from the mixed up files of Agent Manners – agents are nice?

Dear Miss Manners:
Thank you for your generosity in providing this question and answer session.

I recently sent a query to an agent who had rejected a previous manuscript a year ago but invited me to submit any future work. I’d met a NY editor at a small conference and she requested the first 100 pages of my new story, then asked for the complete manuscript. I was flying high.

I contacted the agent and told her. She asked for a partial. The editor passed on the full. I contacted the agent again and told her what the editor had said in the rejection and withdrew the submission with the intention of improving it. She thanked me for the heads-up and said re-submit whenever you’re ready.

My big question is, does this make me look like a flake? Was the agent just being nice and do I have a big stinky red-flag next to my name that warns her that I’m one of the bothersome ones?

Thanks again.

Red-faced in California.

Dear Red-Faced:

Agent Manners can make this short and sweet. Very few agents are inclined to “just be nice” — just read this venting thread over on BookEnds and you will have ample evidence of that (though one hopes that some of those are the horror stories similar in percentage to the occasional bad and rude query and not the normal measure of agents’ behavior). In Agent Manners’ experience, if an agent asks for a resubmission, they are sincere as the day is long. After all, with the continuing deluge of queries, partials, and manuscripts on a daily basis, there is no need to ask for something one does not truly want. Agent Manners encourages you to resubmit to the agent in question as soon as your revisions have been completed.

One response to “from the mixed up files of Agent Manners – agents are nice?

  1. re: BookEnds
    Maybe I look at the publishing industry from a different perspective…maybe it’s because that perspective includes friends who work in different facets of the publishing biz…but I don’t see the need for the angst.
    I saw one commenter on BookEnds that mentioned objectification of agents; I’ve seen (and I’m sure as anyone has attended a con or convention can attest) that editors and published authors receive the same objectification.
    A lot of folks in the dredges (at least in this man’s experience) seem to be obsessed with being published — as opposed to being obsessed with writing great fiction.
    There’s nothing wrong with a good, healthy obsession… except when it leads to that much angst and that much objectification.

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