Updated: Jul 12, 2018
New title since the last one might have been a little offensive (I sowy). :(
I just want to remind you that this is my own opinion, and my experience, and while I can't speak for everyone out there, I think some people should stop to think about things. (updated - I 'm also extremely grateful for 99% of the people I've met so far. I may just have another blog post about all y'all fantastic little selves!)
I read a few blogs, and twitter threads about querying writers venting and bashing agents for being a-holes and useless and that the literary world would be much easier without them. So I thought I'd join in and share another story.
Let's start with "blessed" authors.
Like most querying authors, I've received lots of rejections and "feedback", and of course, not all of them were pleasant to hear. I'm not going to share the actual sh**ty messages and emails, but I was whitesplained twice why couldn't have written SUN OF THE NEW WORLD. One of those times, unfortunately, was during a twitter contest (of course it wasn't #RevPit because RevPit is the best). But it was bad enough that I considered tossing out the ms that got me my agent! Just because two white not-yet-published-authors, decided to tell me what I could or couldn't write about. So the "feedback" was bad, awful, disgusting. The first not-yet-published-author (mentor of the contest) said a bunch of nonsense about how I called it "forbidden love" in the query when I should have said rape (there's nothing about rape in my book), and that it was unrealistic that my Afro-Brazilian mc with golden blood was trying to free slaves, and something about favelas (I had no mention of favelas in my ms as it happens in the 1600s in the North of Brazil. Favelas were formed in Rio several years later). This not-yet-published-author was so far up her own butt and thought she knew enough about my culture to explain to me why I couldn't write this story.
Hold on, let me catch my breath and calm down...
So I reached out to four Brazilian author friends and shared with them the "feedback" email (maybe I was overthinking things?). All but one couldn't believe what the not-yet-published-author had said, they were as hurt as I was. The one though (the also-not-yet-published-author), without knowing anything about me or my background, or my story, told me in a private conversation that SUN OF THE NEW WORLD wasn't my story to tell because "ALTHOUGH I WAS BRAZILIAN, I WAS WHITE AND PRIVILEGED!" Then, she went on a twitter rant about how white authors should stop calling themselves POCs and that there were REAL POCs out there that could write stories with POCs in them... and she went on and on. When I commented on the post, she refused to interact.
So I posted a very personal story about my mom, (whom a lot of my book is based on). I shared a picture of my black grandfather, the same grandfather who took my mom from her mom and dumped her and her little sister in an orphanage. Then I shared the picture of when my grandmother (years later) found my mom at that same orphanage.
Fortunately, this was the extent of my experience with "heart blessed" authors, now let us move on to agents, shall we? I'm actually not going to share stories, I'm just going to share screenshots of the most outrageous emails I’ve received from them. Please note that these are just a few. I've queried two mss and had LOTS of rejections. The first ms flooded my inbox with form rejections (I'm sure we all know well what they're like). Although there are a few form rejections here, I really just wanted you all to see how much of an a-hole agents can really be!
Moving on to agents.
You don't have to read all of them, but you're welcome to. Some of these, even though I omitted the names, are from pretty "big" agents!
You guys! I have sooooo many of these. What I'd like all of us out there to get from this, is that I HAVE NOT ENCOUNTERED ONE SINGLE A-HOLE AGENT IN TWO YEARS OF QUERYING! I have lots and lots of form rejections, especially for my first ms. Of course I'm proud of it, and I think it has lots of potential. :) I worked on it for years, poured my heart and soul into it, yet, it doesn't mean it's any good, or sellable. I never blamed the agents, or bashed them for not liking my story. I used the rejections as motivation to research and study and learn. I perfected my craft, my story telling, world building, character development, until I reached my first goal to find an agent. The entire experience was even more magnificent because I had multiple offers. It would have been easy for me to have replied to the rejections with mean words, but I took what they had to offer and built relationships, professional and personal.
Advice to new writers:
1- You don't need an agent to get published. There are smaller publishers (good ones) you can pitch directly to. Go after them.
But if you want a big five deal (boy, wouldn't that be nice?) . . .
2- Agents are the gateway to your dreams. Be kind to them, they'll be kind to you. I went back and forth with several wonderful agents during my agent quest round 1, and those were the first people I sent my second ms to and they were happy to take a look!
3- DON'T BE THAT GUY!
Some of us may have had different interactions, and I'd like to reiterate that THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE!
Valeu & Beijos.