The Two-Way Street

Mpepper/ January 26, 2021/ Think Pieces

A couple years ago, a literary agent was very interested in one of my manuscripts. I, naturally, was excited about this. But then, quite suddenly it seemed, she grew a bit cold in our correspondences. Eventually, I was given a form rejection.

I have a private Twitter list where I keep all the agents I’ve been querying. I add and remove them as I query and rejections come in. When I went to (sadly) remove this agent, I noticed she had tweeted about not wanting to work with people who were “disrespectful” on social media. Could that mean me?

I took a look at my profile and skimmed recent tweets and retweets. I try not to be overtly political or anything since I know that can turn off potential readers or agents. Having grown up in a religious, conservative family, I know all about the differences of opinion and how and when to keep my mouth shut. Or so I thought. Some things, for me, are non-negotiable. Some things are wrong vs. right, truth vs. lies, rather than mere opinion. And when it comes to those things, I sometimes feel the need to speak out.

Bottom line was, this agent had very different politics from me.

Part of me was irritated that she had rejected me just because of that. Like, wasn’t my book still good? How could my worldview suddenly make that untrue?

But at the same time I understood that agents and authors work together and it needs to be a comfortable relationship. One built on mutual respect. So maybe it was just as well she rejected me in the end; she might have saved us some grief.

Not that agents and authors need to discuss politics. They could just dance around that stuff same as my family at holidays, I guess.

Anyway, yesterday this agent was dismissed from the agency she worked for. She posted a tweet that she was fired for being Christian and conservative, but the agency says it’s because she frequented far-right social media platforms like Parler. I don’t know the whole story, but I thought it was interesting that she got loud about being rejected, so to speak, for her politics. Why would you want to work for or around people with such a different mindset? Maybe since they all work remotely, there is less friction, but…

There’s not really a point to this post. It’s more of a reflection. That book never got an agent, but I think I’m happier with that than I would have been working with this woman.

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