Pub Rants

Agent Anxiety

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STATUS: In a hurry since I need to be at RMFW in 40 minutes.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? 3 AM by Matchbox Twenty

I have to admit that I have some anxiety over my upcoming first session of the conference.
I’m doing a read & critique for eight or nine brave souls.

Obviously I don’t know how this one will turn out because it hasn’t happened yet but when I’ve done these sessions at past conferences, most of the submissions really aren’t quite ready yet to be under the brutal agent eye. They could use a tough but supportive critique group first.

I bet you didn’t think agents could get nervous but it’s really a fine balance to strike that right note of being honest yet encouraging for aspiring writers. I’m tough so I’ll get through it but …

I do have to express admiration for the writers who are willing to go under the gun so to speak. It’s not easy being critiqued in a public venue. However, professional writers need tough skins and this is one way to do it.

I’m off. Happy weekend.

16 Responses

  1. Stephanie Blake, Colorado Writer said:

    Have fun! I did a roundtable crit with Dan Lazar in July at the Lighthouse Writers Conference, and whew it was painful…and a little uncomfortable. I think out of 20, he would ask for 2 partials. But it is so great to get instant feedback, and I am sure you will be a great help.

  2. JDuncan said:

    Ah, wish I was around to be one of the brave souls. Alas, I am broke and also nowhere near the conference. I do have a thick skin at least. I’m curious how many of you out there actually like handing your writing off to folks for the critical lookover. I’m always, always, always looking for feedback. It makes me a better writer, since I’m frequently too damn close to the writing to have much of a critical eye for it. Anyway, hope you have an otherwise grand time at the conference, Kristen.

  3. Bridget Medora said:

    Being honest yet encouraging to the aspiring writers — you’ve nailed that tone here on the blog. I know, rants etc. aren’t the same as critiqes, and typing/posting isn’t the same as speaking live…but I think you’ll have no problem. Those brave souls probably couldn’t ask for a better critiquer.

    Anyway, have fun at the conference! =)

  4. 2readornot said:

    I wish I was going to the conference too…sigh. Just not in the cards this year. But I did get to participate in your read & crit session for the Pikes Peak Writers — and I have to say, you seemed to balance the honesty and support very nicely. There were a couple of mss that sounded pretty interesting — and many that didn’t at all. But for each, you gave a solid reason why you didn’t think it was ready yet — I’m guessing you’ll do just as well this weekend. Wonder if I could crash it? j/k, unfortunately.

  5. Ane Mulligan said:

    If they’re real writers, they’ll have developed a thick skin and want to hear what will make their prose sing!

    Sorry, but I cut my teeth on a mean bunch of critters! :o)

  6. Virginia Miss said:

    Kristin, based on the way you express youself on this blog, you’ll be fine — the participants will get more than their money’s worth of honest feedback. You’ll be able to tell them whether their writing is good but their ideas are just not fresh enough, or if their premise appeals but their writing needs polish, if they are over-writing, need to take classes, etc.
    I’m envious of the participants! Wish I had the bucks to be there. Sigh. Another time, maybe.

  7. Kendall said:

    Good luck, Kristin.

    BTW, my iPod has roughly 80-90% of what you list under What’s playing on the iPod right now?…. 😉 Rock on — great taste in music! (Apologies in advance if I forget I said this, and repeat myself in a month; it’d just mean I’m a flake, not a psycho.)

  8. Fourteen Year Old Writer said:

    I wish I could go to a writer’s conference, but I have no money and I’d have to drag my parents along.

    Anyway, I have a question. Feel free to totally ignore it. Ok, onto the question. Are you open to re-queries? For example, say someone had a suckish query, but then got feedback on it and improved it. Would it just annoy you? If you choose to answer this question, thanks for your fabulous insight!

  9. Yasamin said:

    Its really amazing how as soon as I finished the first draft of my novel, I was dying to find an agent and get it published. I was totally willing to skip steps 2-8 and go straight to 9 and 9! Then it hit me, it wasn’t a first draft, but a really REALLY rough draft. Now, after I re-read it, I thank god I didn’t jump the gun. Holy moly what a mess hehehe

    I hope the ones you look at are a little more put together. :p