When An Agent Believes
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.
Great post, very thoughtful! Thanks for the support and the link, too. Have a terrific weekend.
Excellent post, Julie.
BTW – had a problem with the network card driver last night, got a new card today, so hopefully I’ll be mailing the PC tomorrow.
i don’t care what faith anyone is, or lack thereof… like you say, if they’re professionals who go to bat for my work, no matter what i write [it is FICTION, after all], i’ll stick with them
i’m not living with them… it’s a professional business relationship, they make money and so do i….
I as more than happy to link your post. I’ve enjoyed your blog very much.
Tara, I hate that you are spending even more money on the computer. I feel so guilty.
Tony, it does make a difference to me in a way.
For instance, if they are very vocal in their hatred for xyz candidate and I happen to believe very strongly in the person they hate, it will create discomfort for me. Don’t ask, don’t tell works well for me in politics because most creative people are going to hate my views.
Let’s hope no one burns her for being Christian. Wait, that would be too much like witch trials that are often blamed on Christianity. Surely humans are above hypocrisy.
Surely humans are above hypocrisy.–
All right, you made me laugh. I was seriously amazed when people at Janet Reid’s complained that they should have been warned there were Christians posting in the thread.
Amazing. Simply amazing.
in that context i agree, julie
as long as they keep it on the pro level of business and creative writing, publicly… they can do in their homes whatever they want
You’ve asked me what I’m looking for in an agent…and this is the problem. I want someone exactly like Rachelle — but that WILL handle fantasy. I haven’t found one that seems to be any good, or brave enough to make the stand Rachelle did here. She is who she is…I love that. Sigh.