically choose for our leisure reading.
For an agent, a far more crucial question than “Do I like it?” is “Do I think I can sell it?” Answering that question involves our knowledge of the current publishing market; the likelihood of a publisher buying it; whether we have the right contacts for this particular book; and of course, whether we think the author has the right platform and/or credentials to be successful with their proposed project.
In the end, I choose projects to represent based on a combination of what I like, what I believe will sell, what fits into the current market, and what I’d be proud to align my name with. Not sure there’s any other way to do this job!
What do you think? Does your agent have to love your book?
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