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  1. #1
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    Sometimes talent isn't enough

    I think there are TONS of talented writers out there, just as their are musicians, artists, actors, etc. Unfortunately, I think most of them will remain that way. That isn't as negative as it might sound. People do get that BIG BREAK in life, and perseverance often pays off.

    However, don't you think it's true that despite how good a book is, or how wonderfully written a query is, most of the time an agent looks to what credits the author has to his or her name, and that often becomes the determining factor? A well known and reputable agent once confidentially told me that she actually skips to the section of the query letter that states the credits before reading anything else, and that factor is becoming more and more dominant these days because the business is becoming so tough.

    Any thoughts on this?



  2. #2
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Seems like a good way for an agent to skewer their already-shrinking business. If an agent doesn't want to find the next new talent, say so, and don't waste the time of someone new who, if the agent wasn't so arrogant, would would incease their profit.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    That agent will miss a few good books.

    Like the ones that nixed mine. ;)

  4. #4
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    I think that agents are looking for the best-prepared work that fills the "publishers are looking for this" hole. It doesn't really matter all that much how great that literary novel is if the catalog hole needing to be filled is for a cookbook.

  5. #5
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    What Gary said. I think it was Woody Allen who said, "A lot of life is just showing up." I would add: "...at the right time."

  6. #6
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    Deleted.

  7. #7
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    most of the time an agent looks to what credits the author has to his or her name, and that often becomes the determining factor?
    This may be true for some agents, but I doubt that's the norm. If it were, there would be no "debut" novels.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kyle Anderson's Avatar
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    There are so many unheard voices in the literary world. A lot of it, I think, is perseverance and patience. If we are determined, we'll do what it takes to get an agent to even read our material, and if we have a strong enough dream (with the talent to back it up), we will know when it's time to move on to a different project if our first one didn't quite take off. You also need to know when it's time to move on, which can be a hard thing to swallow because we all think we're great...and most of us probably are.

  9. #9
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    I think, as someone here said, it's often a question of being in the right place at the right time. But also, if an agent has two books and has the time to only put the effort into one of them, then it's likely they'll choose the published author, even if the unpublished author seems as if they might have a little more potential. For one thing, at least in an agent's mind, the published author more or less already has a proven track record. It takes the element of risk (as in time) out of reading a book to find out that mid way through, it doesn't deliver. The published author also has the beginnings of an identified audience. Most authors don't retire, or so I've noticed, so often a slot doesn't open until one goes sour, or does retire (or expires).

    It's been my experience that a big exception to the rule is sometimes writing conferences where agents get to directly interact with potential clients. They get to see them in the flesh... that seems to often turn the corner, atl least when it comes to getting an invite to submit. I think they like to see if the person, as well as the work, is salable.

    I don't think email queries (although it seems as if more and more agents are going that route) are as good for unpublished writers either. Lets face it... hitting a delete key is a little too easy, especially when the query is muddled up with a hundred other queries.

  10. #10
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    Are you the same JD who was here a few years ago -- who planned to pop the Big Question to his fiancee, maybe in May or June? If so, did you two ever get hitched?

    (Just ignore me if you're not the same one. Or if you don't feel like answering. )

    *_*

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