Agents are People Too

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It has been an absolutely insane few weeks, thus Faith Hunter had to remind me it was my day to post on Magical Words.  So sorry for the delay!

Always when I’m caught flatfooted, the easiest thing to do is just rant and rave about what’s on my mind.  Today it’s that agents are people too.  Oh, I know that a lot of you imagine us something like I used to picture the folks who came up with the SAT questions, as bridge trolls trying to keep people from passing, ready to trip the unwary and eat their hearts out.  (Or maybe that’s just me?)  But the truth is agents are first and foremost book people.  Are we just like you?  Well, if you’re a Type A workaholic with a constant schedule running through your head and the inability to relax, then the answer is yes.  (Note: even with a book in hand, my stomach is churning in anguish over the hero or heroine’s hair-raising plight, and my fists are clenched as if I can fight their battles for them.  Fun, yes.  Relaxing…er, no.)

So about us being people too.  This means that we have lives.  Most of us, anyway.  I’ll be the first person to tell you that I don’t have much of one, not with writing and agenting, but when I do choose to have a life—maybe taking (gasp) an entire morning and afternoon off to go to the Renaissance Faire with my family—I do not want to hear from someone who follows me on social media or whatever, “Well, you had time to do that, surely you’ve had time to read my manuscript.”  Or, “You’re home sick reading.  Hope it’s my work!”  Yes, in the latter case you may be joking, but….  I read every evening.  I read for three to five hours on Saturdays and Sundays.  Every once in a while I’ll crash early and might only get an hour in.  Other times I wake in the middle of the night with insomnia and pick up where I left off.  Either way, I promise I’m reading as quickly as I can, and sometimes I feel that my pile is about triage…book A is late into production and needs to be read as soon as it comes in, book B has an offer on the table, proposal C is for an author not currently under contract and chomping at the bit….  It’s difficult enough for me to give myself permission to take a break.  I do not need the external pressure.  Trust me on this.  If I don’t take time off every once in a while, I’ll burn out.  Then I won’t be any good to anyone.  And as far reading when I have a fever and a respiratory infection…it’s strictly limited to work I don’t have to evaluate, because I think it’s best for all involved if I actually have my brain about me at such times.

All of which is my way of saying be respectful of agents’ time and when they give freely of it with a critique, referral or recommendations, thanks are always appreciated.  When we don’t, it’s not because you’re not worthy, but because we constantly have the next thing and the next pushing the queue forward and we’re frequently overwhelmed.

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12 comments to Agents are People Too

  • Lucienne, You are the hardest working person I know. Feel free to rant and rave anytime! I remember one week when you “took off” for 3 days, you had to read at night because you had writers with deadlines. Oy. Not much of a rest to my way of thinking.

    And what she isn’t telling us, is that when her writers have personal problems, she is *there* for them. In her *off time*. I know. I am one who has come to her with personal problems more than once. And got her help. She (like almost every agent I know) is diplomatic. I hope you get a break soon!

  • Plus you’re taking time out of your busy schedule to write useful and informative posts that give us insight into the business side of things, (and craft, too). Thank you for that, Lucienne. 🙂

  • Lucienne – you make a really good case for not being an agent! 🙂 But I, for one, am glad you’re willing to take on the task and continue to bring us books like Faith’s!

  • Razziecat

    Trolls?? Good heavens, no. I’ve always thought of agents more as wizards with the magical power to turn starry-eyed newbie writers into published authors 😉 Well, newbie in the “new author” sense, I fully realize how much work the writer needs to do before the agent waves the magic wand 🙂 It’s good to remind us, though, that you need time off, too.

  • I suspect some of this is aimed at me. *Hangs head* I shall behave better. What everybody here doesn’t know about you is that you have more energy than a Jack Russell terrier on speed and caffeine, so you frequently make it look easy on the outside.

  • Ken

    Let me echo some of the other folks that posted. THANK YOU!!!

    Did that echo?

    🙂

    Seriously, thank you for everything that you do here. I really appreciate your advice and insight. I’ve got some of your posts tacked to the wall of Stuff to Ignore at Your Peril and one of these days I hope to put it to use.

    Oh, and Diana: A JRT on speed AND caffeine? Wouldn’t that tear a hole in the universe or something?

  • Ken, I know, right? But you should see her in action. Whew.

  • Vyton

    Lucienne, thank you for taking time to on Magical Words. If Faith says you’re the hardest working person she knows, there is no room for doubt.

  • Thanks for this reminder, Lucienne. And thank you always for all you do for all of your writers, including me. We couldn’t do what we do if not for your support and hard work.

  • Di, love that description . So glad I make it look easy!

  • Good post and reminder. I hope to one day have an agent I can appreciate and rely on.

  • sagablessed

    I never forget that.
    You agents and sditors have families, JOBS, and you all need free time as well. And believe it or not people, agents have *gasp* feelings.
    It is always good to remind us of that, however. Like with our bosses, we forget they are just people.