Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Assistants= awesome

So if you don't know by now I'm in the query process...  which means I check query tracker CONSTANTLY to see if someone posted a comment about the agents on my query list.

Recently I saw a comment about someone getting rejected by the agent's assistant and I thought, "really? You sound kinda pissed about that."

Then I got mad.  I got pissed at whoever would be pissed that an assistant would read their query and pass on it.

I just spent the last half hour commenting on queries for the query blogfest I had to stop because I was getting bored--- not that the queries were badly written or anything but there was just SO many of them.  And I had to write something about all of them.  My brain was DONE after a half hour.  I can't IMAGINE what it's like to do this all day, every day. 


Thank God for assistants, seriously.  

Agents are outrageously busy-- don't let the fact they they seem to tweet or blog a lot fool you.  If your getting frustrated with the lag time between your query and your response--- GO WRITE ANOTHER BOOK. 

The publishing industry has given you the gift of time.  Enjoy it.

More so, don't get all snippy because you were rejected by an assistant.  There's a million blogs about how many queries an agent gets and how many of them the agent signs as a client.  You want an assistant to read your query.  They know exactly what an agent wants.

Let's face it-- if you've done your research on an agent, it means you've read their bio on the agency web page, maybe you read an interview, if you're really an overachiever you've been following them on twitter and reading the last month of blog posts, looking for something to connect your book to the agent's wish list.

The agent wants a fresh voice- and you think, "well my character has some snappy dialogue-- that's a fresh voice."

Look an assistant spends at least 8 hours a day with the agent... it's safe to assume he or she knows the agent pretty well.  FAR better than a cyber stalker does --- and let's face it we all cyber stalk a little bit.
A rejection from the assistant should have the same weight as the rejection from the agent.

And if you get rejected-- frown for a minute-- shake it off and move on.  WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

Have I been bummed at every rejection I've gotten?--- yep.  a few minutes later I'm done.  (Poor Holly gets the brunt of my woes is me moments but by the time I see my family I'm good again)

Have I been rejected by assistants? YEP-  Did it hurt? No more so than an agent.

If you're going to be bitter about it- find a new hobby or GO WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

More so a request for a partial or a full should also have the same weight.  Do a happy dance.

Assistants are people too, they work in the same publishing industry as the agents, they drink the same chai lattes and their comments are JUST AS VALUABLE. 

A few months ago I received editorial comments from an agent and her assistant... both sets of comments were  AWESOME and when I resubmitted I hoped that the assistant will get to read it and see how much of her critique and comments I took when I revised.

Assistants= awesome.

Don't be a douche and think otherwise.

I will be getting off this soap box now. 

I'm off to grade and WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

You know why? Because I love writing and no matter how many times I get a form rejection or WHO sends its.


  1. This is an excellent post, Erinn! Well said and SO true!

  2. Awesome post!! I completely agree with you on every point as well. :-) Good luck in your query process!!!

  3. I agree with every single bit of this post.

  4. Sometimes assistants are the nicest people to deal with! I think it's a little less scary than dealing with an agent, and assistants are generally very timely. I'm with you--assistants are awesome!

  5. Totally agree. My eyes were crossing by the time I reached the 30's in the query blogfest lol. I can totally understand the form rejection even if it hurts *wince*

    And yes, thank goodness for assistants!

  6. Great post! I totally agree. Assistants aren't stupid and like you said, know what their bosses want. Weiters should be happy to have an assitant reading their work, especially if they have more time to devote to reading than their boss.

  7. This is such a great post, Erinn! I love your positive attitude and you're absolutely right--why get angry at the assistant? If it wasn't for assistants, then a lot of agents may not be able to accept new clients!

  8. Wow. I'm going to be the douche I see.
    Yes, assistants are awesome. Yes, they are all overworked and underpaid. (I'm always an assistant never the boss) Yes, they are working their way towards being an agent/editor and this is how they do it.
    When I call the fire department I expect the trained professionals to show up to put out the fire, not the guy who opens the mail.
    When I go to get my haircut I expect the trained professional to do it, not the girl who answers the phone.
    Yes, their careers have to start somewhere, but being an agent/editor is a business not volunteer work.
    So, I can completely see why someone might be disappointed (not angry) by being rejected by an assistant as opposed to a full fledged trained professional agent/editor.

    On that note I will say I have a pile of my own rejections, each one hurts like hell and I am continuing to write regardless.

    Maybe we should let the peeps fight it out.

  9. Erinn-- huzzah.
    Heather, I must say, I am not sure the firefighter/mail opener is an apt analogy. Or the receptionist at the salon. The way agents are "trained" is not at agent school, but by reading slush and working with an established agent. I understand it to be a team endeavor. It's more like saying, when your house is on fire you need both the fireman turning on the water and the firelady holding the end of the hose.

  10. They may not go to 'agent school' but they do go to college and I'm assuming they graduate with some sort of degree before an established agency will hire them. Only trained professionals, paid or volunteer, are going to be allowed to use the equipment. It may not have been the best analogy.