Friday, March 19, 2010
White tiger photo by Terry Hall, found at TrekEarth
On Monday, Megan Rebekah asked, would you query an agent with bad taste in books? I think this is a fascinating question and I wanted to bring it over here.
As Megan said, we're not talking about an incompetent agent, nor are we talking about an "I don't like that genre" kind of disagreement. Megan asked what you would do if you discovered that an agent who would otherwise seem to be a good fit, who represented a book that you felt was simply not up to snuff: poorly written. The agent's blog says show don't tell, easy on the adverbs, build character... and then s/he pulls THIS out of the slush pile? What the heck?
I'd like to expand that and also ask if you would query an agent who repped a book that you find distasteful for other reasons. Perhaps it's a book that has fundamentally different values than yours: for example, after my complaints about the pervasiveness of the enfeebled heroine*, could I end up signing with an agent whose list includes several of those kinds of titles? What would that say about me and/or the agent? Could an agent who likes those books enough to represent them truly "get" my book in the way we are told agents should?
I'm sure that some of these questions could be resolved in a phone call: if I ask the interested agent what s/he likes about my book, and s/he says that they love my strong female protagonist, then I probably don't have to worry that the agent will try to turn my book into a clone of the ones I don't care for. And maybe there were other things they liked about the "bad" book in question that could explain the seeming contradictions. (After all, I thought Twilight had some poor writing and weak characters... and I wanted to know what happened next anyway.)
What do you think? Are there any books you hate enough -- for any reason -- that you would pull the agent associated with the book off your query list?