Meeting an agent or an editor?

So.  You going to a conference or convention this summer?  Meeting up an editor this summer?  An agent?

Or maybe you just chat up with them at blogs.  On twitter.

I want to share with you something that I see a lot.  Either online, especially on blogs, or at conventions, conferences and get-togethers.

Agents and editors tend to get rushed.

And they get rushed by people who often gush.

Now, I understand the nerves behind this.  Honestly.  For those who don’t read my blog regularly, maybe you should read this post…although I’ll hit the highlight here.  It was at RWA Nationals, where I got to meet Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips…

One of the authors I got to meet was Jayne Ann Krentz-love her books.  She was one of the authors I discovered right after I found Nora Roberts.  I introduced myself to JAK and she tells me she enjoys my books.  At this point, I’m somewhere in the vicinity of the clouds-the cirrus ones…you know, those really wispy ones that are like almost in the stratosphere?  That’s where I was.

When I get back to my room, I tell my mom.  One of my fave authors has read my books.  o_O   Can we say ‘googly-eyed?’   I’m talking a mile a minute while I grab my stuff for the parties.  A few minutes later, we hit the door and head down the hall.  At the same time, one of my neighbors also heads out.  My friend is talking to the lady…she looks very familiar, I can’t figure out why, and naturally my friend isn’t exactly catching my ’subtle’ signals.  So finally, I ask outloud…  “Who is this?”  while I’m rudely pointing at the lady.

The lady smiles, as friendly as can be, and says….  “Oh, I’m Jayne Ann Krentz.”

I blink, and then say…  “No, I just met her.”

And my friend is rolling her eyes, looking at me and going,   “You are such a dork.  This is Susan Elizabeth Phillips.”

I die.  Then I accost Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  In the hallway.  I grab her and hug her and squeal, “Oh, I love your books!”  (I’m not a hugger…I am not normally a squealer, either)

Turns out that SEP heard me telling my mom about me meeting Jayne Ann Krentz.  My friend thinks I’m strange and weird and rude, but apparently SEP thought it was funny.  Made her laugh… that’s not a bad thing, right?

Gushing isn’t always bad, especially if you make people laugh.  But there’s a difference between gushing and ass-kissing.

What I see a lot at events, or on blogs, is ass-kissing.  Or worse, it’s people who look like they are trying to come off as extremely clever or witty, hoping they’ll come off as memorable to this supreme being.

Guys…they aren’t supreme beings.  Don’t wax endlessly about how this person or that person how so much knowledge or foresight or insight.  Know what?  You’re probably the ten billionth person who has said so.   You’re not standing out.

Yes, you’ll probably find the ones who respond very well to extreme flattery/ass-kissery type behavior.  But think about it-that’s fickle.  What if you have a book that doesn’t sell as well you’d want, but you really believe in it…do you want a fickle agent?  A fickle editor?  Not to say that they won’t get down to business, but hey…they are people.  Just like you.  Just like me.  There are fickle authors, fickle readers, fickle nurses, fickle people…so there are fickle agents, fickle editors…

I don’t want fickle.

I want serious.

I don’t want somebody who responds to ass-kissing.  I don’t want somebody who responds to somebody’s attempts to sound witty.

I want somebody who responds to me. The real me. My books.

Talk to them like people.  Because that’s what they are.

Some of the stuff I’ve heard people say in person to agents and editors, it’s so…well…obsequious, it leaves me wincing in sympathy.  Don’t try to win through flattery and don’t try to be overly witty.

They’ve seen that.  Just talk to them.  That agent, that editor–they are people.  They get up in the morning.  They brush their teeth. They go see doctors.   They pay bills.  They have frustrations and quirks and flaws.

Anything you try to do or saw to impress them, they’ve have probably already seen it.

What they haven’t seen?  You.  They haven’t seen you.  They haven’t read your work, heard your voice.  Give them that.

And relax…they know you’re nervous.  I think it’s okay.  They don’t expect you not to be.

One Reply to “Meeting an agent or an editor?”

  1. Hey Shiloh, I love these little tidbits you have posted here. They are very informative. I am not seeking an agent or editor at the moment, but it is good advice to remember for when you meet your favorite authors too. Thanks!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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