When Query Met Sadly: Can Agents and Aspiring Authors Really Be Friends?

This something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, in the wake of Agentfail fallout regarding agents making themselves (as people, not just as agents) accessible online.

Because in the course of “establishing an online presence,” I’ve encountered quite a few agents who are funny and fabulous. People whom I enjoy interacting with as much as any of my online contacts (or, as Mr. Kiddoc calls them, my imaginary friends).

But it gets a bit tricksy sometimes. If any of my other online contacts posted they were having a bad day, I wouldn’t hesitate to try to cheer them up. I would use tongue-in-cheek humor without reservation. But when it’s an agent-type person, I worry I’ll seem insincere. I wouldn’t need a motive, ulterior or otherwise, to do these things. But I can’t deny that I do have a motive, shading my every action with personal gain.

It’s almost a consolation prize to have received rejections from a couple of these agenty peeps. Of course, I am disappointed not to be working with them, but at least I don’t feel cloying if I tell them when they crack me up or post something particularly helpful.

And all of this musing reminded me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, which I now present for you with a few minor word substitutions:

Query Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Agent: Why not?
Query Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that aspiring authors and agents can’t be friends because the representation part always gets in the way.
Sally Agent: That’s not true. I have a number of aspiring author friends and there is no representation involved.
Query Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Agent: Yes I do.
Query Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Agent: Yes I do.
Query Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Agent: You’re saying I’m representing these authors without my knowledge?
Query Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to be represented by you.
Sally Agent: They do not.
Query Burns: Do too.
Sally Agent: They do not.
Query Burns: Do too.
Sally Agent: How do you know?
Query Burns: Because no author can be friends with an agent that reps his or her genre. He always wants to be represented by her.
Sally Agent: So, you’re saying that an author can be friends with a agent who doesn’t?
Query Burns: No. You pretty much want to sign with them too.
Sally Agent: What if THEY don’t want to represent YOU?
Query Burns: Doesn’t matter because the representation thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

But, Twittering/Blogging Agents, I like you for your minds, I swear.

Here’s to friendship anyway!

11 Responses

  1. HA! I knew that HAD to be from When HArry Met Sally…..Thanks for the Laugh (and the perspective!)

  2. Love from one of your imaginary friends. *wink*

  3. That was awesome. Can you see me…? Can you see me now? LOL!

  4. Oh you are so right. It’s hard to leave a positive comment on an agent’s site without coming off as some sycophantic loon.

    I do it anyway. Cuz that’s the way I roll. :-S Lord, my nerd-dom is showing. Sorry.

  5. ROFL. Woman you take humor to a whole different level. But you’re right, it’s a quandry. I just decided to be sincere and if they don’t like me, okay.

    Funny, you don’t look like a stalker ;D

  6. Brilliant stuff, that.

    At least I’m not the only one who sees the bond between agent and rejected author, as one-sided as it might be.

    Who knows? One day I’ll be at the bar during my writer’s group conference and I’ll be waving to people across the room and saying things like, “Oh look! There’s Colleen! She rejected me *twice*. Hey! (points to Cosmo). You gotta try one of these, girl!”

    Can’t do crazy stuff like that once someone actually represents you. Live while you can.

  7. Now that was good.

  8. That is funny stuff..and accurate. I feel the same as you and I rarely comment on agent blogs.

    First time to your great blog!

  9. This parallel cracked me up. I can completely relate with your sentiments…so many times I’ve wanted to remark to an agent blog with a casual response…forgetting I don’t really “know” these people…they just come across so inviting and welcome. Anyway, what a fun post…glad to have come across it!
    ~ Wendy

  10. Yeah, I’m a lurker for that very reason. Just when I judge a commentor as over-the-top in compliments to an agent, they’ll say something like, “you’ve rejected me twice” and I wonder Aww, you won’t give up will ya. (because there’s no time for friendship with an agent who doesn’t think your writing is stellar:))

    I guess that’s better than the disgruntled Annons who leave scathing remarks because they were spurned–now those are funny.

  11. Um, this might be the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. I LOVE that movie; in fact, it’s my favorite. And now I want to go home and watch it. My WIP doesn’t thank you, but I do. 🙂

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