Monday, January 26, 2009


Inversion status: The snow is a welcome break. It's nice to know we are no longer swimming in our own filth, where the rain is just the Salt Lake Valley sweating.

Continuing on about getting an agent, status:
Most agents receive hundreds of query letters a week, and these letters are collectively referred to as the "slushpile."

Each one of those queries will receive one of three responses:
1. A request for more! A full or a partial manuscript! Yay!
2. A rejection. Boo.
3. Absolutely, positively, hold-your-breath NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Big fat zero.

Rejections from agents are like rejections from boyfriends. (Or girlfriends). Each time you get one, it kind of feels like you're being dumped. The difference is, usually you're only relationship-dumped one at a time. Agent rejections, however, come by the butt-load, so it's possible to get dumped several times in one day. Hurray!

Whether it's a lover or an agent doing the dumping, they all seem to say the same thing. So below, I give you,


1. Boyfriend-speak: "It's not you. It's me."
Agent-speak: "I already have enough clients. To take someone new on, that someone would have to have written Moby Dick."

Positive Motivator: The good agents already have a bazillion clients. And since I have no intention to write the next Moby Dick, I don't take these too personally. Besides, I'm afraid of the ocean.

2. boyfriend: "You're right for someone, just not right for me."
agent: "There may be another agent out there who would be willing to gamble on you. But it ain't gonna be me."

Positive Motivator: I look at this as an optimistic response. Most likely, this phrase is already written into their automatic rejection letter, but I like to believe the agent really means, "boy, someone's gonna snatch her up, but quick."

3. boyfriend: "You just don't... do it for me."
agent: "I'm not passionate enough about your work to represent it. You want someone who's passionate about your project."

Positive Motivator: Everyone's tastes are different. Just because you don't do it for someone, doesn't mean you won't do it for someone else. (Does that make sense?)

4. boyfriend: "I don't find you attractive anymore. Have you given any thought to a gym membership?"
agent: "Your book is way too long. Find a way to trim the fat.

Positive Motivator: Agents are always looking for an easy reason to reject. Word count is one of them. If your query says you wrote a manuscript that's 120,000 words long, then the agent might just reject it purely for word count.

So, in short, trim the fat.

5. boyfriend: "I'm just not that into you."
agent: "I'm just not that into your book."

Positive Motivator: drown your sorrows in Ben and Jerry's double chocolate fudge brownie.

6. boyfriend: "Have you ever considered playing for the other team?"
agent: "You may want to give up writing all together, and instead take cooking classes."

Positive Motivator: I can't cook worth a darn.

I will admit that I have been dumped by four of these six examples. It's up to you to figure out which ones!


  1. I know that you have actually never been dumped by a boyfriend, so I am assuming that these are all lines that you used on the guy you were breaking up.

    And for those agents that 'rejected' you, well, they just did not get to know you. Ted did and boy was he lucky because he struck gold when he signed you up.


    Your unbiased husband

  2. Bro- I've never been dumped. I've broken up with both my boyfriends. All the other guys I dated just never called me back. what catagory does that fit under?

  3. Shell-

    That would fall under the "too chicken to man up and grow a pair" category.
    I said that to all of the agents who never responded to me. I would have been harsher, but I heard it's not smart to burn bridges.

  4. unbiased husband is an oxymoron, right? :O)

  5. Dumping is one thing....what you do with it is another :) You already do have an agent though, right? Or am I cofused?? Love the analogies though. You always make me smile!

  6. Cam-

    Yes, Sherpa Ted is my agent. I'm just going through the process, and pointing out all the positive aspects! (Because, really, the process sucks).

  7. Rejection HA! Try being a dentist, I'm greeted daily by the phrase "I hate the dentist...(awkward pause)... not you of course."

    PS. What is "being dumped"? - that I've never experienced.

  8. Being dumped surely isn't something you're used to, but the two times that you were rejected should have made you stronger. Sam, she was dumbed once by a boy, his name was Dave Nesland.
    Positive Motivator: She found out who your real friends (Jason Stock) were.
    The other rejection was when BYU denied her acceptance and she had to go to the U.
    Positive Motivator: Hmm...I don't think there is one.

  9. Thanks, Ben. Just for that, I am dedicating my blog tomorrow to you. And Dave Neslin.