Literary agent Mary Kole at kidlit.com (link below) recently wrote about the perception that agents aren’t interested in manuscripts from writers who’ve never been published.
I didn’t know such a myth existed, especially one so clearly at odds with reality. Sure, some agents only take referrals, but if you read agent blogs you know they’re always looking for a good story.
Then again, it’s easier to claim agents are biased than to take a hard look at your writing. Because that’s what agents are looking for: great writing. And sometimes we send them a story that isn’t our best.
I’ve done it, though it pains me to say so. Queried with my very first piece of fiction, certain representation was a phone call away. I actually believed that as long as agents and editors were going to ask for revisions no matter what, it was okay to send them work that, while not perfect, was good enough.
*knocks head against wall*
I got a couple of full requests, some positive feedback, but no takers, and finally realized a strong story doesn't trump weak writing. What I've learned since about the craft of fiction is humbling, and only increases my appreciation for the agents who read my earlier work and passed on their best regards.
Don't know how long it will take until I resume querying. One story's in first draft mode, one's in revisions. But I'm determined to never again submit a story before it's ready.