I think many of us would be lying if we did not say we had an idea of how we might want our writing career to go. I don’t just mean Hugo’s and Nebulas, though, why not? I mean down to what publisher you think matches you as your favorite author publishes with them, or you just like their covers, or perhaps what editor you might love to snag (again, likely reflected in who else they work with), and similarly what agent.
Though I think dreams help drive us, and I encourage their use as fuel for your productivity, I also think there is a danger in not keeping your mind open. In hanging your happiness on one editor or one agent’s vision matching yours.
At the end of the day, what you want should be the best match. Ever been on a blind date and it’s gone horribly? Or maybe I should ask, have you ever been on a blind date and it’s gone well? We all know the former is more common than the latter. So why do we put agents/editors/publishers we’ve never met on a pedestal? Most of them are perfectly nice, but I would posit that the relationship with these important people in your career is hopefully a long-term one and so who you match with is important to your happiness, so give them the benefit of the doubt but reserve judgment. Don’t decide they are your dream agent/etc without ever having met them, or knowing anything about their personality or work habits, or ethics. Just because they put time into author X does not mean you will have the same success, or that they even have the bandwidth for you.
Believe in yourself. I have always bet on myself, not depended on someone else to do it for me. Yes, getting the best agent for you may be part of what you have to do, but your book does not stand on just who your agent is. The magic sauce that determines whether your book does well is a combination of you/your work and your agent/editor/publisher (and a very healthy pinch of luck). Don’t forget that you are also part of this equation.
Do not put your happiness in the hands of someone else. An agent or editor may reject your novel in 30 seconds. Demoralizing? Yes. But don’t take it personally. They made a business call based chiefly on a gut feeling and what they have, which is usually not a lot to judge it. They could be wrong. Unless they do offer you a contract. In that case, they’re definitely right 😉
Any thoughts on finding the right match? It’s hard from an MSWL and what we can glean online. Post any thoughts or comments below!
And once again, this is day 4 of my experiment (see blog 5/1/23) to get a writing habit by blogging every day for 21 days straight. Confession? I’m writing this at 9:30pm as I almost forgot today!