I Am Not A Special Little Snowflake

Yet another rant. Oh, yes, you thought I was done being a pain, didn’t you?

I’m not the champion of agents everywhere. Some of them I admire greatly. Some I find interesting even if they have absolutely no interest in anything I write. Some are plain to outside viewers

as clabbered milk. Some irritate the pee waddling out of me.

I guess it would be safe to say they are like, well, writers or people. Not everyone and every personality is attractive to everyone else.

They, and I’m referring to legitimate agents, all have a few things in common. They may love what they do, but they are like everyone else and they need to make a living. They have some things they are not interested in representing at all for various reasons and most of them have favorite things they like.

Last, but most certainly not least, they all have submission guidelines. If they don’t I would strongly suggest you not submit to them. They are probably from Nigeria and their rich uncle just died, but they are busy trying to find a safe place to put their inheritance and their queries so they don’t lose the next blockbuster and their $16 million.

Now, let’s forget about agents for a moment. You all know I’ll get back to them as soon as I finish going down my rabbit trail. No, I haven’t forgotten I still owe you two installments of the Surrey Conference.

There’s a big dog show in town and you’re going to take Mr. Fluffy Van Landingham IV because you just know he will win his class and the $50,000 prize. Fluffy is a Great Dane, but there isn’t a lot of competition in the Toy Poodle class so your going to enter him there. You take Fluffy to the show ring and they ask for your number. You don’t have one because you and Fluffy are special little snowflakes, well, Fluffy is a big fluffy snowflake, but you’re both special. You don’t need a number. You don’t need to fill out the paperwork. You don’t need to produce registration papers. The judges just have to take your word for it. Fluffy is a toy poodle and the rules don’t apply to you.

You won! Here’s your $50,000 check. Not.

You go to apply for a job. Bring three copies of your resume and come prepared for an interview and a drug test.

You walk in and hand them a cd with your resume and tell them they can print it off or they go to your blog and read all about you. You show up in cut offs and flip flops for your job interview as a bank manager. Ah, no, you don’t want to pee in a cup, they can smell your breath if they want, though.

Agents aren’t even asking you to pee in a cup. They don’t care if you write naked and wear a Steelers football helmet. They don’t care if you drink a fifth of scotch before you start writing. Some of them might even join you.

All they want you to do is write a good book, write a decent query and follow instructions.

Do you follow the instructions when you apply for a loan at the bank or register for college? Do you follow instructions when a teacher tells you how to do an assignment? Of course you do. You follow instructions on how to heat a tv dinner or make a cup of instant cocoa.

Why is it so difficult to understand that sending a query to an agent is like applying for the job? Most agents have tips for success right there at your fingertips. When was the last time an employer gave you a detailed list of how to succeed and what not to do? Not only do most agents have those little helpful hints, they have very plain, explicit directions on how and what to submit to them.

Look! I have examples.

Rachelle Gardner

Janet Reid

Kristin Nelson


Folio Literary

Jennifer Jackson

Jonathan Lyons

Knight Agency

Nathan Bransford

Russell Galen

Why do some people have such a difficult time reading and following instructions? If you’re querying an agent, there is a certain implication about being able to read and comprehend. You have everything from extremely detailed instructions to a paragraph and yet this seems to be a major problem. I don’t understand.

Every single time I see an agent post something about how to submit or what not to do, it is guaranteed someone is going to pop up and complain because the agent is just being mean.

Repeat after me. I am not a special little snowflake.


  1. How weird that it did that with my OpenID. What a pain!

    I’m SO not a special little snowflake!

    (Christine Rose, from her character blog on blogger)

  2. “Do you follow instructions when a teacher tells you how to do an assignment? Of course you do. You follow instructions on how to heat a tv dinner or make a cup of instant cocoa.”

    This doesn’t include males, right?

  3. Justus, well, I think there’s something in the male genetic code about reading maps and instructions at times. My ex was horrible about not reading instructions. Thankfully, he was smart enough and very handy so he usually figured things out without them, albeit after much ranting and raving.

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