Rachelle Gardner posted an interesting email and her response on her blog today. In essence, a reader upbraided her for stating she is a Christian agent who works for a Christian literary agency.
I have in the past tried to avoid political and religious discussions on this blog even though I have such a small and loving following, I think you all understand who I am and wouldn’t be offended if I put, “I am a Christian writer,” on my blog. And, to be honest, I will probably be doing more inspirational writing this year because it is on my heart to do so.
However, that brings us to an interesting question and probably a revelation that will limit my options regarding agents to some extent. How much do you reveal and does it affect your personal relationship with an agent?
I’m not rabidly political. If you had to squeeze me into a box, it would be labeled Independent with strong Libertarian leanings. Yeah, I pretty much want government to be manageable and out of my life. I won’t ask for handouts. I can take in ironing, clean houses and bake for people if it gets bad. I don’t mind helping those who genuinely need help, but I do bristle at the people who qualify for housing assistance, food stamps and welfare and manage to drive luxury vehicles. If I can drive a twleve-year-old ex highway patrol car and pay my own way, they can figure out a way to drive something a little more practical and get out of the welfare lines because it irks me to no end to work my butt off so I can pa for the mooches. If you have to live on welfare, you don’t need ten kids to raise with the welfare mentality for me to support.
Ok, rant off on that subject, but on to politics and agent blogs. I have to admit I have stopped following some agents because of their political posts on their blogs. There are a few I would not submit to even though professionally, they would be a good match for my work. If they use their professional sites or blogs to promote a political candidate or belief I detest, it’s going to be an uncomfortable relationship for me. Conversely, if they are continually slamming someone or something I believe in, it’s going to be strained.
It’s not that I don’t respect their right to believe whatever they want, it’s the idea that I am most likely going to get to listen to them rant about something that makes me uncomfortable. At some point, knowing me, I am going to explain how I feel and they most likely won’t like it. I am to the point in my life I don’t feel like pretending what I believe doesn’t matter. I did that for thirty-four years and I just don’t feel like playing the game any longer.
I don’t care if they donate their last dime to their cause or work tirelessly to get it passed, them elected or whatever, although I might hope they would also work tirelessly to sell my book. Believe what you wish and support it with all your heart, but understand it’s possible someone who believes just as strongly in the exact opposite might be out there. Have some common courtesy and respect. Be gracious in defeat and even more gracious in victory. Take a lesson from Robert E. Lee who experienced both.
An agent once posted the “gd” word on their site. I realize in today’s society when f*** this and f*** that is common language, but using the Lord’s name in vain sets my teeth on edge. I would probably also avoid the agent who used the f bomb on their site, though I can live with it appearing on their blog occasionally. The agent who used the gd got crossed off my list. Would they care? Doubtful. It’s their right to speak any way they wish and what is one less query out of thousands?
Perhaps I am being a bit Pollyannaish, but I’m looking for a strong working relationship with an agent. They have to love my work and have the resources to sell it, but they also have to be someone I can stand to be around for a long time. It would be even better if I actually like them. Once I find the perfect agent, it better be till death do us part and even then I might hang around and haunt them.
So, am I being disingenuous when I support Rachelle for stating up front she is a Christian? Nope. She’s very open about it, which should indicate to potential clients this is what they can expect. If your beliefs shape who you are personally to the point it might affect my relationship with you as a client, I want to know ahead of time. If, for instance, you are an atheist who detests anyone of faith, then that would be a good thing for me to know. You probably won’t like me. If you are an atheist, but you keep it in your personal file so it doesn’t affect us, that’s your business.