Every time I speak at a writers’ conference, and every time I foolishly wander into an Internet chat room, I can expect to hear certain questions from aspiring authors. Sooner or later, in one form or another, one question always seems to come up:
Why won’t agents and editors tell me why they rejected my book? Or worse, why won’t they answer at all?
As a writer, I certainly feel their pain; how can I ever hope to improve, if no one will tell me what needs improving? But after three years as agent, it’s easy to see the other side.
First, it’s not my job. I know that sounds unbelievably cold and callous, but it’s true. I’m here to identify promising writers, offer their works to prospective publishers, and then negotiate the deal. Every minute I spend away from those functions, causes me to shirk my contractual obligations to existing clients.