Agents Are People Too

I have recently encountered a writer using his (or her) blog purely for the purposes of complaining about agents and the submission process while, I believe but am not sure, still submitting to them. Sweeping generalisations aside, this writer seems to have forgotten that agents are human beings and many measures in place such as auto-rejects and form rejects are there to make their jobs easier. While I’m sure there are some bad apples out there, the agents I have seen are perfectly nice people just trying to do their job – to find good books and get them published.

I don’t understand why some writers lash out against them over the pettiest things. This is childish. As responsible adults (or almost-adults in my case) it’s expected that we do not throw tantrums whenever things do not go our way. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay complain a little. What’s NOT okay is to paint human beings as ungrateful, money-grubbing cretins.

I read an email the writer posted that a friend of his had sent to his own agent. My jaw literally dropped. I sat staring at the screen, stunned that anyone would behave like that. Due to the appalling language, I won’t post it here and I’m loath to post a link to the blog I saw this all on due to both the vitriol spilling from it and because I, unlike its creator, have not forgotten that other users of the internet are also human beings and deserve a measure of respect. In that case, I am not going to identify the culprit because I don’t want to be responsible for the massive backlash that will likely result. This person does not need my help ruining his career; he is perfectly capable of doing it himself.

I’m sure this is not the last I will see of this person. Chances are somebody else will pick up on this and will not be as kind as I have been.

Any frustrated writers out there, please listen to this advice: do not lash out. Do not attack the people who can make your career. Do not be petty. There has to be a better way. Punch your pillow, take an axe to a piece of wood, but whatever you do, please please please keep your anger off the internet. Agents and editors and everyone in publishing are people too. They deserve your respect as much as anyone else.

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