Sunday, February 8, 2015

First Ten Pages?

I subscribe to a number of writing sites.  Some promote indie publishing, while others simply promote writing in general.  As such, many of them send out notices regarding upcoming material or special offers.

It's in this vein that I often get emails telling me that I can submit the first ten pages of a book I've written and a REAL LIVE AGENT(!!!!) will read them and give me feedback.  I'm as into getting feedback as anyone, probably more so, but this strikes me as hubris beyond the pale.  Yes, many wannabe writers will give in to this charade, but it strikes me as that kid in class who raised his hand and danced around so much so he would be called on.

Let's start with a major hole in most of these "offers" - who's to say that the agent reading your first ten pages even specializes in the genre you're writing?  Some people - we'll call them idiots - try to tell you that a well written story is easy to glean no matter what the subject matter.  Sorry, but that's bullshit.  Science fiction has a completely different tone than a romance novel, and a murder mystery starts differently than a horror book.  A person who specializes in something different than what you want feedback on is going to give you feedback that'll take you in the wrong direction.

Next, have you seen who most of these wonderful agents are that are offering these critiques?  The more established agents, the ones with so many clients they don't know what to do with themselves, aren't getting involved.  In fact, most of these gracious people are newbies looking for clients, and, like newly published writers, are trying desperately to get their names out there.  The only thing is that they're disguising it as altruism rather than branding.  Those I've seen look like they've been out of college all of six months, and they know about as much about life experience as any kid who just moved out of mom and dad's and now wants to look cool to his or her friends.  Sorry - not buying it.

Finally, there's the arrogance of it all.  It's no secret that I've come to despise the elitist clique of agents since I first delved into this world, and solicitation emails like this simply reinforce that impression.  The general gist seems to be, "Little peon, I'll do you the honor of glancing at your first ten pages and giving you feedback, and if you do a good enough job, maybe I'll let you hire me."  It, once again, shows that most agents don't get that they work for the writer, not the publisher.  If you haven't personally published and/or done well in sales to the public, why would I care what your so-called professional opinion is?  Let me give my first ten pages to someone like Hugh Howey or JA Konrath for feedback, and then you'd have my interest.  Soliciting for Joe Nobody or Jane Iveneverheardofher just shows how little you understand what makes good writing or good business.

No comments:

Post a Comment