Before I get to my point today, I must discuss something that bugs the CRAP out of me. You wrote a series of books. You ask a literary agent whether or not you should pitch the series or the first book. The agent responds that you should not only not pitch the series, but that you should stop writing the series because you don’t even know if it’ll sell. (Yes, this is a specific example.)
There are several things wrong with this picture. A) You are asking an obvious question, which doesn’t bode well for any assumption of research. Obviously, you’re not pitching a series as a first-time author. Doy. B) The agent responds with an answer and then goes on to tell you what not to write. Hypothetical C) You actually listen to that.
ONCE again: I am entirely supportive of the agent-author relationship, I don’t have any interest in approaching publication in any other fashion. But, as an artist, I’m not asking anyone what to write. That’s not your area of expertise. Your job has to do with what you can sell. If you don’t think you can sell my series, that’s one thing. Totally understand that. But that has nothing to do with whether or not I write it. This may all be riding on the assumption that other writers are not actually working FOR pay. Not that they don’t expect (rightly) to be paid for their work, but that they are not becoming little writing assemblyline workers who crank out (or don’t crank out) whatever they are told.
‘Scuse me I was just a little shocked to read that “strong advice”. My body of work is my body of work. Nothing saying you have to think it’s all saleable but come now. I think there’s a lot of confused thinking in the current set-up as to who is “in charge” and that confusion rests largely with writers aspiring to publication. Don’t let your passion to be published turn into outright desperation. Fo’ real.
Note: I never did get to my point. Check back for another post later today. Maybe.