I must keep today's post short since I still have to pack for the RWA conference and I have a very early flight tomorrow -- I'm still wondering what I was thinking when I booked such an early flight.
For today, I have just a few words of warning to keep in mind when it comes to agents and even editors.
1. It's business.
You are an artist, a creative spirit, and your book is your baby, your pride and joy. However, the second the query letter leaves your computer or is dropped in the mail, your baby has become a product and this is now business. You will receive rejection letters and most of these will likely be cold, impersonal form letters that don't even have your name on them. The agent/editor isn't rejecting you, they are saying "no" to the product. It will hurt, but don't let your anger get the better of you. Don't fire off an angry letter or make phone calls in which you question the intelligence and/or sanity of the agent/editor. It is unprofessional and this is business.
2. It's a small world.
Despite the fact there are hundreds of agents and editors out there, it is a surprisingly small world. Agents and editors are constantly talking to each other; phone calls, conferences, and emails. If you break rule #1, there is a chance your name could come up in a negative way within this group. It's hard enough to get published, you definitely don't want to shoot yourself in the foot with some unprofessional behavior.
Not everyone out there is legitimate. If an agent does show some interest in your work, don't hesitate to do some digging. I have listed some writer resource sites on my blog that should help you on that front. Also, don't hesitate to ask questions such as who are some of his/her clients, how many books sold in the past year, etc. Don't ever pay a reading fee.
I hope you find this information helpful!
Also, I want to thanks everyone who has come over from Rachel's blog and given me such a warm welcome. For me, writing is a very lonely business and you've helped to fill the dark void with your kindness.