Those of you who know me, or follow me on any form of social media, know that I am a reluctant yet faithful watcher of The Bachelor. I fought the good fight for almost a decade before caving in to the deliciously ridiculous “reality” of it all.
Those of you who know me, or follow me on any form of social media, also know that quite recently I officially got an agent. A real one. I swear.
If you don’t know me, or follow me on any form of social media, my name is Stef Wade and I’m a young adult and children’s writer, now represented by the lovely Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis and…I watch The Bachelor.
I’ve read countless posts about writers finding their dream agents. How they queried, how they researched, how they joined contests and sold their souls for one tiny peek at their manuscripts. For the record, I did all that too. I was not one of the few lucky people who send one query or meet someone in an elevator and bam! Agent!
It took years of writing and determination, but I will spare you those details. What I will tell you, is:
Why getting an agent is like being on The Bachelor (or Bachelorette):
I’d like to break this into two sections. Today, I will focus on section one.
Section 1: The Contestant (before an offer of representation)
You’re just looking for someone to love you
Before you receive an offer of representation, you’ve likely spent days, weeks, years dutifully, or not so dutifully, searching for the perfect person. Just like all those lonely Bachelors and Bachelorettes out there, you cannot BELIEVE why someone doesn’t want you; why the good ones always pick the undeserving; why you have yet to be chosen.
But you march on even if you feel pathetic, or are actually pathetic. It doesn’t matter because you freakin deserve a break. You want to ride that horse into the sunset. You want the writer’s equivalent of that appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
You spend as much time making yourself sound good as a contestant getting ready for a date
You’ve written your query letter, an audition tape portraying only your best traits, your stories best parts and why you are the most original person to ever exist. You and…everybody else. You hope that by adding an extra layer of foundation or doing a few extra sets of squats at the gym that you will catch his eye. If you look good from the outside, the inside has to be the same, right?
The probability that you’ll be over looked far surpasses that of getting chosen
Some agents get 200-300 query letters per week! And some people have that many dates. But you’re not one of the toss aside at the first typo letters, nooooo, you are smart and witty and character driven. You will make yourself stand out. You’ll kiss that guy if your life depends on it, even if it makes you look completely ridiculous in front of millions of viewers. You will win that contest that 1000 other people shut down the internet while entering. You will kill that pitch session regardless of how sweaty your palms gets.
Likely you will not.
At least for a while. You might be the person that hangs on, getting full manuscript requests, the one who goes on only group dates but sticks it out until the Bachelor or Bachelorette realizes there is nothing very special about you or that they just don’t connect with you.
The pressure makes you go bat shit crazy
You say the rejection doesn’t bother you. Your favorite catch phrase is “onward and upward!” a mantra attached to your bedside table. But the pressure that your very life goal and possibly livelihood depends on one person’s personal connection with your first ten pages or your elevator speech on how great of a person you are and why you deserve love is enough to make you lose your flippin mind. You might even lose your mind in the Mesa Verde like Ashley S.
Rejection emails are a less public rose ceremony
Every time you check your email, you’re standing in your sequined, low-backed evening gown, trembling in your high heels, unsure if you’ll get that rose. You will get the rose. You’re sure of it. He likes you. There’s no reason he wouldn’t. They read your query, or your first fifty pages or the whole damn thing so there is no plausible reason why you wouldn’t experience pure bliss in the next few moments.
Instead, in front of America, you’re sent packing with mascara running down your face, looking overtly downtrodden and depressed as you roll away in your luxury limo crying with a desperate lack of self-confidence that you will regret showing later on. You didn’t find love today.
I’m sorry to tell you, you are not the next agented writer…