Pub Rants

And A Subjective One At That!

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STATUS: Reading client material like mad! I want both projects done and out to the authors by 5 p.m. on Friday and then the weekend, here I come.

What song is playing on the iPod right now? TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART by Bonnie Tyler

Publishing is a business and a subjective one at that.

As I was reminded of that yet again just several weeks ago.

I gave a talk to a local community of writers about queries. Not unlike what I did on the blog, I showed some of my client queries and talked about what got my attention, why I asked for sample pages, and to where the project sold etc.

One attendee raised his hand and expressed his opinion, quite pointedly, that he found one of my client’s queries to be unexceptional and generic and he didn’t understand why any editor would be interested in that project.

I have my moments and I did have to stringently resist the urge to say, “and that is why you currently remain unpublished and my client is not” but I didn’t because his comment points out something that I’m always trying to remind writers who read my blog.

Publishing is totally subjective. Agenting is totally subjective. So much of this business is based on one person’s opinion and getting a manuscript into the hands of those we, as agents, know will share that taste and opinion.

It’s an odd business model if you think about it.

So, yes, this biz is subjective. A query that floats one agent’s boat might not even make a little dent in the hull of another agent’s boat.

But I also want to convey a warning. Was this attendee’s perspective shaped in any way by frustration that others weren’t recognizing the value of his work? And yet, what he sees has a generic project is getting the coveted publishing spot? Is green-eyed jealousy in any way limiting you from learning what needs to be learned to get your stuff published?

Because the query wasn’t generic and I really tried to point out, outside of the plot elements that may or may not float a reader’s boat, why it worked. Why it would work on other agents besides me and why this project did, indeed, sell—therefore implying that others saw the value (as in dollar signs that the book could sell to a wider audience than we two).

What I’m saying is to not let your vulnerable artist side interfere with what you need to know to be a savvy writing professional.

50 Responses

  1. Harry Connolly said:

    The wacky thing about that attendee’s comment is that he apparently doesn’t realize that everything about the industry is based on subjective tastes, especially the tastes of readers.

    I’ll be he has loaned books to a friend, only to have them hand it back a week later with a shake of their head. Books aren’t fungible. People are extremely idiosyncratic about what they like to read, and the people who work in the publishing industry are uber-readers.

    He ought to be trying to understand why something that doesn’t appeal to him might appeal to others.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  2. Brenda Oig said:

    I think this goes along perfectly with your post about being professional. If you keep in mind that this is a business, you will keep your personal feelings out of it. Jealousy and personal attacks do not belong in business.

    I have to say I love reading your Blog, though I havne’t commented before. Yours is a voice of reason in an often confusing world. Thanks for your query posts, especially. They were great!

  3. Anonymous said:

    “I know art when I see it!”

    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

    I wouldn’t slam the questioning attendee too hard. Perhaps, in his opinion, the query showed little merit and it had nothing to do with envy.

    I LOVE when others get published (no kidding!). It means our business is alive and well. I want more author success stories, more movie deals about YA novels and outrageous auctions that make headlines in Publishers Lunch. Good for them is good for me.

    But, it does not mean I like everything that is published. Some of it, in my opinion (and THAT is the whole point to this note), is trash. Still, they did it! Good for them. Just because I call say it is bad does not mean I’m jealous.

    I LOVE when others get published (no kidding!). It means our business is alive and well. I want more author success stories, more movie deals about YA novels and outragious actions that make headlines in Publishers Lunch. Good for them is good for me.

    But, it does not mean I like everything that is published. Some, in my opinion (and THAT is the whole point to this note), is trash. Still, they diod it! Good for them.

  4. BuffySquirrel said:

    One of Bill Martell’s tips over at script secrets covered this subject a while ago. He suggested to screenwriters that, instead of whining about how films like Titanic are so awful nobody in their right mind would go and see them, they should look instead at why they’re so successful, and learn from that.

    I’ve tried this many times with Harry Potter, but I confess I still don’t have a clue why so many people love those books. They are handy ammunition however in arguing against the received wisdom that eliminating adverbs is essential to writing success.

  5. Anonymous said:

    I absolutely hate the romance genre and love Kristin’s personality, attitude, and blog. There ya go again.


  6. Kimber An said:

    I’ve never read Harry Potter or watched any of the movies. Nothing about the premise interests me. Maybe Ms. Rowling should give up and go home.

  7. Jessica said:

    It’s hard not to become closed minded and think that everyone is blind and you’re brilliant. Whenever anybody says anything about my writing, I try to learn from it, not get angry at the person. Even when it’s a compliment, I try to see how I can do that again in another peice of work.

  8. Douglas said:

    Ironic application of subjectivity right here in the comment thread.

    I wasn’t there–tried to be, but wasn’t. My first reaction was that a person asking that sort of question would be trying to discern the differences between how he read it and how an agent would read it. And, in fact, doing exactly as advised here and elsewhere: learning.

    In a business where I am the author and someone else is the agent, then the only (subjective) opinion of a query letter that matters is the agent’s. An author can only understand these subtleties by asking.

  9. Stephanie Blake, Colorado Writer said:

    Oh, I was in the room when that snarky comment was made, and I shook my head thinking that the person did not have a good understanding of the way the cold hard world of publishing works. I also thought to myself that there is ALWAYS someone at a conference or seminar who embarasses him or herself by asking the stupid questions or making the comments which make most people cringe.

    Most people can’t look at their work realistically and see that it is crap (when it is).

    I don’t read/enjoy fantasy, thrillers or crime novels. This doesn’t mean that those authors aren’t talented individuals.

    “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound,” theory!

    Good writing happens even if you don’t particularly enjoy reading it.

    Getting published is more than just a person’s writing style. It is also learning to follow directions and learning the rules. There is also something to be said for persistance and a tiny luck factor.

  10. Anonymous said:

    I always enjoy your blog, even though the type of books you represent aren’t what I like to read myself.

    I remember thinking myself that one of the queries you raved about sounded generic and boring, BUT I know that I’m not the audience for chick lit, and that genre is all about delivering a certain set of “goods” that the readers expect.

    Possibly the man in the audience didn’t see the merit in the query because, well, he was a man?

  11. chisem said:

    Been there. One well-know NY agent turned publisher refused to read my work because she didn’t like the occult. Another agent said it scared her too much to read about it. I appreciated the honesty exhibited by these two and never took it personally.
    I like the sushi reference. Horrible stuff, but someone likes it or it wouldn’t be so popular.
    I’m just looking for agents who love thrillers.
    Wonderful post, and I feel my loss because Kristin doesn’t fancy thrillers.
    The guy — and I’ve seen many of them in my decades as a journalist — should have been told to grow up.

  12. Ane Mulligan said:

    I absolutely agree that jealousy should not have any part in the writing world. Give a dozen authors the same opening line and a couple of elements to be within the story, and you’ll still have a dozen different stories.

    Even once you’ve developed a thick skin and improved your craft, it’s still a matter of timing. Being in the right place at the right time.

    I developed a think skin because I wanted to be a good writer, and I needed to learn a lot. So I listened and applied what I was told. As I grew in my craft, I learned to filter the advice I received.

    I’m happy to say I signed with an agent in July. Listening pays off – big time!

    Thanks for your pub rant!

  13. 2readornot said:

    You’d think we could remember that — after all, we’re not only writers, we’re readers. And my tastes are very subjective — and very definite 🙂 But it is hard, for I have my list of agents that I’ve gotten to know through blogs and even in person, and yet I can’t seem to write something that strikes a chord in them…it gets frustrating. I’m thankful that I’ve gotten a few agents’ attention — hopefully one of those reading right now will be THE ONE (they are all on my top ten list, of course — one is in the top three)…but perhaps this man can’t seem to get anyone interested. That would make me more than a little unhappy (and less than thrilled over the successes of others, I’m ashamed to say).

  14. joanr16 said:

    I also think one’s “vulnerable artist side” can prevent one from being a better artist. Aesthetic and commercial criteria aren’t as far apart as we might think, since both arise from clarity and the delicate balance between originality and universality. I’ve been helped toward better writing first by my writing-group friends, and then by Kristin, and finally by all the editors who rejected our first project. In order to become the best writer I can be, first I had to grow a nice, tough hide, and then shed all those delusions of grandeur that I’ve had since, oh, the age of six. It’s an amazing journey, and I don’t regret a minute of it (well, OK, one “Yes” out of those rejections would’ve been wonderful!).

  15. Jana DeLeon said:

    While I certainly understand the frustration of not getting representation/book sales, etc (I’ve been there myself), I think their is a huge danger in dwelling on why someone else made it and you didn’t. Every writer’s career has its own timeline. If you dwell on things you can’t change and may never understand, it will definitely effect your writing.

  16. Anonymous said:

    I’m not so sure that just because this person didn’t find the greatness in the query that Kristen and editors did does that mean he’s jealous. Perhaps he didn’t see the same thing that the agents before Kristen didn’t see. If it is all so subjective then one should understand that another may not like the same work. We can’t get upset because he was unimpressed with the query. There are probably a million more people who would be equally as unimpressed if they were to read it – Certainly all of them are not jealous.

  17. Linda Adams said:

    I’ve seen some queries for writers that had their books published–and I’ve been struck by how ordinary the queries are. They didn’t do gimmicks or flash and show, but they did have one thing in common: it was clear what the story was.

  18. Anonymous said:

    If you’re querying your second book, you can easily see how subjective things are! My first query got a partial request from the Nelson Agency, reject from Donald Maass (where Rachel Vater was the acquiring YA agent at the time). Second book? Rejection from the Nelson Agency, immediate full request from Rachel Vater.

    That’s just one example of how you can please some of the people some of the time…

  19. Anonymous said:

    Y’know, no one is addressing the point that the man asked a VALID question. He asked why something that seemed stupid or boring to him as a reader was interesting to editors/agents. I’ve done the same thing, when I’ve asked British people to explain to me why cricket is interesting.

    He may truly have been looking for an explanation, not trying to tear someone else down out of jealousy. Merely saying, “this is good because it sells” doesn’t help anyone learn anything. And it’s snotty.

  20. JDuncan said:

    It seems to me, after poking around for information on writing a good query, that there is a pretty basic format that the bulk of agents/editors like to see. If you are professional and follow the guidelines, then you have conquered half the battle. Then all your left with is making a clear statement about what your project is. After that you are just spinning the subjectivity roulette wheel and hoping you land on the agent/editor’s winning number.

  21. Anonymous said:

    I’m not sure I agree with that. I keep hearing fiction agents say they want something fresh, but the stuff they like invariably seems hackneyed and badly written. Again, I’m not a genre reader/writer — I’m nonfiction. But if you’re at a conference and an agent praises something you think is terrible, is it wrong to ask what she thinks makes the book/pitch good? Why wasn’t Kristin willing to explain how was it different from the zillions of other books it seemed superficially to mimic?

    Some books are terribly written but have a great hook (Devil Wears Prada) that outweighs the shortcomings. Others have trite plots but such great writing that it doesn’t matter. But in either case, you can explain WHY an editor is interested (“Because people will want to read dishy gossip about Anna Wintour..”)

    Sure, publishing is subjective, but does that mean it’s impossible to articulate why we admire something?

  22. Kimber An said:

    The agents I’ve queried have a perfectly wonderful job of describing what interests them and what they represent right on their websites. This is why I queried them and not the hundreds of others out there. Anyone can read the information on their websites and find a good guide on how to write a proper query.

  23. Anonymous said:

    The issue wasn’t how to write a proper query. It was what makes a book interesting or not. That’s an entirely separate question, and a valid one.

  24. Ryan Field said:

    I loved this comment from Buffysquirrel:I’ve tried this many times with Harry Potter, but I confess I still don’t have a clue why so many people love those books.

    It’s the same reason they applaud for a sausage sandwich when they watch Emeril’s cooking show.

  25. Lynne Simpson said:

    I’m with the other posters on thinking that the person’s comments didn’t necessarily come from envy. I wasn’t there, of course, but even if I had been, I doubt I could’ve read the man’s mind and divined his intentions. He may have been tactless or needlessly abrasive, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that he behaved that way because he was envious.

    I think it’s a mistake to assume too quickly that a person is acting out of envy. Yes, it’s a common enough emotion, but once you’ve started viewing someone’s actions through that lens, you may find it more difficult to see other motivations which may be more valid in that particular case. Envy is such an 800-pound gorilla that it tends to crowd out other things, even when all you’re doing is wondering if someone feels that way toward you.

  26. Anonymous said:

    Ha, Ryan! I saw about 10 minutes of Emeril’s hotdog show last night and was wondering how people could go so nuts for the stuff he was doing. He put tomatoes in a pan the crowd went crazy…I guess it works because he is a brand and an icon, but I appreciated the absurdity.

    I am currently reading a book by one of Kristin’s authors that I bought specifically because it was mentioned on this blog. It is not my cup of tea. Different people like different things, and this book is just not something that I am particularly enjoying. Doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the book.

    I am actively quelling the subjectivity involved while I read this book. I am squashing the mental question marks and resisting the urge to pass the book on to someone else. Why? Because I am studying it. I am objectively evaluating the story, characters, and writing so that I can learn why it works for a lot of people, even if it is not working for me.

    I believe that as a fledgling writer, I need to lose subjectivity and strive for objectivity so that I can learn from those who are successful. NONE of my books will ever look like this one, or be similar, or appeal to the chick-lit market…but if I can evaluate why her voice works, I can file that away with the thoughts I have about other authors’ voices as I continue to develop my own.

    To find out what works, I need to read the books that have found some success.

  27. Anonymous said:

    Those of you pointing out that the gentleman in question may not have been jealous may wish to note that Kristen didn’t say he was. She said jealousy may have been a factor in his inability to recognize the business value of the project. The focus of the post is subjectivity, after all.


  28. James Aach said:

    I recognize publishing is a business and that agents prefer to handle subjects they like and are familiar with – and these must fall in line with editors who also tend to publish to their own tastes as far as the market will bear. Also, I know our blog author didn’t invent this system.

    But I do find the process described of some concern when we talk about fiction that is trying to address important topics head-on – particularly ones where science and technology are involved. Now we are looking at a filter of a few hundred people who in general are coming from similar backgrounds in the liberal arts tradition. (Yes, there are always exceptions.) Apart from some aspects of medicine – which we’re all forced to have an interest in — it would seem there might be a natural bias against discussions of “too much” science and technology. After all, would such topics be of much fascination to the agent/editor or their coworkers – – as long as their computer keeps working? However, that doesn’t mean such writings wouldn’t be of interest or value to the broader public. (Of course, all stories, whether about love or test tubes, much have a strong human interest element as well.)

    I’m not speaking of science fiction here, but issues like pollution, advances in artificial intelligence, and climate change. (It’s hard to imagine Michael Chrichton’s novel on the latter topic being published if he wasn’t already a best-selling author.) A lot of critical decisions must be made by the public in these areas, and we all know fiction can be a wonderful tool for explaining and exploring issues from a variety of perspectives. But if the work doesn’t even get in the door of the legitimate publishing industry to begin with, it has little chance to be seen. (Of course, if it just plain sucks, they shouldn’t print it.) I’ve explored this topic in more detail in an essay at the online LabLit Magazine site at 83.

    Finally, I commend the blog author for giving us a peek into the inner workings of the publishing industry. Carry on!

  29. Jon Stone said:

    I gotta disagree with what most people are saying. I respect a passionate belief in what makes for good writing far more than a cynical attempt to understand what sells and what appeals to people. It really doesn’t take that much talent or brains to develop and write something that will appeal to agents’ business instincts (formula fiction all the way) if you’re educated and committed. Most writers, however, are inevitably sidetracked by some ghost of an original idea, or a subject they’re passionate about, or their own, perhaps less mainstream tastes in fiction. Great for the general variety of literature being written, but bad for their ambitions.

    It’s easy to understand why something that is perhaps very unique – that would have to win a new audience, rather than prey on an existing one – is going to have a tough time getting published, however well written it is. Agents can’t be expected to recognise something with potential as soon as they see it. There’s plenty of great stuff (books, films, music) I’ve found disconcerting at first but which I’ve *eventually* realised is brilliant. If you’re doing that kind of work, I, as a consumer, don’t want you to change tack just so you can appeal more readily to more agents.

    Publishers and agents can stubbornly declare that they’re businessmen at heart, and perhaps those who’re better at business end up putting out the best books. Writers, however, *should* be less pragmatic. Staking it all on an idea you really believe in, and risking bitterness and rejection, is what it’s all about. Anything less makes for a legion of crap writers writing crap books for people who love to read crap books, simply because that cycle of crapness fuels itself. You don’t have to accept that a book is good, or that it’s all subjective, just because a bunch of people have bought it. If you did, then you’d have to accept that The Da Vinci Code was, in its own way, well written. And if you do that, then you’re living in a world with absolutely no standards at all, where people don’t even need to bother with basic literacy.

  30. Anonymous said:

    This discussion makes me think of Janet Fitch’s book White Oleander. It took her 12 years to sell that book and I have to wonder what she heard along the way from agents and editors. Maybe it went something like this:

    We’re sorry, the reading public just isn’t interested in hearing another abuse story.

    Nice writing, but, holy cow, it’s so damned dark!

    I love your book but I don’t know who will buy it.

    This book makes me depressed.

    Ad nauseum.

    I read an interview Janet did some time back and she said that her anger and hatred of the people who rejected her kept her going.

    But, it seems that her time did eventually come and the book went on to be made into a movie. Think about the road she traveled. Believing in herself and her writing when no one else did. I can’t imagine the waiting and the constant rejections on a book you know will find an audience.

    But her story inspires me and it helps me believe that agents and editors are often wrong and that the party line is flawed. Sadly, sometimes the gatekeepers don’t know what the reading public wants.

  31. Anonymous said:

    But her story inspires me and it helps me believe that agents and editors are often wrong and that the party line is flawed. Sadly, sometimes the gatekeepers don’t know what the reading public wants.
    Anonymous, what makes you so certain the public would have been ready for that book back when the author was being rejected? “Commercially viable” means, when you get right down to it, that enough people are ready to read the book that enough of them would buy it to make the book worth publishing.

    Times change. Tastes change. Just because a book is hot stuff now doesn’t mean it should have been published back when only a handful of people would have read it.

    (And if Janet spent that much time hating and resenting people who made business decisions not to publish or represent her book, I feel sorry for her. What an enormous amount of wasted energy that could have been spent on something much more productive and healing.)

  32. Anonymous said:

    Good point, anonymous. I have no clue what shape Janet’s book was in as she subbed it. And perhaps its earlier incarnations were awful. I just don’t know.

    But the idea that everything that’s commercial will sell is also flawed. I think it’s one of the myths of publishing. That’s as flawed as saying that every good book will sell through. Many don’t.

    My point is that I just don’t think it’s all so black and white. There’s so many gray areas. The fact that things are so subjective and are based on human opinions tells me that things slip through.

    I sometimes feel like people think that publishing is a perfect business where every good book gets published. I don’t buy it.

    And it’s not because I haven’t sold a book. I have two published books, so this isn’t blather by some jaded writer. It’s just how I feel after watching many fine writers struggle to sell their work. And after watching many of them give up too soon.

    As to Janet’s way of dealing with rejection, hey, I can’t fault her. We all have our ways of coping. Perhaps they aren’t always perfect. If being angry made her push harder to work on her book and eventually sell it, then it worked for her. I can’t judge that.

  33. kis said:

    Anon 5:18,

    I think anon 3:29’s point was not that the book wasn’t polished, but that the buying public hadn’t evolved to the point where it was marketable.

    Trends are trends. There’s no way to hurry them, or shove them out of the way. If the book isn’t salable this year, and is ten years from now because of market indicators, that isn’t the fault of agents or publishers.

    You hear occasionally of something truly original, like Clan of the Cave Bear, and how hard it is to convince anyone it will sell. A certain degree of umbrage is expected from the author, when they’re basically inventing a genre and no one gives them the time of day–especially when agents and publishers are always bleating about freshness and originality.

    Books like White Oleander are not the same. They take a very common theme and treat it in a fresh and original way. Well, get as fresh as you want, if the public is tired of a certain kind of story, it’s gonna be a hard sell. It’s all about timing.

  34. Anonymous said:

    Janet Fitch had a lot of people helping her along the way.

    She workshopped the book at places in L.A, including UCLA as she was writing it. She studied with Kate Braverman and others, had friends she’d made read the MS. By no means was she this lone woman out there standing on a block of ice trying to sell a book.

    She wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote that book many times. If it got rejected it was because it wasn’t ready. The language wasn’t tight, the plot wandered. All the typical things that every writer experiences.

    It didn’t sell until it was ready. It had already been out on the shelves when Oprah picked it up.

    And Janet made millions.

  35. beantownahhh said:

    I’m going out on a limb saying, you’re all wrong. The industry leaders can only report what is a trend or hot topic after months of evidence. But there is no way to predict what the readers want until they pick it up for the first time. They don’t even know. The vamp/romance craze could not have been forseen. Not even for Laurel K. or Anne Rice. And certainly not for anyone who came along with vamp stories before them and unfortunately pitched them to the wrong agents.
    No- an agent took a chance. An editor took a chance. A house took a chance. Stores took a chance and finally a reader took a chance. Turns out this was quite an interesting concept and the readers who, as a general population, would never have imagined they would have interest in such topics grew hungry for more. And then the powers that be determine the trend.

    So the fact that “the reading public” wasn’t ready is not a fact at all. They were just distracted with the previous trend. If only the same risk takers had been found 12 years earlier, I’m pretty sure that we all would have been ready then.

    Think about it. Someone somewhere in 1961 said the nation wasn’t ready for bellbottoms…

  36. gary said:

    I remember reading a comment you
    made once that went like, “submit your best work.” It alerted me that there might be another level. Right now I’m working on a psychotic, who realizes she’s a world saver(sic), but her fat cheating husband is distracting her mission. I’ll let you know. Anyway, I always appreciated the comment.

  37. Anonymous said:

    beantownahhh said: If only the same risk takers had been found 12 years earlier, I’m pretty sure that we all would have been ready then.

    Think about it. Someone somewhere in 1961 said the nation wasn’t ready for bellbottoms…

    Hmm. You’re picking your examples selctively. You’re not thinking about all the would-be trends that flop in spite of heavy pushing. (“Manbag” ring any bells? *g*) There are many, many more of those than the ones that catch fire and become fads. You cannot make people buy what they do not want to buy. This is especially true in books. You can try to convince them they really want–need–this thing, but you can’t make them buy it if they aren’t convinced.

    People whose living is directly tied to gauging public taste tend to be pretty good at judging what the public taste is. Many individuals claim they’d have been ready for X before X was big, but in fact most of them wouldn’t have been.

  38. Kanani said:

    “What I’m saying is to not let your vulnerable artist side interfere with what you need to know to be a savvy writing professional.”

    Kirsten– All business is subjective, but everything is negotiable.

    I take a step back to maintain my sanity whenever it’s crunch time and I’m getting emotionally involved in negotiations or business politics.

    From Herb Cohen’s “Negotiate This.”
    ” You can care but not t-h-a-t much.”

    Though the evil writer almost got Kirsten’s goat, she cared, but not t-h-a-t much, which meant that no one had to call the cops or bail her out of jail.

    Because the writer became emotionally wrapped up in his own failure or success, he erroneously framed the presentation by comparing his book to theirs because he cared t-o-o much.

    It’s called detached involvement, and it’s the only way to negotiate without losing your shirt.

    Still, you never know. The guy might have a bang-up book, but you’ll only know that if he writes a good query letter with all the points you described.

  39. Chris said:

    How about this one?

    -America is ready for a change in direction, a shift in political presence at the White House. The “experts” (Meet the Press, Crossfire, etc. etc.) only say this now because Dub-Ya is at 31%.

    Might the trends that flop be the trends that non-psychic houses hope eventually come to be? Whereas the trends that “catch fire” are simply kindling that, once ignited, publishers douse with fuel.

  40. Debra Parmley said:

    If an agent has a website or a blog it can be easy to find out what they rep and what they don’t.

    But not all agents have these.

    And sometimes there is a last minute spot offered to the writer and you go in blind because you haven’t had a chance to research the agent. The few times this happened to me, the person at the apt. desk offering the apt. didn’t have a clue what the agent did or didn’t rep.

    So I took an apt. in those cases, knowing it was pure luck if we had a match. My guess is this happens far too often.

    I’m also one of those authors who cancels apts. (At one conference because I just signed with an agent.)

    There simply aren’t enough apts. to go around. It is wrong to keep an apt. which you know isn’t a good match or which you no longer need.

    And to anyone selfish enough to keep those apts. for whatever reason, well if nothing else changes your mind, think of what kind of karma you just sent out into the universe.

    It will come back.

    I hope that whoever stepped in to the apts I cancelled had a great story just perfect for that agent.

    Frankly, these writers conferences and workshops are expensive. I can only afford to go to two each year.

    I wish conference organizers would do a better job of matching authors and agents/editors.

    Maybe an early listing of author and genre would help this process along. The agent could then look at the apt. list and turn down any they weren’t interested in. How hard would that be? You have to sign up early to even get an apt.

    Conferences that moved to a more accurate system of matching people up would move to the top of the agent/editor lists as well as the author lists, IMHO.