A few weeks ago, I received an email from a writer letting me know that another agent had offered him representation. The agent wanted an answer by the end of day Friday. I was way behind the eight ball having not yet received the proposal. Plus, the other agent had put a clock on the process.
Anyhoo, I spent a few hours reading and rereading the proposal because I really liked the writing, thought the idea was saleable, terrific title, but I also felt it needed some work. It needed to be more intense, to build more, in order to pay off. I called the writer, we spoke for close to an hour about my editorial concerns. Then about marketing, platform, etc. He seemed to click with my ideas. I hung up thinking we had a great conversation; I hoped to get the client.
Next day, email arrives. Turns out he had a half dozen offers of representation. It boiled down to me and someone else (you say that to all the girls). He explains that he went with the other person for reasons largely intangible. In other words, I was a great lay but smell you later. I want to reply with two words: big mistake.
Instead I say, write the best book you can. I say, you’ve got a lot of talent. I wish him well and I actually mean it. That said, I ask if I may know the identity of the victorious agent so that I may take out my voodoo doll. Writer gamely tells me. Readers, I was so hoping for it to be an agent I loathe, which is sort of like looking for a haystack in a haystack. But alas, it was one of the smartest and loveliest agents in the biz.
I put my pins away.