Agents say they are open to certain genres, but we pass on the majority of content that comes in. So what are we really looking for? Honestly, we don’t know why we fail to connect with work. It could very well be the quality of writing as it often is, but sometimes it’s more elusive than that: we don’t love it. Here are some of the behind the scenes answers for why we fail to connect:
You might have caught us at a bad time. We’re human. We’ll sign a contemporary YA one week, and pass on one the next week. We are driven by emotional connection and we might be missing that *feeling* that we’re looking for.
- Our interests are more complex than genre labels. We, like everyone, have interests that intersect in a variety of ways. I like everything from irish history, to light women’s fiction, to pop science, to commercial literary fiction, to gritty YA, to romantic YA, to whatever falls on my desk or ereader that moves me. However, these labels are vast within themselves and books fall between the cracks for me, but I’m driven to request proposals and manuscripts that fall into the genre interests I list on our site.
- We have an author on our list that may compete directly with your work. We open to looking at things that fall in the web of our interests, but at that specific time we might have something that competes or is too similar to stand out when we’re pitching.
- Timing is a major factor. Timing can influence our decision making in many ways: editors are passing on that type of work right now, we’re not feeling it that day, we’re overwhelmed with current client work, we’re not closely looking at the partials and fulls we have, and the list goes on.
We’re not perfect, we manage our careers based on our passions, but this makes us better at our job for the authors we do represent.
Image via Robin Luciano Beaty