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Top Ten Things That Authors Do To Annoy Agents
Authors should always know how to interact with literary agents to avoid conflicts. They should also be well-informed about the conventions in the literary world to avoid wasting agents’ valuable time. Whether or not you are a renowned writer, there are some mistakes that agents find difficult to overlook. We shall list some of the most common mistakes that authors should avoid.
1. Starting a novel with a detailed description of the scene and weather without good reason. Long-winded descriptions are usually difficult to tolerate, especially when the novel is just starting. This ‘information dump’ is unnecessary and agents get a bad opinion of the entire novel if such introductions are used. Long descriptions of characters and backstories should also be avoided in the beginning.
2. Using clichés at the beginning of novels. The first part of a novel should be as unique as possible. Therefore, even if a word or phrase feels even slightly familiar, the author should avoid it.
3. Asking an agent for a detailed explanation of a rejection or critique of a submission. This is a definite no-no. Agents do not have enough time to read through countless novels, let alone give detailed explanations of why they have rejected them. An author should be grateful that the agent took time to review his book. Agents often give a clue as to why they have rejected novels.
4. Writing query letters like an amateur. There are many rules that should be followed when an author is writing query letters. When an author brags, grovels, and generally exposes his lack of professionalism, literary agents don’t pay any attention to his work.
5. Missing deadlines. Authors who send query letters usually promise to deliver part of their books or their synopses within a certain time. It is a mortal sin for an author to promise to deliver some of his work but fail to meet his own deadline. Agents deal with strict deadlines and any sign that an author will be unable to deliver work on time is discouraging for the agents.
6. Insisting on participating in the process. An agent is a professional and he does not need any author demanding for his ideas to be considered. Authors who like to second-guess the advice they are given by agents are usually avoided by agents. If an author wants to be involved, his role should be that of a silent observer.
7. Querying without the right material. There are some agents who only represent works from particular genres. If an author submits work to them that belongs in another genre, the agents are definitely going to be annoyed.
8. Being a prima donna. You might be one of the lucky authors to land a book contract. However, this does not give you the right to suddenly become high-maintenance. You should be realistic in your requests to avoid getting in agents' bad books.
9. Using gimmicks to attract attention. Gimmicks seem pretentious and they are often more annoying than enjoyable.
10. Taking rejection with immaturity. You should always be gracious, even when your work gets rejected. Don’t start an online smear campaign against the agent for rejecting your book.