A Really Long Brain Dump

Sorry for this very long post about nothing. I don’t blame you if you want to skip this one, but I had a few things on my mind tonight that I just needed to get out. Last week I spent some time reading the AgentFail post on the Bookends, LLC blog. It’s not that I’m a glutton for punishment—I really want to hear what writers have to say, and I appreciate that Jessica gave everyone a safe place to vent. The whole reason I have this blog is because I’m interested in writers—not just that I want to preach to y’all but because I want to engage with you, I want to hear from you, I benefit from the interaction. I learn so much from you!

AgentFail was no different in the sense that I did learn a lot. But it also made me really sad. Even though the words were not written on my blog, the comments were so overwhelmingly critical of agents that I felt wounded. As you might guess, this was partly because I’m guilty of some of the things writers apparently hate about agents. In fact, I’m going to talk more about those things here on the blog in the future; and I’m also re-evaluating certain processes I have in place, and I’m attempting to become more effective, faster at responding, more communicative, all those things that writers want and need.

I just wanted to say a couple of things in response to some criticisms that were repeated numerous times on AgentFail. First, writers complained about the “hours and hours” we agents apparently spend blogging and Twittering and Facebooking, and others complained about the fact that we talk about personal interests on the social networks instead of just keeping it all business.

Wow. You know, I started this blog when I became an agent because I wanted to be a real person to writers. That’s also one of the reasons I Twitter. I’m intentional about being mostly business on the blog, and mostly personal on Twitter. I want prospective clients to see a whole person, because I think this helps them make a more informed decision about whether I might be the right agent for them. I like Twittering about going for a run with my dog or picking my kids up from school. It’s so normal and everyday, and I want people to see me as a regular person, just like them.

I also do the social networking to stay in better touch with my clients. It’s so much fun to keep up with their daily lives, and I think it makes our relationships better. So the social networks do serve several strong business purposes.

But I don’t spend much time on any of the social networks. Twittering is a few seconds each time. Sometimes more, if it’s not in the middle of an intense work day. Blogging is done on weekends or late at night, and I write one to two weeks’ worth of posts at a time. I’ve written 400 posts for this blog and of those, I’ve only written a couple during normal business hours. So it’s not like I’m “wasting” precious work time, and I certainly don’t spend hours and hours.

I guess I probably sound defensive, but as a blogging agent I felt the finger pointed at me and I felt like I wanted to explain. I really thought writers were, generally, enjoying this unprecedented access to agents and editors via the Internet. Now they’re complaining we’re spending too much time giving them access to us. Hard to figure out.

The other thing I noticed mentioned several times on AgentFail was that we agents apparently complain about our workload and how hard our job is. I have a few responses to this. One of them is that plenty of people in other businesses write about their personal work experiences and how it affects them. This is not just literary agents. Anyone who has a blog or any other venue in which to write whatever they want has the freedom to talk about what’s going on in their lives, including if they’re finding their jobs challenging.

Another response is that I had several jobs and a really busy career for 18 years before becoming an agent. But I’ve never felt so busy, so pulled in so many different directions, so many unrealistic expectations landing on me. Never. This isn’t brain surgery or rocket science; I’m not saying it’s so important or so difficult. It’s just overwhelming, especially when you’re on a learning curve like I am. So if agents are talking about how busy they are, I get it. Like many of you, I work days, nights, weekends; all the while trying to balance it with taking care of my family. You know it’s not easy.

What’s really interesting is that most of the AgentFail complaints landed on the acquisition portion of the agent’s job. Here’s what you have to understand: acquiring new books and clients is indeed an important part of our job, but taking care of our current clients is much more important. If you are not a client yet, you may have all the expectations in the world about how you expect to be treated, and you may have really nice arguments like, “I spent a year writing my manuscript, the least you could do is spend more than five minutes reading it,” but none of that changes the fact that the query side of the job must necessarily be prioritized after taking care of the clients we’ve already said yes to.

I encourage you to visit Nathan Bransford’s blog and enter his “Agent For a Day” contest. Until you know what it’s like to read through 50 queries, choose no more than 5 to request partials, and make a decision for or against representation… all on top of your regular job which is servicing clients, then I think you just don’t have a good idea of what it’s like. And if you go through this experience, you may have a better understanding of the life of an agent.

You’ve also got to understand that nothing an agent does has a guarantee. We trust our gut and our experience and choose projects we think will sell, we spend hours and hours getting them ready, and they may or may not sell. Why do we stay so busy? Why do we have so many clients, and why do we keep accepting queries even when we’re already burning the candle at both ends? It’s because we have to. We’re like rats on a treadmill, running, running, trying to figure out this fickle business, trying to predict what publishers will buy, scrambling for the next deal, and we can’t afford to spend much time celebrating a success because there is so much more to be done. Some of the projects we represent don’t ever sell, or may only sell after a year or two of working with a client. Keeping in mind we only make a paycheck by selling books… well, you can figure it out. A lot of the work we do is not compensated.

I love what I do, and I’m doing my best at it. I’m still learning. I’ve been in publishing a long time, and even so, I never could have predicted how consuming this job would be. Going forward, I’m hoping writers will have a little more perspective on the agent’s job. And I hope agents, myself included, will take it easy on writers, continuing to educate them through blogs and conferences, but cutting out the insults. We all have difficult lives, not just agents, not just writers, but everyone. I hope we can keep talking with each other on social networks, encouraging each other, ranting to one another when necessary, and avoid things getting ugly.

That’s all. If you’re still reading, I apologize for the long venting session!

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Leslie Oden on April 9, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    >Dear Rachelle,

    I find your blog very informative and entertaining, and I’m so glad you take the time to write it. I’ve learned more about the query/proposal process from your blog than from any article or conference. Also, I enjoy reading/writing about life 140 characters at a time. It doesn’t take long, and makes you real and accessible to your readers. I hope you’ll continue to use social media to connect with writers. Some of us think it’s very valuable! Thanks for all you do!

  2. Marybeth on April 9, 2009 at 9:03 AM


    I just want to thank you for blogging and being on Twitter. I enjoy knowing that you are just as human as the rest of us writers. It leaves me less intimidated and also more understanding about you as an agent. Please don’t ever stop!

  3. Laurie on April 9, 2009 at 8:17 AM


    I love to read your blog, even though I know you would not be a good fit as an agent for my work because it doesn’t fall into the catagory you represent.

    I learn so much from you and deeply appreciate the fact that you share your knowledge about publishing. I also enjoy the fact that you are a “real” person. Carry on just as you have been.

  4. StrugglingToMakeIt on April 8, 2009 at 10:12 PM

    >Lurker here. I am coming out to say I think this post is great. Okay, these are the three things I have to say on the subject and then I will go away:

    1) I love agent blogs.

    2) I love agents and think they have a hard job I’d never be able to do. No that it’s in any way comparable, but authonomy has made me appreciate the idea of slush and appreciate agents even more.

    3) People love to complain and invariably will find something to complain about. Even in utopia, unless free thought were to be removed, people would complain. “It’s too perfect” or something like that. I don’t know…

  5. Lucy on April 8, 2009 at 8:56 PM

    >Rachelle, some people wouldn’t be happy if you hung ’em with a new rope.

    Hugs to you, lady. 🙂

  6. Frances Davis, RNC on April 8, 2009 at 7:17 PM

    >I was amazed when I found your blog, first of all for all the information it contained and then for how much of yourself you put into the blog.

    Letting writers see your personal life and helping us to realize that you do everyday things, just like we do, may enable us to understand that when it takes time for you to get back to us, maybe you are just doing laundry!!

    I enjoy your blog greatly and am always encouraged each time I read it.

  7. KAG on April 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    >Hello. I’ve just recently found this blog, and as a writer, I am SO thankful for it! I love learning all about the personal lives that people are willing to share. I’ve learned a long time ago that I have no right to judge others or the way they do their job. I have no idea what it’s like. I used to judge others with harsh expectations as to HOW they should be doing what they are doing, but how in the world do I know the minute details of their lives? I don’t. And for that reason, I wish to send you some encouragement and say thank you. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing more and soaking in it all!

  8. Kristie on April 8, 2009 at 7:25 AM

    >A genuine love for writing is part of the issue here. If authors are writing because they love to write, they will not have a sense of entitlement and outrageous expectations of would-be agents or publishers.

  9. David A. Todd on April 7, 2009 at 9:55 PM


    Good to see you have a chance to vent. I got all the way through the post, earlier today, though I’m just getting a chance now to comment. I enjoy your blog and would hate to see you criticized for the small amount of time it takes. I am twitterless, so don’t know much about what you do there.

    I’d write a little something about overworked editors and agents, and compare them to the over-worked writer [long rant deleted because I hate the smell of bridges when they burn.]

  10. Timothy Fish on April 7, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    >When I was a teenager there was getting paid to mow the church yard—using a push mower. Next to that lot there was a lot they mowed with a riding mower, but they always left a corner because it was steep and difficult to get with the riding mower. I knew exactly where the line between the properties was and I didn’t cross it. Then one day I was hot and thirsty. My back ached, my feet hurt. My nose was filled with the smell of fresh cut glass and dust. I was longing for the mower to run out of gas. Dad, who was helping me, came up to me and pointed at the unmowed corned on the other property. “Mow that too,” he yelled over the noise of mower.

    You know, I was under no obligation to mow what they left. We did it anyway and I look back and think it was the right thing to do. I think that’s part of why I have had the feeling that there’s something wrong with this discussion today. I’m glad all these people came out of the shadows today because they don’t want this blog to go away, but it misses the instead of. When people complained about agents blogging, twittering, etc. the issue wasn’t that they thought it was wrong for agents to blog, but that they saw it as blogging instead of responding to their queries. These people are hurting because they have sent their babies off into a black hole. Previously, I’ve made the argument that agents are under no obligation to provide feedback on unsolicited queries. But that doesn’t mean we should assume it isn’t the right thing to do. There are ways to do better without spending more time responding.

  11. R. K. Mortenson on April 7, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    >Just want to pile on one more affirmation for you Rachelle. Your blog is great. You’re great. And a lot of writers greatly appreciate you and EVERYTHING you do.

  12. Laura on April 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    >I love your blog — it’s the perfect combination of personal and professional. In fact, you could toss in more personal, and I’d happily read. I like knowing you’re all real flesh and blood people.

    I say, do what you want and screw those that have a problem with it. If it means they won’t submit to you, then most likely you don’t want them anyway.

    There is no pleasing everyone.

  13. J. Haines on April 7, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    >I am a writer myself (already represented by an agent) and I don’t begrudge her the time she spends on her other pursuits at all. I’m just glad that she’s doing what she is doing, and keeps me in the loop!

    Don’t take those comments to heart. You’ve got a wonderful blog. I heard about it on the Guide to Literary Agents blog(http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/) and have been checking back in periodically. Your writing style is interesting, and I like to hear about all aspects of the industry, so getting your viewpoint is important to THIS author, at least.

    Plus, just speaking from my own experience, part of how I figured out what to do in order to find an agent was by visiting blogs and getting a “feel” for what was wanted. You’re providing an invaluable service by providing your insight, and it is appreciated. It doesn’t matter if it is tempered with personal tidbits – please keep it up!


  14. Melissa on April 7, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    >I read your blog daily, but I rarely comment. I had to respond to this, however.

    First, while I can empathize with how prospective writers want things to be, the reality is that some of the things they complained about are ridiculous.

    Neither you nor any other agent needs to apologize for including personal information on their blogs or Twitter. Know what? They’re YOURS. You can post recipes if you want. You’re not being compensated for that effort — it’s a free service. If a reader doesn’t like the balance of work and personal, they can choose not to read. It’s THEIR problem, not yours.

    In the same vein, they can get over the amount of time they perceive that you spend on tasks they don’t think are productive. This is your business. You are the only one who can set your priorities. If you set a response time, then yes, I think you should meet it, but otherwise, how you manage your time is not the business of non-clients.

    I also don’t think it’s a big deal if you talk about how busy you are. I expect it comes up mostly because non-clients think you should be responding faster — their problem, not yours! You have clients, and you have a life. You don’t owe non-paying clients anything except responses within your stated time period.

    I believe I, a prospective writer, should be treated courteously — but courteously doesn’t mean long, personal or instant replies. For me, if you set expectations — whatever they are — then you should meet those expectations. If you say, “No response means no,” then I don’t expect a reply. If you say, “Query response time is two weeks,” then I expect a reply within two weeks.

    If I get more than that it’s cake, not a requirement — and certainly not abuse. Once I become a paying client, THEN I expect more attention, but until then, you don’t owe me a darn thing.

  15. Glen Akin on April 7, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    >Just to add to writers who complain about agents blogging, facebooking, etc about personal stuff and not business, that’s the whole bloody point of these sites, isn’t it? That’s called socialising. Frankly, while I enjoy reading business related stuff on an agent’s blog, I think it’d be really weird if the agent didn’t say SOMETHING about their life. You know, what’s going on? What made you laugh the other day? What made you cry? Did you see a really stupid movie? Share a joke once in a while. Be HUMAN!

  16. Karen Amanda Hooper on April 7, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    >There are some of us writers who still think of you agents as heroes. I paid respect to you (agents) on my own blog in honor of the saddening AgentFail posts.


    Keep up the good work. Many of us apprecaite what you do (blogging and all).

  17. Janet on April 7, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    >My dear, do remember that it was not WRITERS complaining. It was SOME writers complaining. No matter what you do in life, somebody will tell you it’s too little or too much or too something. We had one set of grandparents telling us we were too lenient and another telling us we were too strict. Take the valid criticisms and ignore the rest, the way David ignored his big brother’s criticisms. You are NOT obligated to listen to everybody.

  18. Elise on April 7, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    >So far I’ve only lurked here, but I had to add my support for agents who blog. I still miss Miss Snark and I’d hate for you to stop blogging because of a few nasty comments.
    Twitter is a horse of a different color because of the content and nature of it. As writers, we get mixed messages from this. We are told to be very businesslike in our contacts with agents. Don’t used odd fonts or colored paper or cutesy approaches in our query letters. The message is overwhelmingly to BE PROFESSIONAL. As one other poster said, we’re also told to be very careful about what we post on the internet because an agent might Google us and find that rant we typed on a bad day. A request for a partial becomes a “not for me” as a result. So where is the line between impersonal professionalism and the rant in this brave new world?
    The advent of social networking reminds me of the early 70s when those of us who grew up with Donna Reed and Father Knows Best as models for a woman’s role got caught up short by Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinham. The old rules don’t seem to apply but no one’s quite defined the new ones.

  19. Sara on April 7, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    >Agents do have a hard job. That’s the reality. And part of it is because so many writers have unrealistic expectations. You can’t expect to send in a query and have an agent contact you the next week ready to sign you and sell you. In fact, we as writers shouldn’t want that. We should want agents to be cautious about who they represent because it’s a long term thing. That’s why we need to go to the writers conferences, get to know people in the business, network. We should put the effort into getting to know agents, what their passions are, what they’re looking for, what makes them tick. Not everyone will be a good fit. It seems like a lot of the people who complain about agents don’t have one. If they did, they would be way more appreciative.

  20. Julie Gillies on April 7, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    >Rachelle, I can’t imagine the pressure of your job. Becoming more popular through your blog probably adds to that pressure because you’re friendly, likeable, and approachable…I imagine people are coming out of the woodwork to send their work to you. At least you have job security! 🙂

    I just want to say that I appreciate you and your blog exceedingly. You are a valuable asset to many, and your heart to teach and encourage writers shines through every post.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  21. Dawn on April 7, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    >Ditto to what’s already been said.

    I’m at my “day” job, so I only have a moment, otherwise I’d take the time to elequently express what I think. Or I suppose I could “rant” about “my” job . . . Nah!

    I like your approach. You’re honest. You provide an arena for us to learn, while also providing a forum where we can express our opinions and ask questions.

    And – you show that even agents are human. In a business that can be so intimidating, that’s a gift.
    I appreciate it!!!

  22. Jana on April 7, 2009 at 1:03 PM

    >Dear Rachelle,
    I began submitting queries 14 months ago, then abruptly put the process on hold when I encountered you via your blog and discovered how not-ready I was. (By the way, that pill was a lot easier to swallow based on the way you represent yourself: real live human taking it one day at a time.)

    I know my chances of success have improved because of the information and resources you share, and I thank you for that gift.

  23. Kathi Lipp on April 7, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    >You know what your problem is? You actually care about what writer’s think and feel.

    We all have to realize that there are agents that are not even coming close to doing their job, and their are authors that no matter how wonderful an agent they have, it will never be enought. You take those two extreems and give the authors a way to vent, and thoguthful, self-aware authors and agents (such as you,) look at that and take it to heart and want to improve from it – but the agents who are commiting the real crimes will never read those postings becuase THEY JUST DON”T CARE. And the authors with an ax to grind will lump you in with everyone else – Twitter is BAD for every agent. Blogging is BAD for every agent. Hey authors with a tood – stop speaking for the rest of us. Take your bitter somewhere else – we ain’t buying it.

    Rachelle, keep doing what you are doing for us – the authors who work hard and have a realistic sense of you and your real life and appreicate the glimpse into it. We need you.

  24. Rachelle on April 7, 2009 at 12:53 PM

    >Betty, your manure story really touched me. Bless you!

    Everyone… thank you for your comments. I’m learning a lot from you, as always. Thank you for your graciousness. You inspire me to keep going, and keep trying to be better at what I do.

  25. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    You’ve made yourself vulnerable by what you are doing, and thus, you receive the hurts. I am reminded of my first year of teaching. At the end of the year a frustrated student presented me with an elegantly wrapped gift. I graciously thanked her and put it aside until later. When later came and I was by myself, I opened my gift and burst into sobs over a box of horse manure. Over the years and five thousand-plus students how much more do I cherish hugs from former students who say, “Oh, Mrs. A., you were one of my favorite teachers” or the precious note I received from a Marine burrowed into a desert bunker somewhere in the Middle East who sent me a tiny palm seedling and a scribbled note, “I know you’re pleased to know I’m still collecting plants and I’ve finally had time to learn how to spell Rhododendron macrophyllum.”

    I believe my ‘manure gift’ helped make me a better teacher and eventually earned me greater appreciation from hundreds of other students.

    Keep the faith, Rachelle. Your work is greatly appreciated.
    Betty Alder

  26. H. L. Dyer on April 7, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    >When I posted about this on my own blog, I called it Empathyfail.

    I think the reason the comments were so acquisition-heavy is that those writers awaiting representation have the least understanding of what an agent’s job entails.

    I love your blog and your tweets. I love all agents who don’t tell us to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    During my medical training, whenever I passed my advisor in the hallways I would ask, “Any advice for me?” and he would reply, “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

    Just keep doing what you’re doing.

  27. Kaci on April 7, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    >The entertaining part is all of that is said by disgruntled writers who are taking time themselves to read the internet smorgasbord as well as adding to it. Don’t feed the monster, then gripe about it.

    Just for the record, Rachelle, your blog’s become part of my morning routine. There’s about five or six I read regularly (even though I rarely comment).

    Don’t let people get to you. Yes, the blogs and Twittering (I don’t use Twitter, but hey, it’s another medium) help remove the fear factor. And the educational value I’m sure adds for less frustration on both sides.

    My dad always says that most conflict arises from miscommunication. This whole business is founded in communication – so yeah.

    And please don’t stop blogging. 0=)

  28. Jessica on April 7, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    >I haven’t commented before, I don’t think, but I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I had to delurk to say: I really, really appreciate you and the other blogging agents. You give me such a good idea of what this business is really like, and along with that dose of reality, you give me a dose of hope, because you show me that there are real people involved on both sides – real people who really like really good stories (real, real, and really real – ha!). Can’t think of anything better!

    Thanks for all you do.

  29. Natalie on April 7, 2009 at 11:02 AM

    >It’s always funny to me when people act like blogging is such a time suck. It’s not like I spend hours editing and pouring my heart out on a blog. Those are very fast/easy to write. I think agent blogs are fab.

    I wonder if maybe the frustration comes from facing reality instead of the publishing fantasy that seems to exist. I think there are loads of people who think writing a book, and getting published, is very easy. Maybe it is for some people but mostly it’s difficult at every stage. You just have the unfortunate job of being the first person to say, “not yet”. No matter how politely you say it, it’s still the first rejection some people experience.

  30. paulawiseman on April 7, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    >I apologize to you… on behalf of all the ranting writers. Words should be with grace. Your blog-bless your heart- has been the best thing to happen to my writing craft since… Microsoft Word. 🙂

  31. Dara on April 7, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    >You are allowed to vent. You are only human 🙂

    Sometimes I think writers tend to forget that fact. 😛

  32. Jeannie Campbell on April 7, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    >i’m so glad that you’re a blogging agent, myself (to second–er, sixty-fourth) what everyone has said. i’ve never met you, but you are much more real to me than others who do not blog. as a result, i would much rather work with someone i know a little something about, who cares enough about your job and our craft to try to make it easier on us writers. i’m sorry the posts on #agentfail were wounding, but the old adage of “you can’t please everyone” applies not only to writers and their books, but agents and their qualities. you ultimately answer to God for your time and actions, not disgruntled writers. so blessings on you as you continue along the road God would have you go!

  33. Jessica on April 7, 2009 at 10:32 AM

    >You’ve impressed me with both your professionalism and laidbackness (weird, I guess, but you’re both). I don’t think you need to worry about those comments.
    I thought it was a good exercise though because while you care and others care, some agents don’t seem to have a clue about writers. I’m guessing. LOL Didn’t have any agentfails to mention, so I guess that’s good.
    People get bitter and they get ticked. I didn’t read the whole thing ’cause it was the same complaints almost over and over.
    Oh well. I hope you’re feeling better today. You and other blogging agents are extremely valuable to us writers. Hope you keep it up! 🙂

  34. Patricia W. on April 7, 2009 at 10:21 AM

    >Oh, minor correction. I’m aware QueryFail was not a post on BookEnds blog but another social networking avenue.

  35. Mindy Obenhaus on April 7, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    >Rachelle, I appreciate you being real, and I appreciate this blog. Why do people sometimes fall under the delusion that agents are super-human? Though that’d be a great bonus, wouldn’t it? And now that you’ve got the social networks on your Blackberry, you can “tweet” or “Facebook” while you’re in line at the grocery store 🙂 Or are you not allowed to shop either?

  36. Patricia W. on April 7, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    >You’re entitled, Rachelle.

    Although I follow the BookEnds blog regularly, I didn’t read the comments on the AgentFail post (nor the original QueryFail post). I have to admit I’m curious but not enough to be tainted by the negativity that so obviously flooded both sites. (Maybe not so much QueryFail but I’ll never know.)

    I’ve yet to query an agent but when I do, I’ll have to approach it as seeking a partner or the relationship will be doomed to dissatisfaction from the start. I assume you (and all other agents) know how best to spend your time to be most effective at what you do. As in any industry, I’m sure there are good agents and bad agents. I pray I land a good one, the right one for me. But I don’t think I need to lambaste the industry or any particular agents in order for that to happen. I’d rather focus on being a good writer.

    However, it’s good to vent. Agents did on QueryFail, writers did on AgentFail, now you have. It’s also good to learn from feedback. If you’ve learned some things to help you be a better agent from the comments made, that’s wonderful. Throw the rest away, and continue to do the best you can.

  37. Kristina on April 7, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    >Rachelle, every writer should be forced to read this post! It’s so easy for people to see only their side of the story, and I’m sure a lot of writers gained a little insight through your post.

    But please try not to feel so hurt by what writers say about agents. There are people who always find something to complain about…and it seems a lot of them like to leave comments on blogs. 😀

    I think the vast majority of us understand agents aren’t the bad guys.

    THANK YOU for maintaining this useful blog and yes, for giving us a glimpse of your personal life through Tweets and such. You clearly have a heart for sharing your knowledge and yourself, and most of us appreciate this.

  38. lynnrush on April 7, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    >Bless you, Rachelle.

  39. Teri D. Smith on April 7, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    >Michelle, I can only echo what some many followers of your blog have already said: we appreciate the blog and the opportunity to get to know you. Someone a few months ago made the same negative comment about Michaael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson concerning his blogging and twitters. (My first response was: the nerve!)The overwhelming response was the same as here.

    The blogs are instant communication, information and feedback as well as a way of keeping connected when we live so far apart.

    Thankfully, agents and editors are professional enough to know the benefits versus time-committment and will continue!

  40. MisterChris on April 7, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    >Took me a while to even scroll down to post. I’ve read through many of these and can’t add much more.

    I echo the sentiment of appreciation for your openness. I haven’t submitted a book yet to any agent, but I now understand the ‘slush pile’ and why it’s such a job to trudge through it, thanks to people like you, who blog helpful info for us newbies.

    THANK YOU for what you do, and don’t let it get you down when others blast away. If you are doing this for God, if God is your boss, if this is God’s work you are doing, then it becomes His problem, and His shoulders are BROAD.

    It’s times like this when the meaning of ‘casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.’ comes home.

    Keep fighting the good fight, this world needs caring people.

  41. Marcie Gribbin on April 7, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    >Writers tend to feel incredibly vulnerable at every stage of the writing process because writing is art and deeply personal. It is no wonder that many writers feel so much frustration with with the agenting process, which is business. It’s a right brain/left brain thing.

    Rachelle, IMHO, I think you do an excellent job of bringing those two sides of the process together. Your continual vulnerability allows writers to see that agents are people too, people with real emotions and real lives! You do all that AND teach us!!

    Thanks for your inspiration on this blog and in your other social networking.

  42. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    >I found it really amusing that most of those people that posted were people who hid behind ‘Anonymous’. At least have the guts to say who you are. They used the excuse that they didn’t want to be blackballed. Well my thoughts to that is, no agent worth his or her weight is going to black ball you because you spoke your mind on something bothering you.

    It has nothing to do with guts and everything to do with reality. You’re right–it shouldn’t matter–but the truth is, something like that can bite you on the bottom when an agent who is thinking of repping you starts Googling your name. I noticed the majority of those who did use their real name said only positive things about agents.

    Also, my name can easily be tied to my agent. I would never embarrass her by publicly venting about something she does that bothers me. So if I have a complaint about one of her practices (which she is aware of), and I’m particularly frustrated, and I have a place to speak my mind, you can darn well bet I’ll post as a Nonny.

    And on another note, I think I like this blog enough to subscribe in my Google Reader.

  43. Cheryl Barker on April 7, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    >Rachelle, I can’t add much more to what’s already been written but wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and your service to writers. I love it that you want to be a real person with us. If we ever get to meet, I’ll feel like I’m meeting a blogging friend instead of a scary agent 🙂 God’s richest blessings to you!

  44. Nicole on April 7, 2009 at 9:38 AM

    >It’s probably been said, I didn’t read all the comments, but keep in mind the secular vs. the believer approach in responses. It should make a difference, and I think you’re commenting on the major one here today.

  45. inkblotsonthepage on April 7, 2009 at 9:34 AM

    >I’ve never actually commented on your blog before (that I recall), but I read it all the time. Please don’t stop blogging! I love hearing from someone who is active in the publishing world, and I love that you try to be a REAL PERSON to all of us trying to make our way into print. You seem like a real person, yet don’t beat around the bush about what’s good and what’s not in querying/manuscripts.

    Thanks. 🙂


  46. Sharon A. Lavy on April 7, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    >I am enjoying getting to know you through your blog and twitter.

    Thank you for expressing yourself and for the vent.

  47. Jacqueline T Lynch on April 7, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    >Your blog is very informative and helpful to wannabees wanting, needing to make sense of a complex business. Wannabees are hopeful, and sometimes also desperate. Desperation is sometimes ugly.

    Your blog is a great gift to anyone with sense enough to realize that. Agent blogs have become a new tool for aspiring writers to learn the craft. Most aspiring writers know this.

  48. Lady Glamis on April 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    >Great vent. I think you expressed yourself well and answered a lot of questions that needed to be answered. You do a wonderful job and I can that a lot of people respect and appreciate what you do. Thank you for sharing!

  49. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    >Anon 7:53 here again.

    I did participate in AgentFail, and I felt it was a constructive exercise (I should note that I have an agent).

    Writers need to vent sometimes, just like everyone else, but publicly venting can be very bad for their careers. The ladies at Bookends provided a protest zone for writers to get their complaints heard. But because so many complaints were piled in one spot, it seemed far worse than it is. I imagine most people posted their rant or complaint, and that was it. They don’t hate agents; they just wanted to get something off their chest.

    Some of those vents were true agentfails. Some of the stories flabbergasted me in the sheer rudeness of the agent in question (these were the specific, one-off stories).

    If every writer complaint was answered with, “So query someone else,” how in the world are agents going to know what writers are thinking? If one particular business practice (and I think at this point we all know to which one I’m referring) is causing a disproportionate number of complaints, maybe there’s a reason. Notice how few complaints there were in comparison for form letters versus personal rejections.

    And yes, some of those complaints were ::eye-roll:: “Why don’t they understand my genius?” or “All they want is the utter crap that gets published these days,” and “But they don’t do anything but take 15% of *my* money.” But, meh. It’s the Internet.

  50. Rosslyn on April 7, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    >Don’t worry about the negativity, especially about the blogging and Twittering. That’s just a petty complaint brought on by frustration. I think it’s amply evident from the comments here that people appreciate your openness. I certainly do!

    I thought the educational comments on the site tended to be those from people who had encountered difficulties once they were actually in a client-agent relationship. The acquisitions stuff was mostly unrealistic venting.

  51. Sun Up on April 7, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    >I absolutely loved reading your rant. At one point in time, I considered briefly becoming an agent. It took me all of five seconds to realize that it wasn’t for me.

    I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what you spend your free time, or your working time doing. Fact of the matter is, it’s YOUR time. I love being able to feel a connection with the different agents that post on blogs or Twitter or Facebook. Hell, I wouldn’t even have the access to people like you if it weren’t for those things. It makes the whole process alot easier and it makes you guys a lot less scarier to approach.

    I didn’t post on that agent fail thing. I did make a blog entry about though a few days back. I found it really amusing that most of those people that posted were people who hid behind ‘Anonymous’. At least have the guts to say who you are. They used the excuse that they didn’t want to be blackballed. Well my thoughts to that is, no agent worth his or her weight is going to black ball you because you spoke your mind on something bothering you.

    That whole queryfail thing was seriously messed up, but the agentfail wasn’t that much better. It was more like “oh you pushed me so I’m going to push you back” playground nonsense.

    I spend too much time writing and finishing this manuscript to be worried about someone elses query or agentfail. As long as mine is up to par, I could care less.

    I know that sounds harsh, but I’m a single mom trying to juggle an internship, take care of a baby, take care of household matters AND write a book–not easy. And really, my list of concerns only stretch so far.

    I just subscribed to your blog a day ago, and from what I see…I like…alot…enough to consider sending my query to you once I’m finished.

    I enjoyed reading your rant, but I wouldn’t let stuff like that bother you too much. Anyone with half a brain could see the intent behind…your whole blog period. And I for one, am grateful for it…and the inside to who you are.

    God bless!


  52. Carol on April 7, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    >I agree with the positive comments here. Blogs share information that can help people improve their writing and provide tips that, if followed, make it more likely an agent will seriously consider a submission. They also reveal something about the personality of the poster; that’s also helpful to determine whether or not a person might be someone I’d like to work with.

  53. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    >That was the point of agnentfail–to complain and address issues that bother and frustrate us. Writers didn’t say agents shouldn’t blog or Twitter–they said to quit moaning about how BUSY you are if you spend all day talking about trivia on Twitter. Also the #1 gripe is response time–don’t leave writers hanging or give them the silent treatment.

    Why spend so much time on social networks or at conventions or conferences if you can’t handle the clients you have? Why hang out your shingle if you don’t even have time to read queries? Please read between the lines and don’t take it all personally–there are some very valid points made. Don’t worry, you’re one of the good guys!

  54. Sherry on April 7, 2009 at 8:54 AM

    >Rachelle, when I first began to write, I decided to explore my favorite genre – sf – and joined Asimov’s forum. I was very surprised to find editor Gardner Dozois joining in the discussions as well as a number of well-known authors. From them, I learned more than I could ever have hoped, about publishing, about rejection, about craft and about the challenges faced by editors. The insight they provided was more valuable to me than years of study and experience, so don’t let anyone discourage you from interaction.

    The bottom line is probably that the people who complain are most likely discouraged from receipt of form-letter rejections. Perhaps if they had a little more respect for the process, they would not find themselves so resentful.- http://twitter.com/sherisaid

  55. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 8:53 AM

    >I guess I probably sound defensive, but as a blogging agent I felt the finger pointed at me and I felt like I wanted to explain. I really thought writers were, generally, enjoying this unprecedented access to agents and editors via the Internet. Now they’re complaining we’re spending too much time giving them access to us. Hard to figure out.

    Actually, it’s very easy to figure out: this is the Internet. Post anything, and you’ll get four hundred different opinions. If you looked, you could probably find someone who thinks taking your dog for a walk is a cruel practice and would be willing to tell you in great detail why they think that and what a horrible person you are for even considering it. So, when you’re confronted with something like this, just keep repeating: it’s the Internet.

    (Also, if you followed #AgentWin, you’ll see that most seem to like agents blogging and Twittering).

  56. Sharon Rainey on April 7, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    >appreciate your comments and explanations. i agree with you on almost everything and do appreciate being able to see the human side.
    i get frustrated by other agents who seem to delight in demeaning writers, sarcastic comments, just cut throat .. . there are definitely some agents i would never query to because of what i have read. i don’t want to become fodder for their blogs and twitter posts.
    but agents like you are ones i would continue to query to . .. so stay real and don’t feel defensive. you are doing good things and positively affecting many of us struggling writers!

  57. Krista Phillips on April 7, 2009 at 8:20 AM

    >When I read the agentfail posts, I got a little angry at writers, and I’m not even an agent. Are some writers really that self-righteous? Please know that we all aren’t. We obviously all have things to improve on, agents and writer’s alike, and constructive criticism is awesome, but wow, that was just a slam fest if I ever did see one.

    It’s YOUR business, YOUR decisions, and YOUR job to manage your time. I am not going to sit here and try to demand that you do it a way that fits me. No one forces a writer to sign a contract, and so if they don’t like the way you do business, then they don’t have to query you (and hey, that’s less queries! And I’m sure you’re just weeding out the difficult clients anyway… *grin*)

    I really appreciate your blog and twitter posts. They accomplish exactly what you intended: we get to know YOU and can make an educated decision as to if you’re the type of agent we’d work well with.

  58. Kat Harris on April 7, 2009 at 8:16 AM

    >Even though the words were not written on my blog, the comments were so overwhelmingly critical of agents that I felt wounded. As you might guess, this was partly because I’m guilty of some of the things writers apparently hate about agents.

    To play devil’s advocate for only a moment, I’m guessing that many of the writers who read queryfail might have felt something similar.

    I have avoided anything on the Internet with the word “fail” in its title because it seems to me that its only deepening the chasm between writers and agents. (I’ve actually banned the term from my blog. ) 🙂

    It’s not helpful.

    Yes, writers may have learned something from queryfail, but was it worth the animosity that fueled agentfail?

    There are more constructive ways to learn from each other.

    Your blog is an excellent source of information for writers, as are most written by other agents. I’m thankful for the wealth of knowledge you and Nathan and Caren and Janet and (insert your favorite blogging agent’s name here) take the time to put out there.

    BTW, I’m glad you mentioned Nathan Bransford’s contest. I’m looking forward to it.

  59. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 8:07 AM

    >I say thanks for taking the time to blog. I did not participate in Agentfail as I am still finishing my book, but I’ve found all the agent blogs to be helpful. I say keep it up, and don’t be disheartened by people who want to complain. There’s that old expression: if you want something done, give it to a busy person. It’s true. Busy people, even though they’re busy, know how to get tasks accomplished, and even though, a lot of people consider twittering and blogging goofind off (and it would be for them), for the busy person, it’s another item checked off their todo list, an item they’ve been kind enough to do, even though they have a dozen other things on their todo list that may still need to get done.

  60. Jenny Whitehurst on April 7, 2009 at 8:07 AM


    It’s funny how much your post reminds me of the adoption process. My husband and I adopted our son from Korea and we belonged to a support group full of families who were all waiting with baited breath to become parents (just like the line of queriers that forms in an agent’s inbox). We were given numbers and placed in line and told the referral of our children would happen in numerical order. While we waited, we all vented about how we wished the adoption agency would get their rears-in-gear and quit spending so much time doing other things and refer us a child already.There were plenty of children out there that needed good homes! But in the adoption process (literary business) the waits are long and no news means nothing has happened. So we waited…and prayed…and you know what? All of us (every single one in our group) realized that when you finally get that blessed referral, you forget all about the long wait, because you realize all of that time HAD to pass for you to get the child that God has in store for you.

    I’ve learned that life is mostly waiting. And ususally, the wait is long and hard, and in the end, how you handle yourself is one of the most important things. I think the people who left hateful comments on Agentfail have yet to learn that. There’s always a lesson for us in the wait, somewhere, and God will reveal it in his perfect timing.

  61. Stef Kramer on April 7, 2009 at 8:06 AM

    >Sorry — Rachelle, I mean!

  62. Stef Kramer on April 7, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    >Rachel, please know that you make a positive difference to many aspiring writers who typically don’t comment (like myself). I find this writing venture completely interesting and appreciate agent bloggers like your and Nathan Bransford. Try not to be disheartened – you have opened a whole new world of insight to a (largely) appreciative audience.

  63. Jen and Kev on April 7, 2009 at 8:01 AM

    >Oops! Make that Rachelle. Sorry!

  64. Jen and Kev on April 7, 2009 at 8:00 AM

    >Rachell: Please don’t take those tacky, rude comments to heart.

    I go on your blog because it encourages, teaches and helps me grow.

    You are amazing! Please don’t modify your life because of some gripers and whiners. What if Moses and Joshua had done that when the Isrealites whined?

    God is proud of you. You are doing a fine job! Keep it up, girl!

  65. Wendy on April 7, 2009 at 7:57 AM


    I hope you know how much I value blogs like yours and Nathan’s (and other agent bloggers). I’ve learned so much from your insight and wisdom. I also appreciate your vulnerability and honesty. It is refreshing! I’d be honored to have you as an agent…especially b/c you mentioned you pour time into your current clients. That is respectworthy.

    I also was impressed, though disheartened by the comments, you still wanted to find ways to strengthen and re-evaluate – that’s integrity.

    Rachelle, whether you are my agent or not…I still respect all you do, your hard work, your faith, etc. That isn’t conditional. You’ve earned that respect, quite honestly, in part b/c of blogs like this one.

    Thank you.
    ~ Wendy

  66. Alison on April 7, 2009 at 7:40 AM

    >From what I see, Rachel, you couldn’t do a better job. My husband’s a pastor, so I’m with you on the unrealistic front. Please know people are always looking for someone to blame. If you are doing God’s will, it’s not you that they have a problem with. It’s God. Much bloggy love sent your way.

  67. Rachel on April 7, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    >I love your blog, and I appreciate the personal connection you’ve extended through Twitter and FB. People are really just griping because they want to get published, and they aren’t. I’m sure that is upsetting after lots of work, but it isn’t the result of agents not doing their jobs. You know you are doing good work, and you know all the other things you have to do. Somebody will always complain and ask you to do more. Not your problem!

  68. Yvonne on April 7, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    >One reason I chose to send my book to you was because you are a personal person. It isn’t all business. I appreciate that you spend time with your family and that you laugh and cry and grumble and act just like us.


  69. Chatty Kelly on April 7, 2009 at 7:32 AM

    >My husband is in land development and your post reminds me of a situation he often encounters. Often folks want to move into a more rural setting, but as soon as they move into their new subdivision they start yelling “Stop the growth.” They want to keep it rural, but only have they’ve moved in from the city.

    I’m sorry reading those posts were tough. I don’t personally know you, but I appreciate VERY MUCH the time you spend blogging. I am learning so much. And I look forward to a day when perhaps I can take up more of your time as one of your clients. (Of course at that point, I will expect you to stop spending all that time blogging. LOL!) Just kidding!

  70. Holly on April 7, 2009 at 7:30 AM

    >Rachelle, thanks for doing what you do. Your honesty and vulnerability bless, challenge, and encourage your readers, including me. Thanks!

  71. Melinda Walker on April 7, 2009 at 7:28 AM

    >I’ll just say ditto to all the positive comments. I appreciate the learning opportunity blogging agents provide. When I began submitting, I wasn’t aware of much information in cyberspace and it was so much more a shot in the dark.

    Negativity seems to adversely affect my thought processes/creativity, so I didn’t read the agentfail comments. I’ll admit, the pub business is frustrating for someone trying to break in, but it’s the nature of the animal, as are so many things in life. Those who choose to point fingers at others instead of endeavoring to be successful are wasting valuable energy.

  72. Tami Boesiger on April 7, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    >I love what you do, Rachelle. I find it very helpful and unselfish.

  73. Judy Schneider on April 7, 2009 at 6:55 AM

    >I’m having a tough time figuring out why any writer would complain about blogging agents? It’s as if the griper is saying, “No, no, don’t tell me how I can become a better writer, how I can improve my query, strengthen my pitch, revise my manuscript, enhance my chances of gaining notice in the competitive world of publishing. Let me struggle out here in the dark by myself. I don’t want to know what you really want from me…”

    Nope, I just don’t get it.

  74. Timothy Fish on April 7, 2009 at 6:54 AM

    >I skimmed AgentFail and I didn’t see anything particularly surprising. It appeared to be the same comments unpublished authors have been putting on blogs and forums. I think these comments are important and worth consideration, but I don’t think we should take them at face value. These comments are indicative of the problems that exist across the board in the publishing industry, not just with agents.

  75. Richard Mabry on April 7, 2009 at 6:43 AM

    If #queryfail reached the point of “piling on,” #agentfail was definitely “unnecessary roughness,” and should have garnered not only a 15 yard penalty, but ejection from the game for some participants.

    Sure, when I know that one of the projects on your desk is mine, I might see you tweeting about something else and think, “Do mine next, do mine next.” Just like sitting in a doctor’s office and fidgeting when others are called in first. But just like that situation, you’ll get to it and do a good job, and it’s not up to any of us to tell you how to accomplish that. Personally, I don’t know how you keep all those balls in the air. But you seem to do it, and do it well.

    None of us can really know the effort you put into your job, but neither can anyone who pays attention to both your blog and your Twitter/Facebook activity deny the passion with which you pursue it. Thanks for caring, and thanks for sharing.

  76. josette on April 7, 2009 at 6:40 AM

    >maybe people need to realize that you don’t belong to them. That is what some of the responses in the post made me think. I don’t understand why people think its alright to tell you what to do with your life. Their not your boss. You know it sucks to rejections, but you take a deep breath and move on to the step

  77. Rachelle on April 7, 2009 at 6:34 AM

    >Oh my goodness! I got to my desk at 5:15 this morning and found all this amazing love and support pouring out from my blog. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words. It really does make me feel better. (Especially after tossing and turning all night in my anxiety over whether I should have even posted this!) Your acceptance and encouragement is both humbling and incredibly comforting. I’m so fortunate to have you all in my life. Thank you!

  78. Karen on April 7, 2009 at 6:18 AM

    >Rachelle, you cannot be all things to all people. You cannot make all of the people happy all of the time. Old cliches but they hold true. What you are doing will attract to you those who enjoy your interaction and who will appreciate your insights and sharing. IMHO you are a very well rounded young woman–mom, wife, agent, friend. God has blessed you. Keep doing what you do so well with our thanks and appreciation.

  79. kfeldotto on April 7, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    Your blog is an invaluable resource for so many of us. You offer wisdom and insight combined with humor and honesty. Educational does not often equate to fun, but your postings are both. Don’t sweat the negativity. Life is full of critics, especially for those in a public forum. The internet multiplies that a thousand times over. Please keep doing exactly what you are doing. We love it.

  80. sherrinda on April 7, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    >I love your blog and have learned alot from you. As a newbie writer, agents and publishers and editors are all giants in my mind. To read the blogs and the tweets just helps to bring them down to my size. More real, more approachable.

    You go, girl!

  81. Katie on April 7, 2009 at 5:48 AM

    >I have four things to say.

    One: I went to agentfail because you mentioned it in a previous blog. I read a few comments and quickly got off. Negativity spreads like weeds.

    Two: I LOVE when agents/editors blog. I soak it up! And I know (for a fact) that the majority of unpubbed authors (like moi) really apreciate it too. So I say – refuse to let a few sour apples make you feel guilty about it. You’re helping a lot of people out.

    Three:I think it’s important we all learn to extend grace. Especially in this industry. The more entrenched in it I become, the more I realize how hard everybody works. How overwhelmed everybody feels. We should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and quick to understand that we’re all trying very hard to find the balance between life and work and accomplishing our goals/dreams.

    Four: I loved your rant – it might actually be one of my favorites. I don’t love that you were hurt by those comments – but I do love that you are being vulnerable enough to let your followers know that your feelings were hurt. And partially because I would probably read all the comments too – if I knew they might potentially be about me. It’s really not a healthy thing – is it? But I wouldn’t be able to help myself. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who would do this. 🙂

  82. Ellen Painter Dollar on April 7, 2009 at 5:27 AM

    >Reading Agentfail comments made me feel sad/a little sick to my stomach, just as reading Queryfail a few weeks ago made me feel sad/a little sick. In both cases, people failed to see their targets as people–who are mostly trying their best, who have families/interests/obligations outside of their work as writers or agents, who have to make hard choices in their work, who cannot give everyone else exactly what they’re looking for. Thanks for writing this–much of it is stuff you’ve written before (seems agents cannot say enough that queries are only a tiny piece of your work–writers just can’t seem to accept that!), but clearly, it needed to be said again.

  83. Lisa Jordan on April 7, 2009 at 5:12 AM

    >You know what? We all need those really long brain dumps every now and then. 🙂

    One of the reasons I wanted to meet you at the ACFW conference was because of your internet presence and your approachability. You came across as a real person.

    I read the agentfail comments for the first time yesterday. I was surprised by the bitterness and hostility many of the posters expressed. They complained about agents blogging and twittering, yet they were taking valuable writing time to vent on someone else’s blog. Hmm.

    Last year I listened to well-known Christian fiction agents tear apart writers’ one-sheets in less than ten seconds. I understand a writer has a limited amount of time to make a first impression, but I left that room feeling so humiliated and ready to toss my manuscript in the trash. And I don’t consider myself a beginning writer.

    So I think it’s a two-way street–agents will complain and laugh about queries that are not ready to be submitted and writers will complain about agents not meeting their expectations.

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re providing us with a valuable service, and I hope you don’t stop. 🙂

  84. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 4:51 AM

    >I appreciate your post and echo the others – we are grateful for your blogs and the sharing of your wisdom.

    I think a lot of this comes down to expectations, as you wrote in a recent post. I’ve been an acquisitions editor with a couple of the big houses over the years, so I know the huge number of manuscripts that come in. In 30 seconds I could usually tell if I wanted to pursue the project. And like you, I had relationships with authors where I worked hard to shape the ms. just right, and then boom, sales and marketing didn’t catch my vision and the project didn’t move forward. Or for some they did, but then the sales didn’t meet expectations, and the publisher lost money. But all the time I was getting my nice salary with benefits, unlike an agent.

    Now I’m launching into writing and am thinking about getting an agent myself. Recently I sent in a query and was over the moon with the speed and wisdom of the response. My take was wrong and I’m now recasting it. But during this process I was amazed in retrospect how I seemed to forget my years as an editor as the emotion of ‘my baby’ being liked seemed to take over. We authors lose perspective so easily, and benefit hugely from a blog such as yours.

    Amy Boucher Pye

  85. Gwen Stewart on April 7, 2009 at 3:36 AM


    Take heart. 🙂

    Even if you post on twitter, facebook and your blog, it’s none of anyone’s business how you conduct your days. In my opinion, as long as you’re working for your clients (and I know you are), it’s not even THEIR business…in the same way that, though the taxpayer pays my teacher salary, it’s none of their concern if I complete my school work at home or after school. As long as I’m teaching children, I’m doing my job.

    The internet paints in broad strokes. It feels personal when those strokes brush across your life and your job, but try not to let it discourage you. What you do with your time is between you, God, your family, and those to whom you’ve made promises. Period.

  86. Anonymous on April 7, 2009 at 2:38 AM

    >I know that many others have said this already, but your blog and many other agent’s are gold mines. I have learned so much about the publishing world, writing queries, and tips on writing. I can’t believe any aspiring writer would complain about agents blogging. You offer us a wealth of free advice that is just as valuble as a in depth critique of a query letter.

    Thank you, for donating so much of your free time to helping us. I think the majority of us really really appreciate you, and we do enjoy getting to know you personally as well.

  87. Dee Yoder on April 7, 2009 at 2:29 AM

    >I have so much to learn. If you didn’t have this blog, I’d be more of a dummy than I am already. And I can choose to read anything you write…or not. I like the choice to educate myself in my own time and at my own pace.

  88. Cassandra on April 7, 2009 at 2:04 AM

    >I, too, thank you for sharing your frustrations. I read the agentfail post on bookends for about fifty comments or so and was so disgusted with what I saw there that I stopped reading and have never gone back. While not all of the agentfail comments that I read were awful (some were even helpful or suggested alternatives) it seemed to me that most of the commenters were just jumping on hate bandwagons. At least the #queryfail comments were nearly all constructive. (A writer that loved #queryfail and hated AgentFail? Seems like i’m in the minority!)

    I LOVE that agents have blogs. I LOVE that they twitter. I love to see that agents have a life outside of being an agent. I love being able to peer into their life as an agent and get their perspective. Reading their blogs and twitters has only made me a better writer.

    I don’t think i’d want an agent that didn’t know when to take a break. There’s got to be some humor in life, some down time.

    Like you said, you’re human. I’d rather have a human be my agent. I hope that I find one like you some day.

    Again, thanks. Chin up.

  89. ~Jamie on April 7, 2009 at 2:02 AM

    >As an aspiring author, I am heartbroken that what you guys got out of the #agentfail was us not wanting you to blog and twitter! I have learned SO much from agents with their blogging and their twittering and all that stuff.

    I just hope that agents remember that although there were 200 comments on that post I don’t personally know a single writer who participated. (And I talk to a LOT of writers haha!)

    So, just remember that. The majority of us are still very grateful for all the help these blogs and other networking things you guys do!

  90. Carla Gade on April 7, 2009 at 1:41 AM

    >Rachelle, I for one do enjoy so much that you make yourself real to us all. Getting to “know” you, and other agents too, on the internet has helped me in so many ways. I love the way you share different aspects of your life and the many facets of your business. I know that there are so many others that appreciate you as I do.

  91. Kim Kasch on April 7, 2009 at 1:37 AM

    >I love the blogging you do, it makes me feel like I “know” you.

    I blog too and the people who comment are my “cyberfriends”. Okay, I know that sounds weird but it’s true.

    And we all need outlets, if it wasn’t blogging (which we, writers, benefit from you doing) you’d be watching t.v., playing tennis, skiing, or doing something else – no one works 24X7.

    So, IMHO your social networking is good for everyone.

  92. Anne L.B. on April 7, 2009 at 1:15 AM

    >Rachelle, thanks for venting. You didn’t need to show us this frustration, but it’s important that you did. For all the frustration you receive from authors, we need to hear you too.

    An agent/author relationship is that: a relationship. It’s not a given simply because we submit a query. Even when the relationship is established, it doesn’t mean everything we write is what you can sell.

    I can’t speak for twitter (don’t follow it), but there’s never been a lack of showing how very human you are here.

    And by the way, THANK YOU for all the rejection you receive on behalf of authors.

  93. Leigh Lyons on April 7, 2009 at 1:13 AM

    >I actually enjoy the bloggin and twittering that agents do. As a naturally shy person (like many writers I know) it really helps to know that there is a person on the other end. Many of us who are unpublished, I think, are overwhelmed by the thought of sending our babies to be scrutinized by a person who holds our writing careers in her hands. And that’s where the “gimicky” queries come from. We feel the need to impress this person whom we have elevated to god(dess) status.

    Knowing there is a person behind the “agent” title I think helps us cut out the b*llsh*t. I know it does for me.

  94. T. Anne on April 7, 2009 at 1:10 AM

    >I can’t imagine life without the Internet, blogs, facebook, myspace, twitter because it would disconnect me from a world of people I love to know and enjoy. I love that I can see the human side of agents and editors, I love that they have a normal life outside of work, that somewhat resembles mine. It humanizes them and makes this whole experience a little more bearable. So tweet away, keep up a blog or two, I for one enjoy all the chatter.