STATUS: I’ve been working late all week because I’m so behind on client reading. Sorry folks. This means I haven’t even looked at queries and partials for well over a week. No extra time.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? LEAST COMPLICATED by Indigo Girls
Well, I have serious doubts that the Sobol Awards is. I think Miss Snark clearly sums up my own issues with the whole “contest.” No need for me to re-summarize it here.
What’s most interesting to me, when reading the comments for this thread, is the implacable view of agents as gatekeepers.
Like we, as agents, are all sitting around plotting how not to let talented writers inside the publishing bastion and then delight in our ability to keep the “undeserving” out.
Hum… I can’t say I’ve ever thought of myself in this way. Most of the time, I just read submissions and I ask myself, “Do I like it? Do I not? Can I, personally, sell this?”
If the answer is yes, I take the person on. If the answer is no, I don’t.
There’s certainly no deeper subtext going on.
I also don’t like everything I find in the bookstore and I’ve certainly read published, wildly popular works or lauded works and thought, “this is crap; I can’t even imagine how this got published.”
Admit it! You readers have often thought the same.
No Gatekeeping conspiracy present since obviously a wide array of books (of varying quality) gets published. Besides, in a lot of genres I rep (such as romance and sf & f), editors often search for new talent sans agent involvement and lots of writers hook up with deals all on their own.
Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
No, I don’t earn my 15% commission by gatekeeping. I earn my 15% by being a partner in my author clients’ careers.
And as I’ve said before, this job is so much more than just finding a project and selling it.
What the Sobol Contest implies is that there is nothing more to agenting than that. Some “winners” might be in for a rude awakening and let’s hope the “agent” at Sobol Literary will know better than to simply accept the Simon & Schuster contract boilerplate on the author’s behalf.