Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sitting on the Head of a Pin

I feel like I am sitting on the head of a pin.  If I move in any direction, I will fall off.  

This is NOT a good feeling, by the way.

I think it's being caused in large part by the fact that my agent and I are having artistic differences.   We have two completely different visions for my WIP. 

I wrote a fraction story.  And she likes it, except for the fractions.  Ha!

So, I guess my problem is... I am not entirely clear on an agent's role.  Is it her job to sell what I write?  Or is it her job to sell only what she likes?

18 comments:

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Corey. I've never worked with an agent, so I can't answer your question. I hope that you are both able to get through the artisitc differences, so the book can move forward.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, Corey . . . I've been wondering about that. You know what I think of your story AND its marketability. That's a tough one. Email me--I have one idea! :-)

Anna Staniszewski said...

Hm, good question. I guess I think of an agent as someone who helps you make your work into something she can sell. Normally I think that means taking what you've written and helping you make it better (while still staying true to the idea).

But then again, my agent and I have been working on a tween novel which she asked me to lighten up a bit so it's more clearly chick lit. I've found, though, that the manuscript doesn't seem to want to go in that direction. So I guess we'll see what happens.

Good luck with it!

Diane said...

Hopefully you guys can come to an agreement for a great story. Hugs :O)

Tiffany Strelitz Haber said...

It's the million dollar question! Email me the moment you get the answer! ;-) Love you....xoxo

storyqueen said...

If she wants you to change it, it's most likely because she doesn't think she can sell it. I read an article by agent Mary Kole (I think it was on her blog) and she talked about picturebooks...very insightful.

Good luck.

Shelley

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Man, that's a tough question! I have a similar problem because whether or not someone likes a story is so subjective. Sometimes my agent says she can't sell something, but I really like it and wonder if maybe it would sell if an editor actually saw it. I believe she knows her job, and I trust her judgment, but especially now when the market is so tough the whole thing is pretty frustrating!

Megan K. Bickel said...

That is the question that always leaves me wondering about getting an agent. I need someone who knows what they are doing to advocate for me and my work. But I worry about those differences in artistic opinion! Good luck!!

taralazar said...

It's the agent's job to sell what you write, but only if she thinks it will sell. I guess that's the dilemma, you may have different ideas of what will be most marketable.

Julie Hedlund said...

Ouch! If it's the WIP I think you're referring to, I can't imagine why she thinks it wouldn't be marketable. But then, agents certainly know the market a lot better than I do.

I hope you can both come to an agreement AND find a home for your story.

Karen Akins said...

I have a CP who's going through this same issue. She just got feedback on a massive revision she did on her novel, and none of her agent's ideas gelled with her vision.

It's a toughie. Bleh. Hope it all works out.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Hmmm, I wish I could give you advice on this one, Corey...but I have none. If you are compelled to write the story, write it and save it in a yet to be queried pile. Jerry Spinelli sat on EGGS for years before it was published.

Joanne Fritz said...

Well, you know I don't have an agent (!) so I can't help you there. But maybe you need to pinpoint what she DOES like about it and figure out if the fractions are still necessary.

If you feel strongly about your story the way it is, can you present a strong argument for keeping it?

Melissa said...

This really struck a chord. For your sake, I hope it works out how you want it to.

Hardygirl said...

Ugh. Are things any better?

What a conundrum!!

sf

Kim said...

Too funny! She likes the story except for the story part! How frustrating!! As a teacher, books that tie in other subjects (like math) are ALWAYS must-haves. If the story is good and it also teaches about fractions, I think it would be highly marketable.

Pam Calvert said...

Just a word of caution about math pb's and agents...there's not much of a market for them. Only a few houses will take overt math pb's. And truthfully, if the math is not done in an artistic way (like Greg Tang's poems) then usually, a large house won't want it. She's thinking logically. If you want to sell it to Charlesbridge, your agent won't make much money. You might want to have a heart to heart about what YOU'D like...

Just my two cents (from a math pb author).

(BTW, I wrote on your above entry as my SON! Weegee...ugh...sorry I didn't see that!)

Heidi Willis said...

Oh how hard!! It never occurred to me that once someone had an agent that you could still be writing books and not have the agent take them on until I've seen it with two other authors - one MG and one literary fiction. Both have written over seven books.... and only had one submitted to editors (which were both bought and published).

I don't know answers, but I hope your uncomfortable conversation went well, and you feel good about the direction you are heading.