If anyone doubts that e-books and e-readers such as the Kindle and iPad aren't here to stay, this week should have convinced you otherwise. First, the Kindle showed up in the Crankshaft comic strip. Beginning on the 25th and running for several days, it showed the resident curmudgeon receiving and learning to use -- and enjoy -- his Kindle. The Kindle also shows up in the movie Date Night. Then there is this post from agent Kristen Nelson where she decides the tipping point for ebooks is very near, if not already here:
When I’ve got an older grandmother expressing unabashed enthusiasm in owning an eReader, I can’t help but think the tipping point is near—even if current electronic sales only equal about 2% of the market right now (statistic via a recent PW article). I think a lot of us assumed the older generation would be the luddites where this new technology is concerned but through my anecdotal experiences, I’m not finding that to be true…
So, what do you think? Are we reaching the tipping point? I have to think Agent Kristen is probably right and we are based on the interest I get whenever I have my Kindle out in public as well as the number of "sightings in the wild" of e-readers of all shapes and sizes and makes and models.
At Bookends, agent Jessica Faust posted that -- gasp -- agents want to represent books that will make money. "I’m in the business of selling books for my clients to make us all money. I agent because it’s my career. Sure, it has the added bonus of being something I love, but I also need to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. So criticize all you want, but the truth is that good agents will only represent books they think will make them money. That’s called a job." You'd think that would be a given and be understood by everyone, especially writers. But no, all too often she -- and other agents as well -- receive responses to their rejections, accusing the agent of being in the business only to make money. My question is this, would you really want an agent who is in the business of representing authors who write books that will never sell, either to a publisher or to the buying public?
Caveat here: In the current market, agents are in as big a state of flux as writers are. Because no one knows what is going to happen in the industry over the next few years, fewer and fewer agents are taking on new projects. That includes projects being sent from current clients. As a result, it is even harder than it used to be to get an agent. That doesn't necessarily mean your project is no good and won't sell -- and I keep telling myself this on a daily basis. What it means is that, right now, agents are taking fewer risks than they used to. If you doubt it, look at the number of agencies that have cut staff and the number of small agencies that have closed their doors the last two years.
Caveat #2: Just to show there are agents out there with a great attitude despite the gloom of the industry, check out this post from Lucienne Diver: [M] my process with this new work I’m so excited about went something like this:
“Darn, it’s really good. The writing is fabulous. Maybe just a few pages more.”
“I mean really, really good. Love the concept, love the characters. So intriguing.”
“Well, crap, I’m more than halfway though, I might as well finish. Yes, yes, I have a policy of not taking manuscripts with me on vacation, but I HAVE to finish this one.”“What, the ending’s brilliant too? Okay, I’m screwed.” . . . I present this, in all its absolute honesty to say that no matter what gloom and doom you hear about the industry (and there’s been a lot within the past year or more), this is what happens when we love something. Oh, sure, some of us you don’t have to drag kicking and screaming to the alter. But when we really love something, there’s just no talking ourselves out of it. There will always be room for fantastic works.
What does that mean? Simple, if you get a rejection, look at what you sent and see if you made any glaring errors. See if there is something you need to do to make it that something special an agent is looking for. Then send it out again. Just because one agent, editor, whomever, didn't like it, it doesn't mean every one will. We're writers. Rejection is part of the job. That's why we have to be stubborn, persistent and always working to hone our craft.
Finally, here's an interesting article about four danger signs to search for before sending out your manuscript. Go take a look and let me know what you think. The post is similar to others we've discussed in the past. What rules do you try to keep in mind when writing? Or, more importantly, what do you keep an eye out for in the editing process?