Several years ago I outlined these ten no-nos. With conference season in full swing I thought a refresher would be a good thing. Plenty of blogs tell you how to approach an agent, what to say and how to say it. Today I’m going to highlight my top ten things not to say when seeking to impress an agent. Here, in part, is what not to say to a potential agent:
1. I’ve only been writing for a couple of months and I’ve already got two books completely ready to publish.
2. I can’t spell worth a lick but, hey, that’s what editors are for, right?
3. I’m writing fiction. Romance mostly, but I have written a thriller and I dabbled in Amish. Fortunately, fiction is not my only interest, I have two nonfiction books as well— one on parenting and the other on finance. Oh, yes. I have three picture books I wrote for my grandchildren and am working on a middle grade series.
4. No, I don’t read in my genre at all. I don’t want to inadvertently steal anyone’s ideas.
5. My mother has read and loved all my manuscripts and she can’t wait until they are published so she can give them to her friends.
6. My novel weighs in at about 210,000 words but everyone tells me it so compelling they can’t put it down. After all, Harry Potter was bigger than any book of its genre at the time.
7. I’d love to show you my book but would you mind first signing this non-disclosure document drawn up by my lawyer?
8. I’m not much of a reader. My time is limited and I’d much rather write than read anyway.
9. I’ve discovered things in the Bible that no one has yet uncovered. Theological credentials? No, but I’ve spent my life digging into the Bible.
10. God gave me this book, nearly word for word.
Yes. I’ve heard all of the above and numerous variations of them over the years. I had planned to offer these What-Not-to-Say comments and then explain why they are so cringeworthy to an agent but I decided to let you do the work. Pick one or two (or more) and explain to our readers why they should never ever say them.
What not to say to a potential literary agent. Click to Tweet
Trying to impress a literary agent? Don’t say this. Click to Tweet