I hoped I would never have to write an entry like this, though I suppose things could have turned out much worse.
While seeking out new agents to query this weekend, I found someone who sounded like a good fit. I'll consider most anyone who's looking for adult fantasy, and if they're looking for LGBTQ+ and/or woman lead characters, those are only points in their favor. Some other things they said on their webpage made it sound like they would love BoLR. So, I sent off a query.
I got a response in about an hour. It was a request for a full.
Maniacal laughter ensued. I couldn't believe this - I mean, I'd had a good weekend, but this? This was unreal. It felt like things had somehow aligned for me and the querying process could be over when it had hardly even begun.
Yes, I had high expectations and was already putting all my eggs into one basket. It's a problem I have. Anyway.
After the initial euphoria wore off, I realized that I should do some research before I sent off my book. I'd never heard of this person's agency, and wasn't looking into it the smart thing to do? Yes, it was. So I googled it.
The first link that came up was, of course, the agency itself. The next two links were people detailing their horrible experiences with said agency.
Hands up if you saw this coming.
One of those links was documentation of a writer's personal experiences with an agent from this agency over the course of the year, during which they dealt with months-long delays in communications and learned that their agent was using the shotgun approach with submissions. This was followed by that same person being threatened with possible legal action for discussing their experience with the agency. Both pages had comments sections that included several anonymous attacks against the writer.
The second was an ongoing discussion going back nearly a decade, with people discussing their experiences with the agency. Several people who had once been represented by the agency told of the same problems with several agents from there: lack of communication, the shotgun approach to submissions, and of being passed from agent to agent within the agency with little explanation. There were further and more upsetting issues stemming from a writer's experience with the agency's president, which I won't delve into here for the sake of keeping this non-specific.
I look at things like this the same way I looked at reviews for companies or apartments when I was searching for work and housing. One or two bad reviews aren't a big deal - among enough people, someone's going to have a negative experience, and they'll be more inclined to warn others away. But if all the negative reviews say the same thing, then there's clearly a problem. So it seemed to be the case with this agency.
This was not what I wanted to hear. And I fought with myself over it for a while. Things will be different, I told myself. It's a different person than the agents those people who had the bad experiences had, I reasoned. Maybe things have changed, I hoped. But in the end, I couldn't go against my gut - I couldn't go in when I knew it could be such a bad decision.
If everyone's complaints about the agency are the same, then it's a problem with the way the place is run. And I'm not going to willingly sign up for that.
So, I politely told the agent I was withdrawing my book from submission, and hopefully nothing more will come of it. I sincerely hope this was me dodging a bullet and not ruining what could have been a really great chance. This also leaves me two-for-two for getting a full request that turned out to be doomed. -_- But I walk away from this wiser, I hope. And at least I know my query will work with someone who's looking for the sort of stuff I write. Now I just need to find someone else who wants that.
This is rough as hell on me, though. >_< Crashing from that kind of joy sucks like you wouldn't believe, and now I get to spend the rest of my life hoping I didn't make a horrible mistake. I just keep telling myself that a bad agent is in fact worse than no agent, and that there's bound to be someone else out there who will read my stuff and want to rep me. Someone whose agency doesn't throw up red flags as soon as I search for it. (I will be telling myself this over and over for at least the next week.)
...funny, I was just thinking over the weekend that I didn't know what I'd blog about this week. But now, between this and my worst rejection ever, I've seen how bad things can get. It's all up from here, right? ...right?