One Lesson on How to Decrease your Chances of Getting an Agent

hash-mistakeWhen I first began writing this blog I was more than a little intimidated by the discordant plethora of writer’s voices already online, giving sage advice on everything from the best fonts to the “snowflake plotting technique.” What could I possibly add to all this? Who’s going to pay attention to one new voice among the million already established?

Try to create unique content, I thought. Maybe my personal experiences and ongoing adventure as a budding author would be the most interesting topics for blog-fuel. That train of thought holds true today, but I realised this morning that I’d been overlooking a very good reason behind the fact that so many “writing advice” blogs already exist. I was, to use a tired phrase, missing the woods for the trees.

A literary agent I recently submitted to began her guidelines page by congratulating the reader on already doing better than most, simply due to the fact that said reader was actually bothering to check the guidelines. The majority, apparently, do not. And therein lies the reason for the evergreen market for posts like “top ten tips for submitting to literary agents” or “Things to avoid when writing from the female point-of-view” – no matter how many millions of people seem to be blogging on commonplace writing matters, there are billions of fresh-faced writers very much in need of the basics. If anything, dispensing tried-and-tested advice is a public service.

That’s why I hope to do more basic posts in the future – as far as I’m concerned, there can’t be enough words of wisdom on the many aspects of being a wannabe author, and if I improve just one writerkin’s understanding of the industry with my own meager knowledge, I’ll be doing something worthwhile.

So, lesson number one – if you really don’t want to land a literary agent, a great way to start is by not even reading their submission guidelines! Take five minutes out to do that and you’ll already be running ahead of the pack.



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