STATUS: I always enjoy doing my local conferences so it’s no surprise that this afternoon that I find myself at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. Two conferences back to back, glutton for punishment I guess. Grin.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? DON’T SPEAK by No Doubt
Last conference blog entry, I promise (at least for a little while anyway). This really occurred to me when I was out in Hawaii and I think it really needs to be said.
When you are pitching a memoir, don’t take it personally if an agent declines to look at pages.
I know. Impossible. After all, most people who write memoirs probably didn’t have a happy time of it and thus why they want to write it to begin with.
As an agent, when it’s clear that the memoir is something that might simply be too painful for me to read, I’m between a rock and hard place. Do I ask for the pages even if I know I’m not going to be able to handle reading them? Or do I decline?
One time I did decline and I felt awful because it was clear the writer was on the verge of tears. Even though I explained why I was passing on looking at pages (nicely but honestly), I knew that the writer felt like it was a personal rejection of the validity of the story and what the writer had experienced.
So, what do I do for the future? Ask for pages knowing it’s not right for me or do I request them—knowing in my heart of hearts that we are going to pass?
I have no answer and I’m sure I’ll handle it case by case (or pitch by pitch as the case may be).