It’s not like me to stick the boot into people, but really I just can’t help myself here. The world needs literary agents just as much as it needs oxygen, but at least oxygen has developed a likeable outward persona. For the life of me, I just do not understand why literary agents seem to think that acting like a grumpy fire eating dragon with a migraine and having a bad hair day is the way to go in making friends and contacts, and at the end of the day, making money.
I have a list on Twitter of around 150, dedicated to the utterings of literary agents, and quite honestly, if slagging off authors is the way to make money as an agent, I’m so happy I don’t have the job. I could easily copy and paste their comments here, but I will not out of politeness. However, referring to the work of hopeful authors’ submissions in a derogatory manner, is not what I class as a professional attitude and hardly fitting of those in a position of authority. Posting messages about the ‘crap’ in my slush pile smells of someone who really should go and get another job.
The task of a literary agent is of course to sort the wheat from the chaff, and then make a choice over what titles or authors they think they can sell. That’s how they make money. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that insulting those who may well have taken months or even years to write these stories, is part of the process.
While there are a good number of literary agents who post helpful, authoritative and positive information, there are unfortunately another good number, who really need a reality check. Complaining, whinging, deriding and outright insulting the work of authors, who could well be part of their potential client base, is really a sign of a ‘holier than thou’ mentality, and also a signal of a failure to accept what their job really is.
So to those literary agents who understand the process and are supportive in promoting authors to try their best, I congratulate you. However to those who think that sticking the boot in is the way to go, all I can say it that your ego needs a reality check.